This article was posted on Sunday, Apr 01, 2018

Sent to Mayor

Dear Mr. Garcetti:

I own two rent-controlled properties in District 5 and one in District 2 and am writing to complain about the outrageous rate hike, aka monopoly, that you have forced upon your commercial property owners with the new “let’s recycle” plan.  We were already happily recycling with our trash company before the City stepped in and increased our monthly charges from 137.50 and 115.50 to 418.82 and 370.02, respectively.  Don’t you feel that an over 300% rate hike is a bit much?  For the exact same service we were already gettingAnd we have no other choices –  again, I say monopoly.  What other business is allowed monopolize that way?  (Except for the Department of Water and Power.)

Do you truly believe that we will be voting for you in the next election?  Or your cronies?

Really angry and disappointed in our city government –  forcing us to be rent-controlled is one thing, but on top of it, always being charged, always have to jump through hoops.  What other types of business are run by the city government in this manner?  You are so involved in our business with so many compliance issues, restrictions, etc. that we don’t truly own our own rental properties and have no choices that we can make.

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This is the last straw.  You have overstepped your boundaries. Anne Cohen Ruderman


Sent to Mayor Garcetti:

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but throwing out a percentage of 99.275 percent satisfaction of new trash pickup franchises to the city’s commercial customers on 2/11/18 was underestimating us. Most are running our own businesses better than you are running L.A. City.  It  shows your inability to recognize you’ve got to be smarter and more in touch with the true situation. Your false statistic was ridiculous. The 99.275 percent satisfaction on 2/11 news simply demonstrated you are out of touch.    Lynn Tollakson 



Sent to Honorable Mayor Garcetti and City Council Members:

To place a punctuation point on the meeting that took place with several City Council members and landlords regarding the new trash program, I was a bit taken back by a comment that stated that “only 28,000” complaints were received by Sanitation.

Personally, I can tell you that you would need to hire a minimum of one full time person just to accommodate all the issues I deal with every day on this trash program and situation. And I have only eight buildings in the City of L.A. If everyone called the city with every problem, you would need to add hundreds more staff.

This program is unworkable, ill-conceived and needs to be halted immediately. Take a look at how the City of San Dimas is handling their state compliance. Look anywhere.

For smart people, you are not looking too smart. Some Council members stated they did not know it could come to this. Did anyone read the literature we were sent up front? Any one of you? It was madness out the gate. Please undo this mess.

Most sincerely, Larry Rubenstein, Ph.D. 



It was brought to my attention dealing with Waste Management about missed trash pick up, that they NEED photos to help make the point that the drivers missed the pick up and that it’s not just people calling for additional pick ups who don’t want to pay.

The new drivers just bashed into my side of our wall next to the trash bins, so with a photo it makes it easier to make a claim. Just a thought to get out to members to pass along their photos when they have an issue. Tenants are willing to help too!       Much appreciated!  Claudia

To Athens Services:  (Sent to all City Council members):

We are the owners of small apartment buildings in the Los Angeles area.  We are writing to Athens to dispute charges on invoices beginning January 1, 2018 and sending a copy of this letter to the City Council in order to make our displeasure with Recycle LA known.

We have been Athens Services Customers since November 1, 2016.  We negotiated fair rates and terms with Athens Services and rarely had customer service issues.

However, after the Recycle LA program took effect at our properties on January 1, 2018 we are receiving the same service levels from the same company, yet our base rates have severely increased, random fees have been added to our bill, customer service has decreased, and our ability to do anything about it was taken away.

Service prices with Athens before and after Recycle LA are as follows:

1)     228 S. Mariposa Avenue LA 90004 – Percentage Increase 109%

Before –  $258.94        After – $451.34 + $89.20 “Lock Fee” = $540.54

2)     452 S. Mariposa Avenue LA 90020 –  Percentage Increase 98.2%

Before – $211.31   After – $418.82

3)     470 S. Mariposa Avenue LA 90020 –  Percentage Increase 74%

Before – $258.94   After – $451.34

4)     5030 Maplewood Avenue LA 90004 –  Percentage Increase 319%

Before – $211.31         After – $418.82 + $89.20 “Lock Fee” + $44.60 additional “Lock Fee” + $223.08 “Distance Fee” + $111.54 additional “Distance Fee” = $887.24

5)     5032 Maplewood Avenue LA 90004 – Percentage Increase 373%

Before – $211.31        After – $418.82 + $223.08 “Distance Fee” + $223.08 additional “Distance Fee” + $89.20 “Lock Fee” + $44.60 Additional “Lock Fee” = $998.78                                                                      

6)     4122 W. 2nd Street LA 90004 – Percentage Increase 140%

Before – $211.31         After – $418.82 + $89.20 “Lock Fee” = $508.02

7)     245 S. Rampart Blvd LA 90057 –  Despite reduction in service percentage Increase 17.3%

Before – $384.78 (3x a week service)            After – $451.34 (2x a week service)

Athens’ invoices are dated the 1st of the month and we typically receive the invoice in the mail 5 to10 business days later.  In addition to base rate hikes and service fees, Athens now assesses late fees by the 15th of the month.  We had previously negotiated 30 days as 15 days does not provide a reasonable amount of time for a check to be mailed back to Athens.

We are disputing the late fees and requesting the due date return to 30 days from the date of the invoice.  We are also disputing “Lock Fees” and “Distance Fees” on any of our invoices for our properties.  We are currently sending base rate payments only to Athens.

We hope the City Council realizes that their decision to take away a customer’s ability to negotiate prices and to leave if poor customer service is received was a mistake and that they take need to take the necessary steps to reverse their decision. We look forward to hearing from both Athens Services and the Los Angeles City Council.  Sincerely, Andre Melikian


Sent to Mayor Garcetti and City Councilpersons:

I am very disappointed in the officials of our city council who did not take into account the people affected by the RecycLA program – a program that was formed to allegedly assist in environmental friendliness. As an owner/ manager of a six unit apartment, it is upsetting that trash pickup went from $149.56 to $325.05 in December 2017, and $334.87 one month later due to an approved increase. Shame on you. In addition to the price being elevated to over $216, the additional fees are what made this most upsetting. Older apartments were not made with paying extra for trash to be picked up from a drive-way. In fact, when I called to complain of the price hike, I was told that I could get the free recycling trash cans. The catch was for these special (free) trash cans I would have to pay an additional fee for them to be thrown out. On top of having an overpriced trash program, we now have bad service, and have no option on another company. In a neighborhood with rent control (following the Costa- Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 which is presently under attack for even more cost imposing rent control), and an older building, it’s like the city is trying its best to make affordable housing obsolete. Many new developments in the area are luxury apartments and have a very small amount of affordable housing. The smaller apartments / older, such as mine (and my partner’s), are being put at risk because the city is showing us we do not matter and raising prices wherever they can. Our ability to run our apartments efficiently does not matter. Once more, shame on you.

                                                                                                                          Robin Viso

Sent to Mayor Garcetti and City Councilpersons:

I have lived in the Los Angeles area for 50 years, with most of the 50 years in the city of Los Angeles.  I own four buildings in the San Fernando Valley composed of 12 to 14 units each.  I am very angry.  I never attended a city meeting or wrote a letter until this [trash] issue and I expect I’m not alone.  I will do what I can to reverse this decision including financially backing any measure or person who will change this course and abuse of power.

Against some of your own staff and common sense, you created a 10-year trash monopoly which allows the selected company to do what they wish.  You have given in once again to unions and others who do not have the burden of paying for what you have created.  I listened to a number of speakers supporting the measure on February 6th, none of which appeared to have any of this cost coming out of their pockets.  As the initial representative of Waste Management said, “Sign this agreement – you have no choice” – that is wrong.  In past years I was able to get a better rate by having the job bid which you have now foreclosed.  In addition, you have granted distance fees which are in some cases five times or more what the previous carrier Athens was willing to accept.

There has been no effort to help educate tenants, no materials provided for that purpose beyond a short list of what goes in each container.  Tenants don’t care where they put the trash.  In their mind, it’s not their problem and unless you allow a pass-through of this cost, they are right.  Some residents (and I believe they are in the minority), like the idea of recycling and I have a few who do recycle.  Will they like it if their rent goes up as a result?  Most tenants will not go out of their way to recycle.  I go to my buildings every week and I have multiple examples of this statement which will take too long to recite here.  The literature from Waste Management which has the heading, “Welcome”, says in part that the new program … will ensure strong customer service, predictable and protected rates … the establishment of customer service expectations and protections will benefit us all”.  What a crock.  All of you do or should know better than to think a monopoly will result in stronger customer service or predictable and reasonable rates.  Here are several additional points:

  • Waste Management leaves the bins in the street for hours before putting them back.  They block street parking in the process and tenants put trash in the recycle bin or leave it where the trash bin is normally located.
  • I asked about four and six yard bins which allow me to reduce pickups to once a week with the use of a recycle bin.  Waste Management doesn’t currently have four yard bins and the six yard bins for trash truck use doesn’t exist because they don’t have wheels.  They are on the rate sheet and should be available.
  • I pay $111.54 for “distance charges” which previously was a zero cost at one building.  I am paying about $800 a month more between all buildings but working to reduce the distance in one building by sticking to a 96 gallon can which fits up front but is inconvenient for the residents to use.  Over the years, I have watched trash workers take the trash bins to and rom the trucks.  The roundtrip takes under a minute.  Pretty good profit.  They put one over on you on this.  You should disallow distance fees.
  • If I receive a 3% increase in my two rent controlled buildings, 1.5% of the increase goes to pay for the trash fee.  You should allow a pass-through to mitigate the expense you have created.  In my two buildings not under rent control, I am considering raising the rent to make up for the extra expense.  I will be sure to give all of you the credit for the increase along with your contact numbers so they can thank you.   Dennis Carter