To: Carolyn Shining, Shining Law Firm
Most recently, I was invited to a workshop involving Recycle L.A. and all of the major trash haulers were present. It was an interesting discussion. Generally, the concept is flawed and bankrupt – it’s just absolutely silly!
People have a perception that greenhouse gases and environmental issues that emanate from the trash landfills are dangerous. So, they’ve devised a plan where allegedly tenants will examine and review or otherwise audit their own personal trash, thereafter sort and put trash in black bins and put recyclable items in the blue bins. For all tenant noncompliance, the penalties are assessed against the owners.
This system wherein landfills will become obsolete in 10 years because tenants will be so well-trained in sorting is nonsense. Tenants don’t even tell landlords when there is a leaky toilet or faucet. Tenants don’t tell landlords when the windows are fractured, the screens are cut or the locks are broken. And you think they are going to sort? Never! They’re never going to comply with or embrace recycling so the entire system is predicated on a “premise” which is not only nonsensical and ridiculous, but is not practical.
The penalties are assessed against the owners – penalties for conduct that they can’t control!
Now, one of the major problems is that the fees were increased by 100% to 400%; however, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) allows no pass-throughs for trash! The Consumer Price Index formula for the annual rental adjustment under the RSO does not embrace or address trash. It’s not in the basket of the 211 items evaluated!
[Furthermore, after raising our rates by at least 100%, and then allowing them another 5% each year, this really amounts to an additional 10% of the old rate! That works out to a 20% increase each year on the old rates when they raise the rate from $100 to $400. This is supposed to be “fair” while owners are limited to rent increases of only 3%?
And the City calls “Recycle L.A.” a good program?]
Five years ago, 161 small owners were permitted into the City to remove the trash. L.A. County Federation of Labor (LAANE) hijacked the trash deal. Each Councilmember fully understood that Union support would be essential to their political future.
Why did 13 Councilmembers vote to permit the Union to take over? Simple – 7 new super companies with new Union Agreements. Haulers pay $35 million per year fee to the City! Haulers will be major players with Council and City Campaigns!
BIG LIE: The deal is based upon a false premise that tenants will sort the trash and place the recyclable items in the new blue bins. Tenants will never cooperate. Never, never, never! They don’t even call the owner when the toilet is running!
The blue bins are being charged to the owners by 300% or more. Today? Poor trash service and much higher fees and costs! Good luck! Michael Millman, Esq.
Michael Millman is an Attorney and a Mar Vista activist and can be reached at (310) 477-1201.
Letter Sent to City Council Members
Missed Collection by Republic Services
I have had issues with my previous trash company not picking up the trash bin and this new company, Republic, is no better.
A Republic representative called me last Wednesday to discuss an evaluation (she didn’t do) and said she’d get back with me with the evaluation … I’m still waiting one week later. When she evaluated my property she identified the 10 unit apartment building as a hospital!!! I don’t have much hope.
The City Council’s reasons for creating this monopoly do not hold water (or trash). Republic has been non-responsive in dealing with me and their response to my questions regarding MY PROPERTY. Is this is what the City has agreed to? Really??? I am the property owner, I never gave Council or Republic any rights to enter my property and place trash bins in my parking spaces or just decide “this property needs a 3-yard recycling bin” when we’ve used a city provided 60 gallon bin without incident for several years.
This is totally unacceptable behavior by the Council and Republic. What a trashy mess! With all the matters I need to be concerned with I’m not happy I now have to add trash collection to my plate. Unsatisfied Apartment Owner
From $139.15 to $461.51!!!
I am an owner in the City of Los Angeles and we have been paying approximately $139.15 per month for trash removal. With the “new, improved” trash service (monopoly), we are told we are to pay $461.51 per month!
The week of July 10th, the trash was not picked up. I was out of state that week and received numerous calls from my tenants about piles of trash and vermin. I called Athens numerous times and was promised pick-up on the next day – on three occasions! The trash was not picked up until the following week!
I received a call from an Athens representative asking me to meet her at the property to discuss the new service. I told her that this was inconvenient. She told me that if I did not meet with her that I would be listed as “non-compliant”. When we finally met, she told me the fee would be over $400 but she did not tell me there was an additional fee of $89 just to unlock the metal gate to access the existing bin.
I paid $1,000 to have the metal gate moved so that the trash company would not have a gate to unlock.
As of the beginning of October, no recycling bins had been delivered. Three recycling bins arrived mid-October and my tenant no longer had the use of her previous two-car tandem parking space because of these binds.
In the meantime, I contacted my Councilperson Bonin and was put in touch with Carlos from Athens. He told me he would have one of the recycling bins removed so the tenant would be able to park. I have requested a once of week service and I don’t know if this has happened yet. I have not seen a bill that reflects this change in service. Nor do I know if the service will be adequate for my property! Linda T.
Dear Councilmembers and Mayor:
I own several small multifamily residential units in the city of Los Angeles and am writing to protest the new trash collection laws.
It is common knowledge that if you have a monopoly on an essential service, you can charge whatever you want and provide poorer service. After passage of this law, my prices tripled and the service has gotten poorer and, at several of my properties trash was not collected as agreed in my contract with Athens, my assigned trash company. The result has been overflowing trash bins. In addition, they are now charging an extra fee if they have to move the trash bin from the rear of the property to the street and a fee to unlock a gate.
Under Los Angeles City Rent Control laws, we cannot pass this increased cost to our tenants. Therefore, in order to control costs, we have had to reduce service and make other arrangements.
At one property, we had to remove a gate, which cost us $1,000, in order to avoid the gate fee.
At another property, again in order to control costs, we were able to move the trash bin to the front of the building thus making our property and your city more unsightly. This will affect the quality of tenants we will be able to attract and the rents we will be able to charge in the future. Who’s going to compensate us for this loss?
You have again unreasonably interfered with private contractual arrangements. We are being forced to enter into a new contract with our trash collector without choice, notice, approval or ability to negotiate. And how are we going to ensure that our tenants put enough into the recycling bins?
I understand your desire to increase recycling in the City of Los Angeles. But there must have been a way to do this without such drastic impact on owners of businesses and apartments. For example, I would have been happy to put some recycling bins on my properties and to cajole my tenants into recycling more. I demand that you repeal this draconian law immediately. Norton T.
This is downright criminal. You have given all the power to one company and they are abusing it, BIG TIME. Our trash rates have more than doubled under this new “plan”. Twice the money for the same service. On top of the large increase in the monthly service fee, there are also a lot of other fees that they are charging. In the contract they sent me they are charging $173.20 per month because they must use a gate remote to open our gate from the street. They just have to hit a button to make this work. I offered them a remote for free but they declined. This is price-gouging gone wild. You need to do some serious readjusting of this program. The City is out of control and this is going to hurt a lot of people and businesses in our city. Pete Perotti
Dear Mayor Garcetti – Admit Your Mistake!
We are the owners of a 123 unit apartment complex located on Vista Del Mar in Playa Del Rey. I am writing you to express my concern regarding the City’s change in trash removal for our building.
While the purpose of the changed policy might make sense, its implementation has been a total failure. I urge you to cancel this new policy and return to the competitive trash removal we had previously. Let me cite our experience with the new company, Athens, responsible for our trash pickup.
- Athens failed to pick up on a number of occasions. This caused serious sanitary concerns. It also caused numerous complaints from our tenants.
- Athens failed to respond to numerous complaints.
- Athens is charging us more than $1,000 from what we were being billed at the previous company.
- We now have mice inside our building due to Athens’ failure to pick up the trash. Trash was so backed up that the building trash chutes made a bridge for the mice to come in the building making their way into some of our tenant’s apartments.
- After calling them almost every day, no one ever returned our phone call or showed up when they promised.
- No compensation was offered for the days they failed to pick up trash or for leaving trash spread out all over our trash rooms, parking lots and even the street.
The increase cost for much poorer service is unacceptable and they are not getting any repercussions. Please admit a mistake and allow us to return to the previous working policy.
Very truly yours, Frank E. McGinity
Dear Honorable Mayor Garcetti and Los Angeles City Council Members:
I write to urge you to consider modifying the newly created trash monopolies in the City of Los Angeles to allow for at least a modicum of competition for approved trash haulers.
I fully understand the well intentioned plan to reduce traffic of trash hauling trucks and fashion a recycling system for greater efficiency. However, I am at a loss to understand how intelligent, experienced civic leaders could fail to foresee the economic disaster that monopolies are known to cause.
Whereas prior to the establishment of the monopolies, if I were dissatisfied with the job the trash collection company was doing, I could terminate their service and give their competitor my business. Moreover, the trash companies understood that if they failed to deliver good service at competitive prices, they would be replaced; thus giving them an incentive to do a good job.
Now, I have to call the Sanitation Department, my City Councilman and three different “Customer Care” representatives located across the country in order for the missed trash collection to be picked up. The bins are flowing over and creating health and safety hazards.
There is no incentive whatsoever on the part of the trash collection company I have been assigned, to work for my business since they know I have no choice.
Even worse, they can hike up my rates to any astronomical rate they wish, because the City Council has tied the hands of their customers by destroying well established principles of market rates and freedom to do business with whom a customer chooses.
Monopolies are un-American, unfair and inefficient. The system you have set up is un-American and goes against the very principles and freedoms our forefathers guaranteed by our Constitution.
You have done to the property owners of Los Angeles the equivalent of a governmental agency limiting you to shop at Ralphs and no other grocery store. They don’t get deliveries of the products you want? Too bad. They don’t give appropriate customer service? Too bad. You are stuck.
The Federal government recognized long ago the evils of monopolies by codifying the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. California’s Business and Professions Code continues to regulate against monopolies. But the City of Los Angeles has disregarded the basis for both State and Federal regulations and granted monopolies to just seven trash haulers for the entire city?
In the interest of fairness, efficiency, good business practice and proper government, I urge you to modify the current trash hauling regulations to allow for at least two or three trash haulers, who meet all the licensure and regulatory requirements set forth by the City, to service the same territories.
If this means restricting days of service to avoid traffic jams, so be it. But at least allow for some relief for not only the trash collection companies’ immediate customers, but the multitudes of tenants, both commercial and residential, who are suffering from the disincentivized lack of service and pass-through rate hikes which is becoming a citywide outrage.
The plan had good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please reconsider the current program, its ramifications and make the necessary changes to create better efficiencies and spare the City’s residents the fallout from a strategy that will cause greater harm than good.
Each of you was elected by your constituencies to demonstrate what good governance is and to have a positive impact on our City. The voters depend upon your judgment and your fairness to put programs into place that will improve the lives of the City’s residents. Surely, you can recognize the pitfalls of the current program and will devise a modification that does not include a system of monopoly leading to utter chaos.
Thank you in advance for your earnest consideration of the above request.
Respectfully, Linda Spiegel
Dear Mayor Garcetti:
By now you have received many letters regrading the trash pick up in Los Angeles. I was shocked when I received the first bill from Athens. I wasn’t notified that another company was taking over my service. I went to great lengths to negotiate a contract with Republic that was satisfactory for both of us. Now without a word or some contact from this company Athens, we receive a bill THREE TIMES GREATER than our contract – (was paying Republic $577 per month, now they want $1,438.26.) I was also just informed that if we want to have a six-day pick up; which we had with Republic, that an additional charge of $282 will be added on. We are under rent control and have no way to increase our rents to cover these enormous NEW charges. If you want the tenants to pay for this added charge, then send all persons living in apartments a notice that they have to help out and pay their share of your new plan.
So far, Athens never returns our calls and therefore have NOT set up a review of our needs. Their work is sloppy! We need the City to roll back their decision to take away our ability to negotiate the prices for trash removal. This is an insult to our “Freedom of Choice”. Please respond! Sincerely, Barbara S.
AOA: Please make a copy of these letters and deliver them to Mayor Garcetti and the City Council members. We need to educate them on what’s going on. Contact information for each is listed below:
Mayor of Los Angeles
Eric Garcetti, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street Rm #303, Los Angeles, CA, 90012 – [email protected] – (213) 978-0600
Mailing address for All City Council Members
City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street (Rm #), Los Angeles, CA 90012
District 1 – Gil Cedillo: [email protected] or room 460 – (213) 473-7001 or (323) 550-1538
District 2 – Paul Krekorian: [email protected] or room 435 – (213) 473-7002 or (818) 755-7676
District 3 – Bob Blumenfield: [email protected] or room 415 – (213) 473-7003 or (818) 774-4330
District 4 – David Ryu: [email protected] or room 425 – (213) 473-7004 or (323) 957-6415
District 5 – Paul Koretz: [email protected] or room 440 – (213) 473-7005 or (323) 866-1828
District 6 – Nury Martinez: [email protected] or room 470 – (213) 473-7006 or (818) 778-4999
District 7 – Councilwoman Elect Monica Rodriguez: [email protected] or room 455 – (213) 473-7007 or (818) 756-8409
District 8 – Marqueece Harris- Dawson: [email protected] or room 450 – (213) 473-7008 or (213) 485-7616
District 9 – Curren Price: [email protected] or room 420 – (213) 473-7008 or (213) 485-7616
District 10 – Herb Wesson (President): [email protected] or room 430 – (213) 473-7010 or (323) 733-8233
District 11 – Mike Bonin: [email protected] or room 475 – (213) 473-7011 or (310) 575-8461
District 12 – Mitchell Englander (President pro tempore): [email protected] or room 405
District 13 – Mitch O’Farrell: [email protected] or room 480 – (213) 473-7013 or (213) 207-3015
District 14 – Jose Huizar: [email protected] or room 465 – (213) 473-7014 or (323) 526-9332
District 15 – Joe Buscaino: [email protected] or room 410 – (213) 473-7015 or (310) 732-4515
Help Stop the Trash Monopoly!
District 7 –Monica Rodriguez:
[email protected] or room 455
(213)473-7007 or (818)756-8409
District 8 – Marqueece Harris- Dawson:
or room 450 – (213)473-7008 or (213)485-7616
District 9 – Curren Price:
[email protected] or room 420
(213)473-7008 or (213)485-7616
District 10 – Herb Wesson (President):
[email protected] or room 430
(213)473-7010 or (323)733-8233
District 11 – Mike Bonin:
[email protected] or room 475
(213)473-7011 or (310)575-8461
District 12 – Mitchell Englander
(President pro tempore): or room 405
District 13 – Mitch O’Farrell:
[email protected] or room 480
(213)473-7013 or (213)207-3015
District 14 – Jose Huizar:
[email protected] or room 465
(213)473-7014 or (323)526-9332
District 15 – Joe Buscaino:
[email protected] or room 410
(213)473-7015 or (310)732-4515