Monday, October 22, 2007

Talkin' Trash About Santa Ana

Though the term Santa Ana Winds has nothing to do with our City, when they come into town, they sure do wreak havoc in Santa Ana. Aside from blowing down trees, piling leaves and pine needles onto your driveway or curb, the winds bring to attention another issue that plagues Santa Ana: Trash.

Walking around our neighborhood, one can easily see that our tall buildings and semi-lush planters have been converted into repositories for trash. If you continue down to Brown Street, you can see that less traveled streets in this City quickly turn into drop-offs for old couches and larger items that, in a perfect world, should be taken to the dump.

This truly is a sad sight to see being that this complex has been up for just over a year, and yet, the refuse of the City increasingly invades our neighborhood.

So why is our City so trashy?

  1. People just don't care.

  2. Maintenance people don't care.

  3. No one knows whom to call.

Time and time again, I've glanced out my window only to see people of all likes carelessly throw their trash on the ground, out of their cars, or into the bushes–even though a trash receptacle was just a few steps out of their way. As for society as whole, the people that don't care outnumber the people that do care.

When I stated that Maintenance people don't care, what I really should have stated was that "Maintenance people aren't paid to care" (mainly this guy on the right).

Never once have I seen a lawn blower guy blow leaves or trash into nice, neat piles, where he or another crew member can easily sweep it up into a bag or bin. Instead, this dude blows all of the crap off of Property A, only to become Property B-Z's problem, not to mention the rest of the City's.

So who at the City do we call to address trash issues in Santa Ana?
Blog reader Eric recommended in an earlier post that we should be calling Richard Lay [(714) 647-3380] who works for the City's Public Works Agency. I phoned Richard myself and he advised me to put in a call to dispatch should a couch or something large and obnoxious end up on the streets or sidewalks. As for the smaller pieces of trash scattered throughout the City, he advised that the City does not have any services other than the street sweeper to combat this endless problem.

On a final note, I'd like to discuss the homeless people and those who dig through trash for recyclables. Believe it or not, these folks are some of the few people I've seen who actually pick up trash (off of the streets) in Santa Ana– mainly because the trash they pick-up puts money in their pockets. It's frustrating to see that the people with the least amount invested into the community can be the ones doing the most about this problem.


Kevin said...

I would think you should a) contact the HOA so they could tell the landscaping crew to shape up. b) let your HOA know that you're displeased with the current crew. c) have a monthly community beautification work day (defeats a good chunk of what the HOA is suppose to do). d) ask the city to promote "keeping the city clean"

I think with the current transitions and soon to be construction projects, the trash will continue to be a problem. Once the surrounding retail and recreation are built, the city, residence, and commerce will have a larger interest in keeping the area clean. As for now, I imagine people thinking it's not a significant problem...and to think, I was almost a resident of Santiago Street Lofts (I hope they finalize their plans to build the remaining phase).

Ben Dayhoe said...

Hey Kevin!
Thanks for you post and suggestions!

To address point A and B:
I've contacted our Association (Keystone Pacific) several times about the trash and other issues, sent photos to the HOA about trash and weeds, and have spoken personally with the landscaping crew manager about the quality of the work. The improvements are minor and usually stop after a few weeks.

These trash photos are more specific to the winds that seem to magnetize our complex for trash spread all over the city.

I really like your idea (and name) for the Community Beautification Day. I'll see if I can get people on board, but it might be tough since most feel that they pay HOA dues to handle issues like this.

The City could (and should) start-up a "Clean City" program, but it's always tough getting a timely response from our elected officials.

You have great ideas and it's a shame you didn't move to the community–we could always use more thinkers like yourself.


Stephen Manning said...

And with the upcoming closings aren't the residents in critical mass enough to leverage action out of Keystone Pacific or fire them? :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ben,
I travel into Santa Ana for work each day. When I am stopped at a stoplight I can see the drainage structures full of debris. Not a big deal, but when the rains come, those drainage avenues are plugged up and the streets flood way out to at least the second lane. Proactive maintenance is just absent from the agenda of the city works department.

Stephen Manning said...

Anon, The polluted storm drain system and the lack of street sweeping are both contributing to polluted storm water. When our homes were built the builder had to go to great lengths (that they do routinely now and don't complain about it) for the city and state and EPA to ensure there was no stormwater pollution (SWPPP requirement). I am certain there are codes and requirements for municipalities to do the same. I am not sure which agency hands that down, but I think the City is out of compliance...

I'm pretty sure the city is required to (at a minimum):
1) sweep the streets regularly.

2) Use vacuum trucks to suck the trash out of storm drains and systems regularly.

Santa Ana Slim said...

It seems like our HOA fees go to little more than the insurance payments. I can only hope those are actually getting paid. I'm all for cleaning up around the place, but I hate the fact that we pay ~$250 a month for that service and then we still have to clean up ourselves. That's like washing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher . What are our options when it comes to changing where the money goes? Can we get another management company?


poo lady said...

to be honest, our association fee is not unreasonable, since it pays for maintenance, gardening, water, trash services and other stuff... what i do have a problem with is the money going towards administration fees(keystone). keystone tends to take a laissez-faire attitude, so it is up to the residents of santiago street lofts to continually remind keystone to take care of issues that we may have. hopefully enough people will address kim dean until so she realizes that keystone will have to work for their money. remember to go to the st josephs church this thursday for the renaissance meeting.

ps I will help the city out by trying not to poo in the bushes any more

Anonymous said...

Ben, I agree with you that our homeless pick up the trash, but unfortunately, they frequently leave their carts, sleeping bags, clothing, food wrappers,etc., in the middle of the sidewalks and in the parks, so I'm not sure they are really helping. I think "pooh" might also be considered trash ;)