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It's about time.
On Tuesday night, the Sacramento City Council voted 6-3 to make it a crime to dig thru recycling and waste bins. (City Council members Fong, McCarty and Pannell were the votes against it).
Anyone who lives in Midtown, downtown, East Sac, Land Park, and other areas will appreciate the new ordinance. That's because stealing recyclable materials has become a full-time activity for plenty of folks -- and a headache for those of us who live in the city.
During the past few years, the problem of bin raiding has gone from bad to worse.
A few months ago, a friend in Midtown told me how the scavengers had taken to jumping his fence and coming into his backyard to go after the goods in his trash and recycle bins. He's had to padlock his gate to keep unwanted strangers from entering his backyard.
He's not alone. Just about any time before the garbage and recycling trucks arrive, you can see plenty of folks with their shopping carts, brimming with bottles and cans stolen from trash bins, traveling thru the streets. I've seen it near the Fab 40's as well as downtown.
It's not just the homeless. Just a few weeks ago in my neighborhood, a late model Ford mini-van drove up and down the street. A middle-aged woman was behind the wheel, and three kids jumped out and proceeded to dump bins out on the street. The kids took the bottles and cans (each worth between 5 and 10 cents) and piled them into the back of the van. Meanwhile, garbage was strewn all over the pavement. The five-minute operation was swift and efficient -- and probably deprived the city of $50-$75 bucks or so on my short block in Elmhurst.
Multiply this by the hundreds of streets in dense neighborhoods and it adds up to a significant revenue loss for the city -- something we can't afford when we're facing a $50 million deficit.
One city council member apparently suggested we let things be because it "helps" the homeless. Are you kidding? Is this the way to "help" the homeless? By letting them pick through garbage? I don't think so. How about the city collect the revenue from recyclables and THEN fund programs to help those who need assistance?
Thank you to the city council members who supported this ordinance. Now let's hope that it's enforced.