Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2017  
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  Trashing Richmond
April 25, 2017

People wonder why the weeds are so high in medians, trash and graffiti go unabated and why it takes so long to demolish abandoned buildings. The truth is that, unfortunately, people treat Richmond like a public dump, and just keeping up with the daily onslaught of trash, graffiti, and weeds is a Herculean task that consumes the time of dozens of City employees on a daily basis.

If these people weren’t constantly cleaning up after slobs, we would have millions of dollars to staff libraries, put cops on the beat and pave streets.

For an eye-opener, take a look at the Abatement Division component of the Department of Infrastructure Maintenance & Operations End of Year Report, which was prepared for the upcoming budget hearings. Tim Higares used to head up Code Enforcement, but now also manages all infrastructure maintenance except streets.

In the past year, the Abatement Division hauled away 1,650 tons (over 3.3 million pounds) of illegally dumped trash at 15,256 locations, including over 3,000 mattresses, removed 1,244 graffiti tags and 1,480 tires.

One of the most egregious activities in Richmond are “illegal transfer stations,” which are locations that will take your trash for a price (cheaper than the Republic Services Transfer Station), and then much of it ends up back on Richmond streets.

Our City will come back when people take it back. Property owners are responsible for maintaining not only the sidewalks that abut their properties but also the “parking strips,” that are the usually weed infested areas between sidewalks and curbs. People routinely and illegally park on parking strips and sidewalks (not to mention front yards), not only creating a blight but blocking use by pedestrians, including disabled people and moms with strollers.

People get away with trashing Richmond because we let them. If you see something, say something. Contact Code Enforcement at 510-965-4905.