Q: It’s encouraging to hear that San Jose is planning on getting additional cameras and increasing fines to $10,000 for illegal dumping. That’s great. However, I am concerned that someone will protest that the high fines discriminate against low-income and poor individuals and issue forgiveness or even amnesty. What say you?
Darlene Brannen, San Jose
A: San Jose council members have expressed this same concern. In a report the city said it does “not want to disproportionately impact low-income, underserved communities. However, it is evident that these same communities are already disproportionately impacted by the negative consequences of illegal dumping.”
Here are some ideas being kicked around:
- Consider paying residents to redeem big appliances, like in Delaware where municipalities offer as much as $50 for this.
- Placing junk collection bins across San Jose in underserved neighborhoods with chronic dumping problems.
- Eliminate the need for scheduling large item pick-ups to make it easier to dispose of junk.
- Place notices in several languages.
- Extend pickup hours to beyond 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
Q: Could the city recover some its costs by recycling?
Mary Franks, San Jose
A: Unlikely. The metal redemption value on appliances has crashed from $20 to $30 per appliance to just $4 or $5. It’s no longer worth it for a scrap metal hauler to drive around and pick up appliances.
Q: It seems to me that a lot trash can be found near apartment buildings.
Fran Castillo, San Jose
A: That can be the case. A San Jose State study showed that while 85% of households in single-family dwellings — predominantly homeowners — knew about and used the free junk pick-up service, that number dropped to just 50% among renters.
Q: I was glad to read that Governor Newsom wants to spend $1.5 billion to clean our freeways. But if takes 10 years to do this, we’ll still be covered in litter and graffiti.
Marcus Morales, Milpitas
A: The state money would be allocated over the next three years.
Q: Texas found that in order to get the litterers and dumpers and the rest of the population to “buy in” to a clean highways program, finding a compelling “slogan” was key. Their winning slogan was “Don’t Mess with Texas!” — thus appealing to a macho patriotic Texas sensibility. It was very effective.
Maybe you could have a contest for a slogan that would work in California?
A: We already have a slogan — Don’t Trash California. Can we do better?
The campaign’s target market in Texas was 18- to 35-year-old “bubbas”‘ who were shown to be the most likely to litter.
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Author: Gary Richards