Should San Jose pay residents $50 to drop off unwanted appliances?

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?

Joan Schwimmer

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.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.

 

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Author: Gary Richards

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