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    Taking a Stand Against Illegal Dumping

    RebeccaKaplan-02Illegal dumping continues to challenge our city, creating blight and, in some cases, health hazards. In recent years the Oakland City Council has voted to take several actions to help reduce, deter, and mitigate illegal dumping and related blight in our community, though some of these actions have not yet been implemented by the Administration.

    I am pleased to announce that the Oakland City Council recently voted to make our “rewards” program permanent. It provides financial rewards for witnesses with information leading to successful enforcement actions against illegal dumping.

    I am also pleased to report movement on several other of our efforts on illegal dumping. We learned several months ago that one of the problems with removal of illegal dumping was due to city-owned collection trucks breaking down. The City Council voted to authorize purchase of new trucks, and the Administration planned to order the new trucks along with a fleet of other vehicles, but this proved to be taking longer than expected.

    This past July, as Chair of Public Works, I requested that, if the larger vehicle order would take too long, we should be given an option to separately order the trucks for illegal dumping removal. I recently learned that, in fact, it will take a long time to get the trucks by the planned purchase, and I requested that we take more immediate short term action to fill this need.

    I am happy to report that staff agreed to my request and have committed to work on ordering the trucks for illegal dumping separately and immediately. That item will return to the Public Works Committee in the near future. We also asked for an update and expedited action on installing the Council approved cameras at illegal dumping hot spots, and this too, should be moving forward soon. We are to receive information concerning implementation by the beginning of December.

    Illegal dumping is a significant and growing problem for our community. It can endanger public health and attract worsening problems. It is essential that we take action to remove illegal dumping, deter it, and hold those who trash our community accountable. I am optimistic that the rewards program, the working trucks, high-resolution cameras, and working together with the community will immensely help our fight against illegal dumping in Oakland.

    Oakland City Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012. She is working for safe neighborhoods, for local jobs and for a fresh start for Oakland. Councilmember Kaplan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Massachusetts Institute of Technolog y, obtained a master’s degree from Tufts University and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.