The 3-1-1 On This Month’s MINC Meeting

This month was my first official month as your new MINC rep for Wellington Square.  For those of you that don’t know, the neighborhood council elections were held the last weekend in June.  Many of you were kind enough to come out and vote for me, and so I was officially sworn in as a member of the MINC board two weeks ago.  So, in an on-going effort – I hope to bring you as many details from the work the MINC board is doing – and to represent our neighborhood to the broader community.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any ideas or concerns.

So, to start out – I thought I’d bring you a couple of tidbits, and some things that have come out of this month’s MINC meeting – since a large part of my duties involves sharing the information that I receive at MINC with all of you – and representing our neighborhood’s needs at the meetings.

A lot of what was discussed at the meeting had to do with on-going concerns in our neighborhoods – whether it be parking issues, graffiti, overgrown vegetation on residential lots, or problems with sanitation or street services – and more importantly, what the city could, would, and IS doing about these issues.  The good news is that many of these offenses are reportable – and if you know the right city entity to contact, you can get any of these problems taken care of.  Just remember, it’s always best to ask around the neighborhood first – make sure that something that you might think is a problem, just can’t be taken care of quickly, kindly, and easily – by just going and talking to one of your neighbors.  Neighborly contact with one another is always the best approach.  That being said, sometimes reporting a violation is the only recourse we have.  And also know that whether reported or not, the city is supposedly going around and inspecting things are their own too – so some of this information is good to know, in case you might be in violation of something – that you know what they’re looking for – and more importantly, how you might avoid any problems.
 
But first – you have to know who to contact for what (keep this list handy).  For the most part, when in doubt, calling 3-1-1 will always get you to where you want to go.
 
3-1-1 has changed hours again effective earlier this month.  They are open 7 days a week, from 7am to 10pm only.  BTW, if you have a phone that does not recognize 3-1-1 as a number then, you may also call (213) 473-3231 to get to the same place.
 

Commercial Vehicles Parked On Streets
 
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we’ve had a lot of commercial vehicles parking on the streets in Wellington Square recently.  I took up this issue specifically with John Harmon from CD-10.  He said that technically, it falls under the jurisdiction of the DOT, but often this sort of thing needs a more immediate response, so he put me in touch with an officer from the CHP.  Because our streets are right off of the freeway, the CHP will take care of these commercial vehicles if we report them.
 
So, I spoke with Sgt. Lee Martin, who was very helpful and filled me in on what to do.  (It just so happened that the day I called him, there was a tractor trailer loaded with new cars parked down on 23rd overnight.)  Basically, Officer Martin told me that he wasn’t surprised that we’re seeing this in our neighborhood.  He said that they’ve recently done a sweep of the neighborhoods to the south of us, because they were having a lot of these problems – and that he figured they had just moved on – and were probably trying out our neighborhood now instead.
 
He went on to explain that the difficulty in citing any violation with these incidents, is that the vehicles are only in violation if they’re there for more than a couple of hours.  So anytime the CHP approaches one of these vehicles, the drivers always claim that they’ve just pulled over and parked for a few minutes – and with no proof to back it up, the CHP can only tell them to move along – or worse do nothing at all.  So, Sgt. Martin said that the onus really falls on the residents.  We need to report these issues – but also keep track of the times, note license plate numbers, and even take pictures of the trucks if we can.  He said that with that information, the police can do a lot more – there is an eyewitness report to back up their actions.
 
So, if you see one of these vehicles on your street (and it doesn’t belong to a neighbor – always good to ask around first), then note the information above, and place a phone call to Officer Martin – his cell number is below, and he said he will gladly make sure it gets taken care of.
 
CHP Sgt. Lee Martin
310-293-3911 
 
 
What About Abandoned Vehicles?
 
For service requests regarding abandoned, inoperative or junk vehicles, please call 3-1-1. 
  • Remember, any vehicle left in the same spot on any city street for more than 72 hours, falls under this category – that includes boats, and other non-auto vehicles.  They do not just need to be moved every week for street cleaning, but technically every three days.
  • The same applies to vehicles listed for sale – although no vehicle is technically supposed to be sold on city streets, the city will only enforce the 72-hour rule on these vehicles.
 
Also, if there is an on-going issue with this type of thing, then it can also be reported to John Harmon at CD-10 or DOT Lt. Carl Jones at 213-485-6909.
 
 
Let’s Talk About Litter
 
The other issue that I took up with CD-10 concerns the constant litter problem along Washington Blvd.  
 
A little side note here:  I was out walking the other day, and while on Washington, a woman (not from the neighborhood) just dropped her trash on the sidewalk right in front of me.  And it was no accident – she deliberately just threw the trash on the ground.  So, I went over – picked it up – and handed it back to her insisting that I was sure she didn’t mean to do so (I knew she did… I was just trying to make a point.)  She told me she didn’t want it anymore.  That’s when I tactfully tried to explain to her that littering wasn’t the answer, and she just need to place it in one of the trash cans that lines the street.  She looked at me like I was crazy (I will admit, it’s a pet peeve… so I may have had a bit of a crazed look in my eyes).  Since she wouldn’t take it back, I took it and threw it away myself.
 
But that’s when I noticed that there are no trash cans along Washington at Victoria Ave. on the south side of the street.  Every other block has two sets of cans (at least) on the north and south sides of the street.  But for some reason, the south side of Victoria was missing the two cans.  Which might very well explain all of the trash that is on the ground from the Mobil station up to Wellington Rd. (mostly from Jack In The Box, I must say – I sometime think we should collect all of their trash and return it to them on their parking lot!).  
 
So, I brought the issue up with John Harmon, and he said he’d take care of it and get two cans placed at the top of Victoria.  I’m sure it’ll take a little bit of time to happen, but I’ll stay on top of it to make sure that it does.  I know that a couple of missing trash cans isn’t going to account for all of the refuse on the ground, but it might help even just a little bit.  Let’s hope so!
 
 
City Budget Crisis Affecting City Services
 
If you’ve noticed certain city services on the decline lately, you’re not just seeing things.  The deep budget cuts that the city has had to make have really affected some of the things the city is able to cover.  Case in point:
  • Street services will no longer be cleaning up the median islands on city streets – that means that any trash that builds up on these islands will just stay there – and it seems unclear what that means for the vegetation as well.  So, it’s going to be up to the community to do more to keep its neighborhoods clean.  MINC is going to look into this issue further – but at this time, it appears it’s up to us.
  • Street cleaning – a lot of streets are being skipped on a regular basis, so keep an eye out for our streets in Wellington Square and report to street services if your street is skipped.  They will supposedly claim it was a one-time issue – but unless it gets reported, it may just keep happening.  Several MINC Board members are reporting that the streets in their neighborhoods haven’t been cleaned in a couple of months – until they finally called to complain.  So, what about our streets in the Square?  Anyone notice whether the street sweepers are still coming by?  Keep your eyes and ears open if you’re around the house during the day, so that we can report any stoppage.
 
Graffiti
 
For service requests regarding graffiti or assistance with removal, contact Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification (http://www.laocb.org) or call 311.
 
 
Neighborhood Nuisances
  1. Building & Safety – mainly for residential issues – call 3-1-1 or report them online at http://www.ladbs.org (click under “report a property violation”).
    • The key is to know exactly what code violation to report  The ones most commonly reported are:
      • Excess vegetation (over 2-3 feet) in yard.
      • Excess debris in yard (i.e., trash, toys, carts, etc.).
      • Broken window on property.
      • Blocking a public right of way (i.e., excess bougainvillea).
      • Peeling paint on building.
      • General disrepair (i.e., cracks in wall).
      • Property not secured AND there is a pool in back.
        • This last one is a safety hazard and mosquito issue.  And you may also call 3-1-1 and report mosquito issues to “vector control”.
    • Make sure to follow-up!
      • If you report online, then follow-up every week under “property activity report”
      • And if you call it in, be sure to always get a docket or issue number so that you follow-up on what you report.  Be sure to phone the inspector again if it’s not taken care of.
  2. L.A. Housing Department – for similar issues above which exist at multi-unit buildings (i.e., apartments) – call LAHD at (866) 557-7368
  3. Street Services – call (800) 996-2489
    • Potholes or malformed roadways
    • Empty lots that need weeding or cleaning
    • Illegal dumping
  4. Sanitation Department – call (800) 773-2489
    1. FREE replacement trash cans or FREE fixes to cans (need serial numbers off cans).
    2. Does not include the public trash cans that are out along Washington Blvd. – those are under the jurisdiction of CD-10 (see note below).
 
 
If you have any thoughts or questions on any of these issues, leave a comment in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you.  Or just feel free to drop me an email – if there’s something I can help take care of, I’m happy to do so.

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