Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anti-Scavenging Ordinance has been Proposed

Waste collection carts.
A post in Muriel Strand's blog Sacramento's Sustainable Future, "A Bad New Year's Resolution from the City Council," tells us that there is an ordinance amendment on the pathway to passage that is cruel to homeless folk because it would make "it illegal for the underclass to remove anything from your garbage and greenwaste containers, in addition to the recycling container which is already off-limits."

Writes Muriel:
This ordinance should be amended to also make it illegal for anybody to throw away anything that's still useful. Reportedly, some neighborhoods are excellent hunting grounds for gathering perfectly edible food from garbage cans. Donation to Sacramento's hungry should be required for edible food.

More durable goods, many still perfectly useful, can be found in the junk pick-up piles. This is an ideal opportunity for the city to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, by making sure we minimize waste by using what we have and only landfilling things that are actually no longer useful to anyone. How many trips to Nevada could be reduced this way? Why don't we have an Urban Ore outlet here?
Muriel writes that there is a meeting today of the Sacramento City Council's so-called Law and Leg Committee to hear the proposed ordinance. Concludes Muriel,
This ordinance is as likely to solve the scavenging problem as for a rich man to enter heaven. Bandaids don't work for gaping wounds like PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder], starvation and homelessness. The rationale for this proposal includes protecting scavengers from illness and injury, but until the city protects them from starvation and freezing I can't take their concern seriously.

If the city is serious about reducing crime, reducing hunger and hopelessness will be their first priority.
Update on 1/14/09: Here, in pdf format, is the Jan 6 Staff report on the Ordinance Amendment. You can see, at the bottom of the report, there is an undated approval on behalf of the City Manager. The amendment now goes to the City Council for action. I don't yet see the amendment on the agenda for a meeting of the full council, though there are meetings scheduled and agenda available for Jan 13 [agenda] and Jan 15 [agenda] and Jan 20 [agenda]. Here's the City of Sacramento gov't Agenda feed, for anyone following this issue closely.

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