Oakland, CA – On Tuesday, September 24, the Oakland City Council’s Public Works Committee will consider a new Illegal Dumping Ordinance as part of the City’s crackdown on one of the worst sources of civic blight in Oakland.
Dumping old mattresses, furniture, construction debris, garbage, hazardous materials and other items on sidewalks, in parks and under freeways is a major source of blight in neighborhoods across Oakland. The Public Works Agency reported nearly 17,000 incidents of illegal dumping in FY 2012-13.
The ordinance sponsored by City Attorney Barbara Parker and City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney (District 3 – West Oakland, Downtown, Jack London Square, Korea Town/Northgate, Adams Point) is designed to support the City’s effort to deter illegal dumping in Oakland and hold violators accountable.
“Oaklanders have had enough of this disrespect of our beautiful city; we will not be a dumping ground,” City Attorney Parker said. “Illegal dumping is not only a source of blight in our neighborhoods. It also has a chilling effect on our quality of life, and creates an environment that can encourage more serious crime and violence. Making Oakland a cleaner city will make it a safer city.”
The ordinance will (1) make illegal dumping a misdemeanor under Oakland law, as opposed to just an infraction, (2) increase penalties to allow for significantly higher fines in some cases, and (3) allow some defendants to perform community service instead of paying fines.
“Illegal dumping is a real threat to jobs and our economy,” Councilmember Gibson McElhaney said. “This legislation will give us more legal tools to protect our businesses and neighbors from the perpetrators who endanger our health, our economy and our environment.”
The City’s Illegal Dumping Enforcement Action initiative – a joint effort by the City Attorney’s Office, the Public Works Agency and the City Administrator’s Office – uses photos, videos and other evidence submitted by community members to track down illegal dumpers and make them pay for disrespecting Oakland’s residents, businesses and taxpayers.
An increasing number of Oakland citizens, many using camera phones, are taking photos and videos of illegal dumping incidents and reporting violators to the Public Works Agency using the Agency’s on line service request page or the SeeClickFix mobile application for Oakland. SeeClickFix is an online and mobile tool that allows residents to report and track non-emergency problems such as graffiti, illegal dumping and potholes.
Photos of license plate numbers of vehicles involved in illegal dumping are critical. The City Attorney’s Office can use license plate numbers to track down the owners of those vehicles.
So far about 30 people have been cited for dumping under the recent initiative. The City is charging illegal dumpers up to $1,000 a day for every day the blight continues, plus abatement costs and related fees. The average citation is in the range of $3,000 to $4,000.
The City Council’s Public Works Committee meets at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 24 on the first floor of City Hall (1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612).