THE BLOG
07/22/2014 10:04 pm ET Updated Sep 21, 2014

Koreatown: El Basurero

You might say this is a throwaway piece. Just a little moral indignation about something I'm pretty obsessed about. It's been a little over a year since I moved to Koreatown from the Westside. Sure, there's garbage on the Westside. Just look at any bus stop and you can see the employees of Metro and Street Services earning their public pensions. Whether it's that homeowners on the Westside use their trash cans or have their help clean up after them, or both, the condition of the streets and sidewalks is one of the major differences one immediately notices between the two areas. Here in KTown, the streets are filthy. They are where some locals and visitors leave stuff. From condoms to couches and butts to beer cans, put it out or dump it there seems to be the gospel east of Western and Olympic. And god forbid the absentee landlords who own the landmark rent stabilized apartment building across the street at San Marino Street and Serrano Avenue decide to illegally demolish the property. Let's just say they did, because they did. Now, on top of the regular piles of trash that accumulate nightly next to many of the cars parked along the street, we've got a broken window that would make George Kelling and James Q. Wilson proud. Just ask the helpful and patient operators at 311 who take my weekly calls requesting the city pick up the latest sofa left out in the sun and paint over the fresh gang graffiti.

I love my new neighborhood. My neighbors are friendly, the transit here is as good as it gets, the food's exceptional and diverse, and I live in the city again rather than a bland suburban part of Los Angeles good for sending kids to public schools and biking and hiking in the hills. Oh, my old 'hood is also close to the beach and green even in the drought.

I know the city's broke and all and that our new Mayor is doing what he can to fix things. So here's something that shouldn't be that hard to fix. Pick up the trash.

In an impressive show of ingenuity, click here to look at what a local merchant has done to the garbage can at the # 207 Metro bus stop at Venice and Western. Who knew that you could use duct tape to hermetically seal a garbage can so that no one can use it? I missed this being done but the results are clear. No garbage bin to throw stuff in, and there's no overflowing trash can like there used to be. I haven't researched who has the contract to pick up trash at Metro bus stops but whoever it is, is cleaning up.

I hope the Mayor and Street Services and Metro are reading. If they are not, maybe they should get out more often and see the filthy streets and bus stops around here. And while they're at it, I hope they come visit the two-story pile of landmark construction debris my neighbors and I awake to daily at San Marino and Serrano. Stop by any time.

Yours in transit,
Joel