Patterico's Pontifications


Los Angeles: Piles of Rotting Trash, Rampant Rats, And Fears Of a New Epidemic

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Every big city has its share of problems stemming from large populations, housing shortages, homeless encampments, unemployment – you name it. But a report released yesterday about the city of Los Angeles and its piles of rotting trash and rat infestation was shocking nonetheless:

Rat-infested piles of rotting garbage left uncollected by the city of Los Angeles, even after promises to clean it up, are fueling concerns about a new epidemic after last year’s record number of flea-borne typhus cases.

Even the city’s most notorious trash pile, located between downtown LA’s busy Fashion and Produce districts, continues to be a magnet for rats after it was cleaned up months ago. The rodents can carry typhus-infected fleas, which can spread the disease to humans through bacteria rubbed into the eyes or cuts and scrapes on the skin, resulting in severe flu-like symptoms.

The NBC4 I-Team first told Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office about the piles of filth in the 700 block of Ceres Avenue in October. At the time, he promised to make sure trash doesn’t pile up like that.

The garbage was cleaned after the interview, but conditions have worsened over the next seven months.

They’re not kidding. But sadly, city government doesn’t seem to regard the “humanitarian crisis” with the same level of urgency as the residents. Consider, that after a reporter made a call to the city’s service hotline to request a massive cleanup of rotting trash, food, and waste on Cerres Street, the reporter was told that it would take up to 90 days before it would be cleaned. That means in the middle of summer when the heat will have already provided an even more robust breeding ground for bacteria and rot.

Shockingly, unlike New York City and Washington D.C. where designated teams are charged with focusing solely on aggressively keeping the rat population under control, Los Angeles has no such plan in place. Nor are there any plans in the offing.

When confronted about the lack of a designated team to attack the problem, as well as the lack of an overall long-term (or even short-term) plan, a local official breezily dismissed the inquiry:

“It’s something that we’ll look into,” said Pepe Garica, of Los Angeles’ bureau of sanitation.

I’m guessing Garcia, and even the Mayor himself have absolutely no clue how to gain control over this disaster.

And most disturbingly:

Rats carrying typhus-infected fleas were found around LA last fall, according to county health department records… The agency did not provide details about where the fleas were found, saying that information would cause confusion and unnecessary alarm, but… typhus-infected fleas were found on animals waiting to be adopted at the North Central Animal Shelter.

Between 2013 and 2017, county residents reported a yearly average of nearly 60 cases. That’s twice as many the number reported in the previous five years.

Last year, a record 124 cases were reported in Los Angeles County.

This speaks directly to why Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, of UCLA, believes there is no time to waste. As he said, the trash and rat problems in Los Angeles rate right up there with slums he has seen in the third world.

One of the reporters involved in writing this piece, Joel Grover, was interviewed on a local Los Angeles radio station tonight. He said that the report garnered an avalanche of comments on Twitter and Facebook, and that the overwhelming majority of comments expressed anger at Mayor Garcetti and city officials for allowing things to deteriorate so badly, and that they have been completely unresponsive to concerns of the city’s residents. Grover then followed up saying that he had attempted to contact Mayor Garcetti for a comment about the story when it was published, and was told by his spokesperson that he was currently traveling out of the city. Funny though, as Grover noted, the Mayor had plenty of time to tweet about climate change.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


16 Responses to “Los Angeles: Piles of Rotting Trash, Rampant Rats, And Fears Of a New Epidemic”

  1. When you have a Democrat-controlled state like California, and no push back or tension between an similar number of politicians from the other side of the aisle, there is no incentive to get things done. The Democrats know that, in spite of angry residents now, they will still be re-elected, and know that Republicans won’t stand a chance. At least, not until the pendulum swings.

    Dana (779465)

  2. Same here in Seattle. Both cities need an honest-to-goodness “no broken windows” policing policy, and council members who aren’t socialist idiots.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  3. Of course typhus is not the only rat/flea-borne disease

    Kishnevi (c81531)

  4. Right. Bubonic plague. Unbelievable.

    Dana (779465)

  5. Bad roads.
    Bad cops.
    Bad air.
    Bel Air!

    We love L.A.!!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  6. Kishnevi,

    What a staggering read about Naples. It’s almost impossible to pinpoint the starting point of the disaster.

    Dana (779465)

  7. This is one of the reasons I moved (the other sitting on 7 figures of equity that I could not eat).

    So here I am in New Mexico, housing is 1/4th the cost of L.A. $1000/month will get you nearly any two-bedroom apartment, and if you aren’t picky you can be indoors for a few hundred a month.

    The irony: there are still plenty of homeless. It appears that the reason is not the cost of housing.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  8. it would take up to 90 days before it would be cleaned.

    I bet you they could ban plastic straws faster.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  9. #7
    The pinpoint is that the tied at #1 jobs of city government are waste disposal (sewage and garbage), fresh water and stopping crime.
    Instead we get bike lanes, electric scooters and welcome home baskets for criminals.

    I enjoyed the city sanitation genius take on rat control… “we are looking at it”. Yes. Hence the video of rats everywhere. Please keep in mind the gestation period in rodents while you are looking, and remember these rats have no predators. Feral cats ignore rats and instead kill mice and birds, rats are too big. Rat terriers will do it, but they would need to be euthanized due to rabies and other diseases exposure.
    Maybe like fitting cows with anti flatuence devices, we can hire interns to fir male rats with condoms

    steveg (354706)

  10. Maybe the interns should train the male rats to ask permission from the female rats before any contact. #MeToo

    steveg (354706)

  11. Feral rat gestational period is 21 days. That this is not declared an outright emergency, and prioritized as such by the city, and attending departments proactively moving as quickly as possible to eradicate the rat infestation and get rid of the trash immediately is incomprehensible. Of course, if you live behind locked gates, you are not directly at risk or impacted.

    Dana (779465)

  12. Read Mayor Garcetti’s Executive Order 8 clean streets initiative. The city didn’t quite meet the mark.

    Dana (779465)

  13. Not having a city full of trash seems like one of probably the top 5 responsibilities of city government. Maybe the top priority. WTF is wrong with LA?

    @2 That’s what happens when a president decides to punish a state through politics. Trump has been busy punishing CA for being too liberal and the more he punishes CA, the less support the Republicans have in the state. Orange county went blue, for the love of all that’s holy.

    It would also help if the party let Republicans from more liberal areas be less orthodox. Arnold wasn’t that long ago.

    Nic (896fdf)

  14. Seeing California recede in my rear view mirror was one of the wisest decisions I ever made.

    David Longfellow (8cba7a)

  15. This is what happens when politics becomes entirely defined by where you stand on the culture war. (And climate change arguments are just another culture war battle.) The real arguments about whether government is doing its job effectively gets lost in all the ideological warfare.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

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