Councilmember Kevin de León alongside new cleaning crew. Photo by Alex Medina.

A first-ever designated fleet of trucks powered by community members will tackle an ongoing issue of illegal trash dumping in Boyle Heights and neighboring Eastside and Northeast communities in Los Angeles.

Announcing the tactic Thursday, city councilmember Kevin de León said that the nine-truck fleet –at an estimated cost of $1.6 million– will supplement existing city services.

The program, which will employ 24 community residents to patrol the district, is being funded with the councilman’s discretionary funds. De León said the 14th is the only city district with a dedicated trash pickup fleet.

“I’ve been living in Boyle Heights for 51 years now and a lot of us have been picking up trash on our own over the years because of how bad the situation has gotten,” said Antonio García, one of those 24 new city employees, speaking in Spanish. 

García said he is happy to see the city taking on an issue that he says has plagued the district for decades.

“It’s great to see that the councilman is joining us in this effort, and I urge everybody to use city services instead of illegally dumping into our communities,” the Boyle Heights resident added.

The nine trucks will operate Monday through Friday to locate and clean up trash and dumped furniture that hasn’t yet been reported to the city. Local residents are still being encouraged to call 311 to report illegally dumped objects and to schedule pick up of bulky items.

De León said that some neighborhoods in his district get a disproportionate amount of illegal dumping and that some of that is being done by people who do not live in the area.

“Folks are coming in the middle of the night and at the break of dawn to dump trash from other parts of the county and city into our communities,” the councilmember said. “They don’t do this in the Hollywood Hills, Palisades, Brentwood or Bel Air, but they believe they can do it in neighborhoods such as ours, home to many hard working immigrants and working class folks.”

Following the morning conference, Garcia and the rest of the crew took to the streets to officially begin their new roles.

“These are 24 new jobs that have been created for folks who live here locally who love their community,” said De León. “I thank them for coming together to help address one of the biggest inequities facing our neighborhoods.”

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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