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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

Consumer Hotline Remains a Question

October 05, 1998|SUE FOX

Donna Petersen, a 65-year-old with arthritis and osteoporosis, couldn't budge her bulky blue recycling bin. When her husband, Robert, 69, tried to lug the 90-gallon container to the curb, he wrenched his back.

The Sun Valley couple wanted a more manageable 60-gallon bin, and recently called the toll-free city phone number stenciled on the side of the container.

"You get a long recorded message and then you get a busy signal," Donna Petersen said. "You just can't get through."

After hearing the Petersens' story and a similar complaint from a Panorama City woman, Councilman Joel Wachs sent a letter Friday to Judith Wilson, director of the city's Bureau of Sanitation, urging better service for those who use the customer hotline.

One of the councilman's deputies also called the number, and was told in a recorded message that there was a 10-minute wait, said Greg Nelson, a Wachs spokesman. The same message greeted callers Friday afternoon.

"This system was supposed to provide answers to people quickly," Nelson said. "It seems to be going in the opposite direction."

Wilson could not be reached Friday. The number given by a City Hall operator for Wilson went unanswered--by either human or machine.

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