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Trashing those big, ugly bins

July 30, 2006

"Who's Been Using My Bin?" [July 23] left out certain facts about the impact of dumpsters on neighbors.

First, dumpsters are very ugly. Their appearance in otherwise presentable neighborhoods adds an instant visual blight.

Second, the story implies that these eyesores are usually planted in the street for a matter of days. In my experience, when they are hauled away they are almost instantly replaced with new, empty containers. Near my home, a succession of containers has occupied the same spot on the street for two or more years.

Third, dumpsters are hazardous. Beyond the sad fact that they attract homeless individuals who put themselves at risk to make a few dollars gathering refundable plastic bottles and cans, these big square boxes are a menace to the driving public. Those who must traverse the winding streets of our hill neighborhoods and who assume that there will be two lanes around the next bend are often surprised by the sudden appearance of a metal monolith in their path. The problem is compounded at night, as dumpster owners typically fail to put reflectors on their boxes.

For all of these reasons, people affected by the presence of dumpsters on their streets are more than entitled to exact a toll for their presence. Indeed, tossing unwanted garbage into a huge box that a fellow homeowner has thrust upon the neighborhood is an act of more than expediency; it is a metaphor for exactly how those forced to live with these atrocities feel about them.

MARK STEINBERG

Los Feliz

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