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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Shopping-cart crackdown urged

August 07, 2008|Jean Merl

City officials took steps Wednesday to rid their streets of abandoned shopping carts with a proposed crackdown on supermarkets and other stores whose carts repeatedly turn up in neighborhoods.

Using Glendale's enforcement program as their model, Los Angeles Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Greig Smith called for the Planning Department and the city attorney to draw up a proposed ordinance within 30 days.

If approved by the City Council, the measure would require stores that habitually lose carts to use "containment" systems that would keep people from removing the baskets from the premises. Shops that don't comply would face fines.

Cardenas began pushing for such an ordinance after he and the city's Bureau of Sanitation conducted a 2007 pilot program in his east San Fernando Valley district. Workers collected 6,880 abandoned shopping carts within six months. They witnessed several near-accidents in which drivers had to swerve around carts to avoid crashes, and they found children using the abandoned carts as toys, often in the middle of busy streets.

"This is about the quality of life and public safety," Cardenas said in a statement.

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