Commentary: A Filthy Mess

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 9, 2006

It's a filthy disgusting pigsty. I refer to a one block stretch of 21st Street between W and X, under the Capital City Freeway.

Large mounds of trash collect like tumbleweed along the cyclone fence that surrounds the state parking lot there. Trash, rotting food, greasy wrappers, newspapers, bottles, cardboard boxes  -  the ordinary refuse of urban America lies stuffed under the bus shelter that sits in the middle of the block there - piled high against an overflowing trash can.

The filth makes life dirtier and grittier than it needs to be in this emerging but still fragile mid-town neighborhood. Some blame illegal dumpers. Others blame the homeless who live in the bushes under the freeway.

Regardless of who's at fault, someone needs to clean it up. But who? Caltrans owns the parking lot. The city is responsible for keeping sidewalks clean. Regional Transit is supposed to maintain the area around its bus stops. The public can't help. Even if people wanted to dump their trash properly, they couldn't. The can at the site has been overflowing for weeks.

 I've reported this mess to the city's solid waste division and to Caltrans. They've promised to do something. I'm still waiting.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.