Foes of L.A.’s Trash System Will Get Their Day in Court

2018 Editions September Updates

The City Attorney of Los Angeles has tried and failed to block a class-action lawsuit to undo the City’s new trash-collection system for businesses. Both sides in the fight are now gearing up for more battle.

Frank Mateljan, a spokesperson for the City Attorney, told the Boulevard Sentinel that the City will continue to vigorously defend the trash system.

Carolin Shining, the attorney for the Apartment Owners Association of California, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Boulevard Sentinel she is gathering complaints about the trash system into a database for use in bolstering the case.

To recap: The trash-collection system, put in place last year to improve environmental standards, requires businesses to use a specific garbage collector under contract to the City, rather than contracting privately with the hauler of their choice. In general, the new system costs businesses more than the old system, a sore point that has led to lawsuits challenging it.

The Apartment Owners contend that the new system has imposed new taxes without voter approval. The City Attorney argued that the system imposes permissible fees and that the case should be dismissed. The judge recently ruled that the apartment owners’ argument had enough merit to warrant going to trial.

Meanwhile, a motion passed by the City Council in February calling for a study on what it would take to cancel the City’s trash-hauling contracts has gone nowhere. Calls and emails by the Boulevard Sentinel to the staff of Councilmember Nury Martinez, who runs the committee in charge of the motion, have not been returned.

It seems that the motion is not serious, but rather was passed by City Councilmembers as a way for them to look like they were responding to complaints about the new system.

In any event, it now appears that the court, not the City Council, will decide the trash system’s fate.