Cheri Speak

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High Desert Tiny Towns: Illegal Dumping and the Homeless


If you drive onto nearly any vacant parcel of land with a dirt road in the high desert – especially those used for the power grid system and its employees, you will find an abundance of peoples garbage discarded randomly about. Most often it is larger items – those that would not fit into residential trash receptacles handled by the city, which people dispose of illegally.

It is obvious if you were to look around these sites that unknown numbers of homeless people utilize some of the dejected items to create makeshift shelters and some semblance of creature comforts. From old wood pallets to carpet remnants and plastic tarps, our vacant land is filled with small towns for those who have nothing more than the dregs that have been left behind by those too thoughtless or cheap to use their local landfills.

One could possibly think illegal dumping is beneficial if it helps those who are dispossessed, however much of this debris is later blown, by our often hearty winds, into neighborhoods and onto our roadways. Additionally, there may be some of you who are fearful of the displaced that may live within a hundred feet or so from your backyard and what that could mean to you and your family.

Although I do not advocate illegal dumping, it is a clear issue with no quick fix in site so we may as well discuss it. How do we dump legally and illegally without harming our neighborhoods while giving quietly to our often unseen “neighbors?”.

For discarding large and/or awkwardly shaped objects, the obvious answer is use the local landfill. Fees do apply, however the price we pay for illegal dumping is greater. The City of Victorville landfill does offer two free dump days a year.

For information on FREE DUMP DAYS go to: http://ci.victorville.ca.us/uploadedFiles/CityServices/Trash_Recycling/img-210160917-0001.pdf

If you would like current LANDFILL FEES and services check out: http://ci.victorville.ca.us/Site/CityServices.aspx?id=292

There are also alternative ways to chuck your stuff. Remember the old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” in other words recycle or better yet Freecycle! Every day items that you are sick of or don’t wish to repair may be the very thing someone else is looking for.

Go to HIGH DESERT FREECYCLE and see what catches your eye or create a list of items you want to get rid of fast: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HighDesertFreecycle/

Of more than 300,000 people who call the Victor Valley home 50% have an annual income up to $49K and more than 25% live on less than $24K a year. The persistently growing unemployment numbers in our area surpass 16.3%. That’s 6.5% over the national average for unemployment in America! Add to this the horrifying housing loss where local home values have fallen 43% or greater and foreclosures have more than doubled in the county. Some homes have even been demolished by the banks that are stuck with them.

http://ci.victorville.ca.us/Site/AboutVictorville.aspx?id=68
http://www.victorvillecity.com/documents/ESRI_2009_Victorville_Demographics_and_Income_Profile.pdfhttp://www.csmonitor.com/Money/2008/0725/p03s02-usec.html http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/2008/0725/p03s02-usec.html

http://www.housingcrisis.com/?s=victorville

So what does all this have to do with illegal dumping? If all else fails and you are determined to cast things off into our desert, think of who may live there and how what you leave behind can positively impact them. Many of these people differ from us in only one way, the roof that is, or isn’t, over our heads.

Now it's my turn to listen...

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Cheri Roberts

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