Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Street-Sweeping Operation Questioned

David Vasquez, an employee of Venco Western, sweeps the neighborhood behind Vons Tuesday morning.

By Nao Braverman
Are Ojai’s street sweepers actually doing their job or just kicking up dirt and debris? Several local residents and business owners who claim to have been caught in a dust cloud behind the city’s street sweeping vehicle, wanted to know.
“The streets are full of contaminants, insecticides, urine, rubber from cars,” said Ernie Salomon, owner of the Matilija Plaza Group. “Now all you have is a machine that sweeps that stuff up into the air.”
According to Salomon the local street sweeping vehicle would be more efficient if it “sprayed the streets down and then sucked up the debris,” as some Los Angeles County motor sweepers do. But Ojai’s machine just blows the filth right back into the atmosphere, he said, citing the sweeping mechanism’s “old technology.”
Ojai has been using the same company and services for at least 20 years, according to Venco Western’s spokesperson Bill Barrett. A 2006 Ojai Public Works report shows that the the city used to pay Venco Western directly for street sweeping services but decided to transfer the services to Ojai’s solid waste collector, E.J. Harrison & Sons at the end of July 2006.
E.J Harrison & Sons now includes street sweeping in their solid waste contract with the city and charges residents about 95 cents more for street sweeping in their trash collection bill every other month, saving the approximately $48,000 yearly cost to the city’s general fund.
While residents are now paying for street sweeping service, instead of the city, the service itself has not changed, said public works director Mike Culver. While the payment now goes first to E.J. Harrison & Sons, E.J. Harrison & Sons still contracts Venco Western to do the actual sweeping, he explained.
Barrett said that the company has been using the same methods and technology they used when the city of Ojai paid them directly. Venco now gets about $88 more each month after the new arrangement.
Venco employees use a Tymco Model 600 heavy duty sweeper, and service alternating routes throughout the city on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The machine drives across the street side sweeping dirt and debris with a gutter broom which sprays a fine mist of water to keep the dust down as much as possible, said Barrett. A pick-up head on the vehicle is supposed to suck up the debris being swept off the streets.
Several residents have complained that the sweeper doesn’t use water. But Barrett insisted that a fine mist of water should always be emitted from the machine as a dust suppression mechanism. The machine uses very little water however, and hardly leaves a mark, so residents might not be able to see it, he added.
Culver said that Venco’s street sweeping employees could have run out of water, or could have been driving the vehicle too quickly when residents sighted unhealthy clouds of dust rising from behind their machine.
An Ojai Valley News reporter did not notice any dust cloud and ample water was being used on by the street sweeping machine Tuesday morning, however.
According to the 2006 public works report, the city decided to contract with E.J. Harrison & Sons also because they provide recycling services and recycle the debris through California Wood Recycling. The recycling company takes dirt and debris transferred from Venco to E.J. Harrison & Sons, screens it and reuses the organic matter as soil amendment.
The recycling of street debris included in the street sweeping contract with E.J. Harrison & Sons helps the city comply with Assembly Bill 939. The 1989 Integrated Waste Management Act mandates California cities to significantly reduce their contribution to landfills.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, the street sweeper actually sweeps up debris. I know this because when I see him coming he lets me sweep leaves into the street in front of him and in "swooosh" it goes!!!!

Anonymous said...

I live on grand and every time they come by I got to close my windows due to the dust

Anonymous said...

We're on North Ventura St. and have to rush to close the windows and doors because it raises such a huge cloud of dust as it goes by.

Anonymous said...

They must be sweeping the same streets over and over, because our streets look filthy!

Anonymous said...

Another good question to ask is whether or not City residents are getting what we pay for. With all of the parked cars and no interest in enforcing existing parking regulations for RVs, boats, trailers and old cars particularly on street sweeping day - are we really getting what we are now paying for on our trash bill? Also, since street sweeping is on the trash bill, is everyone getting street sweeping service? Do they sweep the entire City? It might be a Prop 218 issue if you are paying for a service that you are not actually getting. I live on Fulton and there are too many parked cars to get the service that we are required to pay for. The sweeper skips most of the street. I think the City Council even voted against parking enforcement on street sweeping day. How do we opt out?

Anonymous said...

Don't knock the street sweeper. He is a life saver in our neighborhood. He kicks up dust but the amount he takes in is much more. If he wasn't there all the cars going by would day by day be kicking up much more dust.

Anonymous said...

my question is since when does the amount of dust that they make is so important? would you rather them not clean the streets and have a bigger problem with the filthy streets. Also the street sweeper is only doing their job. so think about it this way the dust is only a few seconds of dust rather to all the trash and dirty WE throw on the floor. but i believe that the last person to be held responsible is the street sweeper!

Anonymous said...

i think they're advocating for a BETTER sweeper

James Hatch said...

Let's face it. This is just another example of technology compensating for laziness. Get a life and bag the leaves. What a joke!

James Hatch stands for personal responsibility and accountability. This includes cleaning up after yourself.

Anonymous said...

James Hatch , you're a joke if you think every person who owns a home with a tree is going to go out or is even capable of going out to the street (or shuffle out into the street if a Senior) and bag up all the leaves from every elm, every sycamore and every Valley Oak. Guess what else, some streets get a constant flow of dirt from the overflow of watering at parks or broken water mains, winter rains and such so then what? I have a bad back James Hatch and I don't have anyone I can get to clean it up for free but my taxes are already paying for the guy so let him keep doing it.

James Hatch said...

Anonymous,

The only joke is the guy that says he has a bad back and can't afford to pay a local kid what couldn't be more than ten bucks to rake a few leaves.

Admit it, you're obese, on welfare, and don't pay taxes. The streetsweeper is just another government handout that you have come to depend on. It's time to wean yourself off the government teat.

Anonymous said...

James Hatch , you are wrong on at least 3-4 fronts. That really cracks me up. I know you personally!!! You know me. You know I am not fat (not that some people can't help it and I feel sorry for them) You know that I am not on welfare and that I pay taxes too. I like the street sweeper machinery , I even like the guy sweeping it! (hint , I am a girl)Its like mr Rogers neighborhood and we wave as he helps me out by sucking up the debris that I don't have time or the back to pick up. Its ok to have your anti sweeper attitude but you don't have to be be so calously rude to people who do and find themselves in the Ojai blog defending it. Its not very becoming of you.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if you are not really James Hatch, then you are really doing the poor man a diservice by pretending to be him and writing stuff like that. I might even mention to James if I see him again at Vons that someone is using his name to write really rude and stupid things in the Ojai Blog.

Anonymous said...

In the Netherlands people take pride in cleaning the streets and sidewalks outside of their home. I don't see anything wrong with Hatch's comments. Most Americans these days are lazy and expect others to do their bidding for them.

Also, I find it funny that there's recently been a number of articles about our water shortage, but we're assured here that the street sweeper is using "ample water." Sad.

Anonymous said...

I started paying a couple of Mexican guys a few bucks to rake my leaves, now they do the whole property. They have a big business as now they do every yard up and down the street. The street sweeper isnt really needed as long as we have these two ambitious workers . Before every neighbor up the street used to just hose all their leaves down the street with water until eventually they allended up in the drainage! With people taking on two jobs to make ends meet and to pay the mortgage who has the time to groom the yards like that?

Anonymous said...

I'll bet that the street sweeper produces more good work in one hour than any of the whiners here produce in one week.

Go, street sweeper!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of messes, take a look at the comments under the Curb Appeal story. The one about what a mess the Vons shopping area is pretty much hit the nail on the head. That place is a total disgrace to the valley.

Anonymous said...

Tear that mess down and bring on a Whole Foods! Also, all of the entrances and exits to the Vons center are totally dangerous. How about the one that exits onto the 150? I've seen groups of cars come to a stop out of complete confusion -- and the bike path crosses diagonally right through it. It doesn't help that the lot itself is a filthy mess. It's like a big scab that welcomes people into the Valley. Uck!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. You can just tear down anything you don't like even if you don't own it.

Do I see a little totalitarianism hiding under your hand crafted hemp costume?

Anonymous said...

The previous comment made by someone smoking too much hemp instead of wearing it?

Anonymous said...

That was your best shot? Yawn.

Anonymous said...

I just do not think you'd understand any really big words

Anonymous said...

And that's your second best shot? Two yawns.

Anonymous said...

Annon at 8:18 EEEEeeeww !! Graphic description of a giant scab greeting all newcomers to the valley! LOL I mean is it really that bad at a distance? Maybe some new concrete work would spruce it up. It is kinda seedy in that area,, lots of cigarette smoke lingering around and fresh chewing gum wads on the sidewalk. The crosswalk right there is a death trap being right at the top of a hill (yes, a small hill) you can't see people especially the little ones until you are right up to them. Perhaps a stop light people can operate just when they need to cross. they also desparately need a flashing light coming into town from the east side. People drive like maniacs into town ,not even slowing down for pedestrians they just run em over. People have died right there at Giorgios crossing the street! Need a flashing yellow light about at the old bowling alley telling people to slow the hell down. Oh and keep the street sweeper because they clean the Ojai Ave too. Without it the streets would be filled with trash , dirt and filth, talk about welcoming people to Ojai!

John Randolph said...

If anyone thinks that The Y is ugly now, they should have seen it before the arches were put in. Bring back the Center Restaraunt. I'm a local, the hippies can go home. YAWN!@!

Anonymous said...

Some of the hippies were born here, too, John, and some of them have probably have had family in America longer than you have.

Anonymous said...

SPeak of the bowling alley, wouldn't it be nice to see it reemerge back into its glorious self again? I used to like to bowl occasionally.

Anonymous said...

Its because the hopper water isnt spraying right a tymco has to have functioning hopper water thats what knocks the dust down in the hopper.It will make a dust cloud even with all the other water ports like gutter broom spraying if the hopper water is not on.Or not misting,some people think it works right even if its just pissing down the side of the wall.it has to mist.a tymco will pick up everything if they work right.