A friend of mine who lives in Lincoln Heights is, was, and will always be a progressive minded guy who grew up in Santa Monica, the son of a Muslim from India and an Irish-American mom.

He used to be the proprietor of a bike shop, and he also ran for public office until he was hounded out by the mobs on Twitter for a ten-year-old remark found on a virtual message board. He is married with a young daughter and supports himself in construction. His hobbies are his passions: the environment, biking, clean air, living healthy and simply by thinking of ways to get around this city by non-car means.

These days he is as appalled at Los Angeles, as I am .

He sent me this photo of a “solar powered” trash can which is emblazoned with the name of its donor, a politician. Apparently the receptacle is wifi connected and cost (my friend claims) $30,000.

He wrote that it is maintained via one-time special funds and some money from a Lincoln Heights Business Improvement District district maintenance money. The BID is a special property tax authority that extracts money from property owners for security, sanitation, district marketing, events, etc. 

The can cannot be dumped by the arm of a trash truck. It requires a special technician to come out and empty it because it is really an electronic device. It is so special that the top of it is covered in solar panels which some thoughtful dumpers covered with their own discarded electric waste products.

And yesterday, speaking of waste, my friend saw a man urinate all over the can in broad daylight.

There was a time, long ago, when Los Angeles fined property owners who didn’t sweep their curbs or sidewalks. They did not allow trash camping on the street, or every bus bench to become a halfway house. They enforced the law, not by chip and app, but by a cop on the beat. It seemed to have worked, because you cannot see anything but clean Angeleno streets on any old episode of Dragnet or Mannix.

But we live in advanced times, so advanced that people live in garbage on the sidewalk, but we have a robotic trash can emitting signals when it overflows.

Writer/photographer

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