The Festival of Garbage


For anyone who lives in Van Nuys, and has not lately visited Raymer St. between Kester and Van Nuys Bl., the Festival of Garbage is now in full display.

Dumped along the median from the bridge to the boulevard are tons of trash. It is perhaps the filthiest, most appalling and most wretched scene of degradation in the entire city of Los Angeles.

Calcutta looks like Beverly Hills compared to this.

Across from the sanitation crisis is a large recycling center, an irony that one might analogize to having an indifferent fire department next door to a burning building. If you are in the business of collecting refuse, how can you refuse to clean up the area around your business?

Adding to the criminality of the area, dozens of unhitched trucking trailers are parked along the road, taking up space, and attached to no moving vehicles.

The bridge over the railroad tracks has been, naturally, taken over by the homeless who live under, in and on top of the structure. They cross on foot over the tracks where Metrolink speeds by a few times an hour.

Does Los Angeles have any measure of pride? How does the city allow this tsunami of trash?

Who is responsible for this mess?

I vote for Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Love in an Inhospitable Place.


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The railroad tracks have been here a long time, at least since 1937, when they came to California from Tennessee.

They were hammered down through orange groves and alongside citrus packing facilities.

They are still here, near Raymer and Sepulveda, in an inhospitable place, now settled with high security storage containers, barbed wire fences, metal recyclers, auto repair, and a crooked, concrete-walled river surrounded and imprisoned by tall, spiked iron.

All Aboard Mini Storage

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W. of Raymer St. BridgeVan Nuys, CA.

At sunset, when the heat has broke, on a summer evening, you may come up here and trespass, viewing Van Nuys from its backside, learning its ways by seeing it in its golden gruesomeness. If any planner had sought intentionally to build monstrosities that defy humane and civil urbanity, he could do no better than emulate this dystopia.

Raymer Street Bridge is a pedestrian bridge, perhaps the world’s ugliest, deformed and graceless, a steel structure reeking of urine and feces, trashed with discarded beer bottles and marked with violent paint in glowing hues. From atop the bridge at late day, the panorama of hazy mountains and the valley are at last tamed into something soft, artistic and implausibly romantic.

Young friends, or lovers, skateboarders and strollers, they come here to talk and to kiss, to ride their boards on the glass-sharded concrete; to ponder and dream in a landscape where nothing is ennobling or spiritual. They are defiant in their gentleness, renewing love and humanness, while all around them, an indifferent, mean and feared section of Los Angeles tells them, in so many words, welcome to hell.

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Raymer St. Bridge

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