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Sunday, Sep 15 2013 07:00 PM

Ask TBC: Is it illegal to dumpster-dive?

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By The Bakersfield Californian

Q: Is there any law or city ordinance against dumpster diving?

I went out for my usual exercise walk at the Park at Riverwalk yesterday at 7:30 a.m. There was a family (mom, dad, school-age son) carrying gigantic black garbage bags from garbage can to garbage can and taking "stuff" and putting whatever in their big bags. They had a small mini-van loaded from top to bottom with full garbage bags.

Meanwhile, dad was over in the concrete enclosure where the garbage trucks pick up and sorting through all of that. We walk for about 45 minutes. He was there when we started out and there when we left.

I'm sorry for people who are that desperate but I am also proud that this city has a homeless shelter, free meals by various charities and churches that freely distribute food.

-- Caroline O. Reid

 

A: There is a prohibition against dumpster scavenging, but it's very difficult to enforce, said Sal Moretti, solid waste superintendent for Bakersfield Public Works. Police just can't make it a top priority with all of the other activity they must deal with, he said.

For those who encounter this problem at home, Moretti said he puts his blue recycling bin out at 6 a.m. on pickup day so people don't have a chance to rifle through it and doesn't fill it up with lucrative CRV items such as aluminum cans.

 

Q: What is being done to change the litter laws in Bakersfield to allow photos and videos as evidence? Law enforcement will never catch the people in the act; it's the only way we'll ever make progress in our fight against littering.

-- Donna Hegelein

 

A: Sal Moretti, the city solid waste superintendent, also fielded this one. He said the short answer is nothing is being done to change litter law because courts have said law enforcement must catch the litterer in the act.

So the city's priority instead, Moretti said, is beefing up law enforcement. He said the Bakersfield Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the Westside Parkway, is keeping its eye out for litterers on that new freeway and a contract is being worked out to give the Kern County Sheriff's Office $100,000 to enforce litter laws on local highways under Caltrans' jurisdiction, such as 58 and 99.

 

Q: For more than 12 years, there have been various signs on the vacant lot at the corner of Stockdale Highway and Buena Vista Road. The most prominent one has advertised Albertsons supermarket coming soon. After 12 years, I am wondering just how soon Albertsons is planning to build a store on this site.

-- Anne McReynolds

 

A: Three years ago, Scott Underhill, who represents Albertsons locally, told us the supermarket chain was in a holding pattern until residential development in the area picked up.

That's still true, Underhill said this past week, but this time development is picking up.

"The good news is home starts are back up and there's a lot going on in the Buena Vista corridor," he said. "Albertsons is well aware of that."

 

Ask TBC appears on Mondays. Submit questions to asktbc@bakersfield.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.

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