At long last it seems that the squatters’ village errected outside of City Hall in Los Angeles has been cleared of occupiers. The number of delays and problems arising from that particular encampment were, if we are to be honest, every bit as much the fault of the mayor and his staff as those who remained there in defiance of lawful orders to pack up and leave. But it’s the “packing up” portion of the operation which is taking center stage as the week wears on. The “peaceful protesters” may have gone, but they left the cleanup operation in the hands of the city – and on the dime of the taxpayer. So how much is this going to cost?
Sanitation workers wearing hazmat suits and masks moved into City Hall park Wednesday to clean up tons of trash, debris and human waste after police evicted the 2-month-old Occupy LA tent camp and arrested almost 300 people in a mostly non-violent pre-dawn raid.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the cleanup and repair to the damaged lawn and park facilities would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more than $1 million.
Well, that’s certainly a hefty bill. In addition to just removing all of the garbage and built up debris, they’re going to have to replace the lawn. The total cost will… wait a minute. Did you say hazmat suits?
Villaraigosa said that sanitation workers had been working throughout the night in the park, which was littered by trash and flattened tents and smelled of urine. According to The Associated Press, the park’s lawns were covered with two months’ worth of clothing, tents, bedding, shoes, trash and other debris…
By dawn, trash, flattened tents, strewn clothing, bedding and the stench of urine were the legacy of the Occupy LA.
“It’s so contaminated that it doesn’t even make sense to sort it out,” said Jose Garcia, sanitation superintendent of the city north central district.
An estimated 25 tons of trash and debris were to be carted away by mid-afternoon. Workers were finding bottles of urine throughout the camp.
“That’s probably the biggest hazard there,” Garcia said.
That’s simply lovely. One thought does jump to mind, though. They arrested somewhere in the range of three hundred people. When you go to court on relatively minor charges like this, isn’t it often a common practice to sentence people to community service and a small fine rather than jail time? Perhaps there’s an opportunity for some community service here, picking up all of the bottles of pee and other human waste, bagging them up and hauling them away.
It’s an ill wind that blows no good, as they say. Of course, you’ll probably want to stay up wind of this place for a while.