You wanna know what I think? I think the street sweeping in the city of Long Beach is a scam. For those of you who live in this city like I do, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I’m sure it disgusts you equally, if not more so, than it does me.
Here’s the real deal. The city of Long Beach wants to sweep its dirty gutters and streets – a lot. So it has placed signs all around the city, even in the suburban areas, telling motorists not to park their car on a street on a certain day of the week during a specific time span.
If you are parked while the street sweeping machine goes by, you receive a fat $39 ticket.
In my case, the two streets next to my apartment complex in East Long Beach do not allow me to park my car on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. Fortunately, they only do one of the two streets a day, so on a Thursday sweeping day I can go on the Friday sweeping side and vise-versa.
But that is no real excuse, and no real relief, either. It’s still a weekly grand total of eight hours of “Don’t park here, dear citizen. We want to brush the trash around and give out parking tickets.”
See, this is what they really do. Most of the time, the streets aren’t even dirty to begin with, and all that street sweeping machine does is brush a few leaves, beer cans and Slurpee cups around in circles with a “friendly” LBPD patrol car following closely behind writing tickets.
OK, maybe some of the streets get pretty dirty here every week, but I know the streets around my apartment aren’t that way. I can’t vouch for the streets in downtown Long Beach where the higher density of people can likely cause more pileups of trash.
Jim Kuhl, bureau manager for sweeping in Long Beach, told WorldSweeper.com “In essence, you can say [street sweeping] has been profitable for the City, in that it has saved taxpayers’ money.”
Kuhl said the city’s trash collection procedures are cheaper than before, so in this way Long Beach is saving money. He conveniently disregards the fact, however, that the profits made from those nasty parking tickets by any means aren’t saving most people here any money.
In other words, the city of Long Beach makes more money more often off its street sweeping, which is what really makes it truly “innovative” in comparison to other large Southern California cities like Los Angeles and San Diego.
According to the city of Los Angeles Street Maintenance Division, it only does “Motor sweeping of streets in commercial, industrial, and residential areas on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.” San Diego, on the other hand, does its different districts only twice a month.
Even considering those facts, I think it’s probable to say those cities don’t have the “give ’em a parking ticket” fever Long Beach does.
But we all know it’s never been about cleaning the streets, or even using the combined trash for other uses like the city may claim. It’s really about making money off the unfortunate souls who have parked their cars at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Long Beach? More like Wrong Beach, for your car, that is.
Bradley Zint is a senior journalism and political science major and the managing editor of the Summer Forty-Niner.