BY BUDDY NEVINS
Commissioner Iris Siple’s measure was defeated on January 11 when no other commissioner would second her motion. Commissioner Angelo Castillo credited public outrage against the proposal
“Your voice mattered,” Castillo wrote. “You made those who work for you think twice. So this is your victory and I hope you don’t mind if I celebrate it with you.”
The original Browardbeat.com story that helped kill the measure is below:
Pembroke Pines must be that rare urban community with no problems.
Otherwise, why would the City Commission spend time considering an unenforceable law to ban people from picking through bulk trash in search of some useable goods?
These people are actually doing Broward County a favor. They are the ultimate recyclers, keeping bulk items out of a landfill.
To spend money even debating this idea later this month is ridiculous. A memo from City Attorney Sam Goren warns commissioners how tough this law would be to enforce.
“This would require the City to catch the scavenger in the act of committing the violation,” Goren writes.
That means diverting city staff to the job of hunting down bulk pickup treasure hunters.
Once a treasure hunter was found picking through curbside throwaways, city staff would have to confront them. Then perhaps send a followup notice of violation to the alleged violator by certified mail.
If fines are not paid, the city could file a lien against any property the alleged violator owned.
Good luck with jumping through any of these expensive legal hoops. People picking through bulk trash are not the type who are easy to find.
Goren is one of the most experienced, levelheaded government attorneys in the state of Florida. So when he penned the following statement, city commissioners should listen:
“This type of violating may create some challenges in the context of enforcement.”
There is another more ominous undertone to this proposal.
It is nothing more than a war against the poor.
Commissioner Iris Siple told the Sun-Sentinel that her constituents in far western Pines on the edge of Everglades don’t like “strangers…coming into their neighborhoods and unraveling their piles of trash, going from home to home. There’s a safety issue, but also they are leaving behind a mess.”
Emphasis on “strangers…coming into their neighborhoods.” Emphasis on strangers who are largely poor minorities.
Minorities appear to comprise the bulk of those picking through bulk pickup on the curb and recycling items they believe still have value.
Believe me. If these curbside treasure hunters looked like they came right from the county club, Siple and her constituents would not be disturbed.
This is a small bunch asking the city to keep “undesirables” out of their neighborhood.
Siple and her constituents need to be reminded that the streets are public. Public means people from within and without Pembroke Pines.
If they don’t like public streets, move to a gated community. Then they can have guards keep treasure hunting minorities out.
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