Pembroke Pines Ban On Trash Pickers Is War Against Recycling & The Poor







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 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.



Sam Goren


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.


35 Responses to “Pembroke Pines Ban On Trash Pickers Is War Against Recycling & The Poor”

  1. Kevin Tynan says:

    Actually they are doing a service as the bulk trash pick up is almost never timely.

  2. WELL SAID says:

    Sam Goren is the coolest cat in local government bar none…..he is the REAL brains behind the operation at PPINES city hall

  3. Jim Crow VIII says:

    Oh boy how will the jilted Iris handle her “New” boss?

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Is this what our society come to? I mean bashing the least among us trying to get by by working? What kind of heartlessness is this?

  5. John Fusaro says:

    I dislike the combing through trash. Example I left items to be picked up. One Item was a pair of bathroom doors. The following morning the glass was smashed on the ground and the aluminum frame was gone. Residents leave furniture out and the pickers will be cut open and the metal hardware and supports will be gone while the material or foam is left behind tumbling down the road.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Just the latest “homeless hate law” from Pembroke Pines…

  7. zigy says:

    buddy I’m distraught,, why did you publicize this, I thought I was the only one going for the treasures now every one will jump in, dammmmmm I did not need the competition Doreen in the sentinel has a column about all the great stuff u can get cheap now she will have to cancel it……

  8. zigy says:

    and a greast new year to all even sam fields, though not sure he celebrates it…..

  9. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Yea so when this first came up, just before the Holidays, it all seemed so odd to me. I couldn’t figure out why we would entertain much less need this measure. It just struck me as a solution in search of a problem. I’m even more convinced of all that now.

    So, I voted against drafting this ordinance yet there were four votes in favor of drafting.

    That tells me it has a good chance of becoming a city law two readings from now.

    For sure, the issue has created a stir in Pembroke Pines.

    Many residents have written me saying they oppose it. Most said they actually like the idea of a needy someone reusing their discarded bulk items. It doesn’t bother very many of them one bit.

    Some who aren’t needy said they liked treasure hunting too — which I found interesting.

    Complaints about mess appear to be few and most of these alleged incidents went unreported. I asked for reports on that and got none.

    Pembroke Pines Police says, to their knowledge, treasure hunting has never been associated with any criminal or safety concerns in our city. Ever.

    The City Attorney has cautioned us about legality and enforceability.

    City staff seem stumped about why this is needed.

    And most residents that wrote me said the measure does seem harsh, mean or otherwise uncool.

    You’re all free to review my dialogue with residents on my Facebook page — Commissioner Angelo Castillo. I keep it open for public viewing.

    Because this has a good chance of passing, if residents feel strongly about it, they should consider speaking up. I will be voting no but it takes three of five votes to make a law in my city.

    First reading will be at Pembroke Pines City Commission Chambers, on January 11th. Meeting begins at 6:30 pm. If that date or time changes, as it sometimes does, I will further inform.

    Be somebody. Speak up and make government work for you, never the other way around.

    Good post, by the way.


  10. Rightwinger says:

    Mr. Crow. Ms. Brenda Forman stated today
    She was appointed by God. The fun started today. Ms. Iris was terminated
    Last month.

  11. Todd Templin says:

    As a resident of Pines who lives in West Pines, I agree this new ordinance idiotic and mean spirited. If my trash is someone else’s treasure , then by all means they should have access to it as long as they follow all laws and remove it in a safe way.

  12. Talks like a politician says:

    Sounds like a bunch of hypocritical liberals live in Pembroke Pines. Leave the pickers alone. They do indeed recycle items that would otherwise be piled into landfills.

    Hint: If you do not want people going through your items in bulk pickup, rent a pickup and take it to the recycling center yourself. Treat yourself to a Whopper with the proceeds.

  13. Felipe says:

    I am curious as to these comments written. Being that these garbage collectors and their makeshift trucks that are not only a safety hazard but we are allowing people to go into our neighborhoods that we don’t know anything about. A garbage company on the other hand we know all the employees have background checks and having company backing them. You claim that they are helping to recycle. They are helping themselves to make money and taking it away from the garbage companies.
    With the recent increase in crime activity in Pembrooke pines it seems to me that this is a good way to also limit the people that come and snoop around our neighborhood.
    These garbage collectors if you want to call them that are also a safety issue. What happens if they damage something in our property. Who do we go after? I think that the proposal is not is ludicrous as this posting claims it is. Maybe the city is not prepared to police it properly but it is not a bad idea.

  14. Ryann Greenberg says:

    This new ordinance to ban scavenging will be up for discussion at next Wednesday’s commission meeting.

    I agree with Commissioner Angelo Castillo ‘s opinion and also see this as a complete waste of our taxpayer resources and unenforceable in a practical sense. We have much bigger issues to put our city resources and funds towards. Having city staff and police officers chasing down a scavenger isn’t close to being top on that list.

    Not to mention, I’m happy to see someone take my bulk items if they could find a use for them. This to me serves the dual purpose of helping someone in need and also reducing what goes in a landfill. I have never seen a correlation between this scavenging and an increase in crime.

    Pines residents are encouraged to email the commission their opinion regarding this ordinance. Please also attend to voice your concerns.,,,,

  15. Ryann Greenberg says:

    Buddy, To be clear…

    When I attended this meeting, I understood the vote to be to direct city staff to bring back possible solutions to curb scavenging, not to bring back an ordinance. This seems to me like a slight of hand by the maker of the motion to go ahead and introduce this ordinance instead of what was voted upon since they didn’t get a consensus of the Commission on their agenda item…

  16. Jg says:

    Please listen to your city attorney.

  17. Carlos marcos says:

    Its goin very tuff to enforce. Will we got breakings got police in scarded goin through. The trash tell that to a judge!

  18. jack Murphy says:

    You asked why they were wasteing time simple answer they are all democrats. Asked an answered….lets talk about Ft lauderdale Airport fiasco created by BSO and our learned Airport Administration….Now thats a good subject…

  19. Stormwatch says:

    When I was a kid, a guy would come around our neighborhood and go through the trash. He was a nice guy and his motto was “Your trash is my cash.” 40 years later, my wife was on Palm Beach Island one day and she saw a rought iron patio furniture set being thrown out. She somehow managed to fit it all in her car. I thought she was crazy. She then paid some kid to sand it and refinish it. Then she had her upholstery friend make some cushions. A lot of people who have sat on our patio have commented what a beautiful set it is and how they just don’t make patio furniture like that anymore.

  20. M. G. says:

    Get a life Ryann!!! No one cares about your opinion. I live in Pines and have had to (several times) clean up after these garbage pickers who almost always leave a mess. Broken glass, dismantled items, etc…. Not to mention, our children play out front sometimes and these strangers don’t belong there. Besides, aren’t the majority of the developments in Pines gated??? How are they getting in there? Seems to be an HOA issue to me. Ryann, maybe you could make yourself useful and look into that issue???


    Do you live on a public street, M. G.? If you do, any member of the public has the right to travel on it.

    If this was important to you, it should have been considered when you moved into your neighborhood. Perhaps you should have moved into a gated community.

  21. NW Broward MODC says:

    How quickly some of us forget.

    Remember back in 2006 when real estate values began to go South ? Remember when regardless of how hard we had worked and earned what we considered our due, the future was uncertain ?
    It made some redefine the definition of success.
    I remember our neighbors, a young couple with a modest first mortgage and a second baby on the way. They were hard working people; who had coincidentally and unexpectedly both lost their corporate jobs.
    In the middle of the night, they moved out of their house with a rented Uhaul unsure of where they were going.
    When someone leaves behind a few shards of glass, or bits of styrofoam at the end of a driveway, you really have no idea whether they are going to the pawn shop with your discarded item to obtain cash to buy crack; or, if that item may have kept their family financially afloat for one more day.
    Go get the dustpan. A little kindness goes a long way.

  22. Real Deal says:

    This should win Iris Siple a heartless law award. She was never the brightest penny in the jar and many consider her nasty. Just ask around the courthouse. But I didn’t think she was cold hearted. I hope it fails. I have family in Pembroke Pines and this will give the city a bad reputation. Don’t do mean things to poor people.

  23. Jaque Bauer says:

    I live in the area mentioned and have plucked many valuable items from myneighbors bulk waste piles. Grinders, televisions, computers, a new air $300 air compressor, new lumber, shop vacuums and more. This was not junk but working items. The average home cost in this area is in the $500’000 range and most homeowners lack the skills to fix or restore these items. To arrest someone for retreiving items from a trash pile is lunacy. As for the minority trash pickers, I recognize one or two to be scrap metal recyclers and find them to respect the homeowners lawn when picking thru and looking for metals. If Iris Sipple wants to enforce a law she should stop the speeders who consistently abuse the speed limits on our residential streets. Our calls to her about speeders go unanswered. My guess is that one or two New York transplants have been offended by a couple of black men in old pick up trucks picking out metals from their bulk trash which is collected every other week in my area. Twice a year one can reap huge loads of valuable items like tools, toys, bicycles, electronics and lawn equipment and during those times there can be a dozen different miniority pickers. I suspect it is the higher concentration of trash pickers during these periods that the irritable homeowners are complaining about

  24. Ryann Greenberg says:

    M.G., Get a life? Very mature…

    Glass items are supposed to be bagged. Not left out. Also, the usual time people go picking is at during evening hours when kids would most likely be inside, not out playing.

    If they are on HOA streets, they are on private property and can be cited for trespassing. This is not the case on public streets. Mystery solved.

    I ask all concerned to email your entire commission. They all have a vote on this ordinance.

  25. Chaz Stevens, Liberal Pinhead Elitist says:

    @20 said … these strangers don’t belong there

    Come on baby! Trump is going to Make America Great Again, so feel free to say what you feel.

    Don’t hold back — hell, after Trump mocked a disabled reporter, the bar’s been lowered to a line in the sand — feel free to take a whiz on it!

    therefore, try one of these <em<Make America 1955 Again on for size:

    1. These coloreds don’t belong here!
    2. What’s that black feller doing out there in my trash?
    3. Honey, grab the shotgun, we got ourselves some uppity ***ers!

    Even being funny, my personal level of deplorable prevents me from writing a particular N-word, but don’t let that stop you, and I bet it hasn’t.

    All hail the Orange Hindenburg!

  26. city activist robert walsh says:

    I agree w/ Pembroke Pines . These trash pickers leave a mess etc. I wouldn’t mind if they took what they wanted. Old couch, chair ,fine. However they leave a mess in front of your yard. They have no right to pick through your trash etc. and take what they want and in process leave a mess. Then u get home from work and have to get the broom out. All so they can have old couch. That also goes to some of these private investigators as well. Going through your trash ,what to find some receipt from some titty bar(as if). clean your mess u make. All for this.. I know one mans trash is another mans fortune. I’ll stick to cutting hair(makes good fertilizer-take all u want trash pickers and watch the beautiful tomatoes u will grow….)

  27. Agreed says:

    Chaz Stevens hit on the real reason for the ban. The good white homeowners of Pembroke Pines don’t want those blacks poking through their garbage.
    Let us call this proposal by Iris Siple what it is: Pure hate.

  28. Ryann Greenberg says:

    Buddy, This item died due to lack of getting a second to bring it forward for discussion… I guess residents made enough noise….

  29. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy and Friends,

    At last night’s City Commission meeting in Pembroke Pines, my colleague Commissioner Iris Siple moved her item to ban bulk trash treasure hunting in our city.

    Her motion did not receive a second.

    As a result, her item died without discussion and will not be acted upon and I hope the item never comes back. I never supported it to begin with.

    Never doubt the power of your voice as citizens. It makes the elected officials who work for you think twice, as they should, out of respect. It doesn’t work all the time and, in fairness, sometimes hard choices that aren’t popular must be made for the public good.

    But thinking twice because citizens spoke up happens often enough to keep the system honest. To keep it working for you. And not the other way around. You spoke up and made government pay attention.



  30. Chip Muller says:

    15 feet in from road is CITY property and PUBLIC DOMAIN (pull out the survey you paid for when you bought your house), trash is legally considered ABANDONED PROPERTY and treated like maritime salvage (finders keepers). The ordinance would have been quite unconstitutional and stupid. It would prohibit citizens from picking something up from public property (even such as a penny on the sidewalk) and be completely unenforceable.
    Interestingly, Pembroke Pines Police DOES NOT respond to property crimes or burglar alarms, they let you file a police report online to collect from your homeowner’s insurance. Seriously, have a camera/phone app that alerts you to a burglary and shows you the live act in progress? Call 911 and they WON’T COME!!! Pick trash, they’re on the way. Maybe they’ll shoot them if they’re not white?

  31. s only says:

    And a big THANKS to Buddy Nevins for getting this ridiculously snobby item out into public. Pembroke Pines commissioners at least had the good sense not to second it. But, PEOPLE, you have to stay informed and act on it…otherwise lots of stuff will just happen and then it will be too late. Write to your elected officials…

  32. Broward Voter says:

    How could Iris Siple be so mean, tone deaf and uncaring? It really makes you think what’s underneath. Friends at the courthouse have told me for years she’s nasty and vindictive. But this takes the cake. Even the pastor at my church mentioned it. I’m glad they saw the light.

  33. Sons of Civility says:

    I can’t wait to put the word out to all my dade friends. There’s gold in the streets of pines. Good luck to the pines cops when all the morons of the city crap their pants when Sanford and son are on their front lawn going through the trash. You’re going to tie up resources needed to control the traffic because there are too many people in this city already. If you have trash you wanna donate call goodwill. They will come pick it up right away. Angelo it doesn’t seem like you are trying to protect the brainless who voted for you. I’m sure you’re reading this at your BSO desk making your six figure salary.


    Sandford and Son!!!. Good reference.

  34. Chaz Stevens, White Guy says:

    @30 Thanks for the intel about the salvage law.

  35. Broward Voter says:

    @33 — Your honest assessment of this failed idea reveals the very heart of the issue for all to see.