Pali Board Votes to Move Trash Next to Tennis

The Board voted to move trash containers from the maintenance yard to the ground adjacent to the tennis courts located off Frontera Street.

Park Board Approves Moving Trash Cans Next to Tennis Courts

Large City trash containers formerly housed in the Palisades Recreation Center maintenance yard will be moved next to tennis courts 5 and 6, off the parking lot off Frontera Road.

At the quarterly meeting of the Rec Center’s Park Advisory Board (PAB) on October 17, board members approved the move after a half-dozen Huntington Palisades neighbors complained about the rats in the maintenance yard, and one man complained that a garbage truck comes at 5:15 a.m.

PAB Vice President Robert Harter said that Jimmy Dunne (who is spearheading the Veterans’ Garden/bocce courts project at the park) initially suggested moving the trash cans, which would provide more “green” space adjacent to the bocce courts.

The maintenance yard is located north of the tennis courts and just south of the proposed new picnic area. The yard has an incinerator, a small brick building, six large garbage containers and several smaller trash cans. There is also room for Rec Center personnel to park in the area.

Seven residents, whose homes along Alma Real back up to the Rec Center, complained that rats have gone unchecked in the maintenance area and have invaded their yards and homes. The resident who complained about the early-arriving garbage truck said the once-a-week truck wakes his kids.

“Jimmy [Dunne] talked about re-managing the maintenance yard,” Harter said. This would include moving the garbage bins out of the maintenance yard.

Recreation Center Director Erich Haas said they had investigated moving the trash bins to Temescal Canyon Park (along Temescal Canyon Road), but access for a garbage truck would be difficult there. They looked at Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, but Haas said that wouldn’t work because they don’t have a maintenance yard.

Then someone noticed the 6-ft. space of dirt next to the tennis court fence and determined that would be the best location. “This is the only place it can be,” Harter said.

He was asked if the people who live next to the park on Alma Real at Frontera had been included in the conversation. The answer was “No.”

One man in the audience shouted out that those people would be further away from the cans than his family is now, and his family had priority.

Harter was asked if any of the tennis people had been asked. The answer was “No,” but Haas said, “We asked Mike Tomas and Mike said there was no place to put them.”

Tomas, who was at the PAB meeting, was not happy about the proposed move and said, “I told Erich that there was an almost 100 percent chance that the tennis players would complain.”

One of the board members wondered if moving the trash cans to the tennis court area would take away parking spaces, but was assured that the garbage truck comes early, before players arrive.

The one factor PAB didn’t examine was the fact that Pali Rec Center and Temescal Park workers place trash in the large containers, generally mid-morning.


This reporter asked the board about the possible smell of garbage for tennis players.

At that point a man in the audience, who stated that he and his neighbors live in multi-million-dollar homes, and that people, like this reporter, who have no stake in the game, should not have a voice.

One PAB board member told him he was being rude.

Haas suggested that maybe a concrete retaining wall/structure to house the trash bins would work to keep any odor from the players.

The neighbor, who had shouted at this reporter, then offered to pay for the concrete structure that would be located next to the tennis courts.

Somebody stated that by moving the garbage to a concrete enclosure, this would keep the rat population down.


Once the garbage containers are taken out of the maintenance yard and placed off frontera, the yard will be reconfigured.

Before calling for a vote, Harter said: “Let’s assume that people on the tennis courts won’t want this. And second, let’s assume the houses nearest [on Frontera] won’t want it. Considering this, that it’s not perfect, let’s vote to accept it.”

And they did, with nine people voting yes, and one person abstaining.

Late this summer, when Harter first proposed moving the garbage cans to Temescal, Ramon Barajas, assistant general manager for planning, maintenance and construction for L.A. Recreation and Parks, was contacted to see which other parks might be donating to the trash.

Circling the News was told that trash was also picked up from Temescal trash cans and emptied into the large containers at Palisades Rec Center. Rustic has its own trash collection, according to Barajas.

We were told to look at the maintenance yard and did so around noon on September 7. There were six large garbage containers, none of which were closed, even though they had lids. About half were partially filled with trash. When this reporter stepped back to take a photo, a squirrel went into one of the bins and crows were diving into another.

There were also seven round smaller trash cans. Nothing was in any of them and none had lids. There were about 15 Ralph shopping carts in the maintenance yard.

Stopping by the Rec Center office, this reporter was told that trash is collected every day from around the Rec Center and brought to the maintenance yard bins. The office staff thought trash was picked up from the yard two or three times a week. When asked why the lids were not put on the trash bins, a person in the office said, “That’s a qood question.”

At the October 17 PAB meeting, board member Janet Anderson zeroed in on the one thing the board was not focusing on: “Rats are the real issue.”

During the conversation about moving the garbage bins, no one was addressing the rat problem. Haas had said that they are rife in the park incinerator, which is no longer used.

Haas was asked if he would follow up with Rec and Parks to get an exterminator to the maintenance yard. He said he would.

If a person would like to voice an opinion to the Park about the proposal to move the garbage bins next to the tennis courts, email:



The trash containers in the park maintenance yard are not closed and provide easy access to rats, squirrels and crows.

Rats Enjoy the Palisades Lifestyle

There are complaints about rats in the Palisades Recreation Center maintenance yard. No surprise. Rats are a major problem in Pacific Palisades, but one that people don’t like to talk about.

The infamous “rat” house on Fiske Street, in which two elderly sisters fed dog food to hundreds of rats, causing a public nuisance, made city-wide news in 2008 (visit: and possibly added as many as 500,000 rats to the town.

When Palisades High remodeled Mercer Hall and Gilbert Hall, the number of rats in the building, the feces, urine and dead rats, was covered up by school authorities, according to an anonymous source.

When the Swathmore/Sunset buildings were knocked down to make way for Caruso’s Palisades Village, rats became more abundant in the Alphabet Streets.

As older houses are continually knocked down for new construction, rats that are living in attics, walls, and along pipes seek new living quarters.

People near Temescal Canyon have been dealing with rats for some time. One can see rat traps in the alley by the Methodist Church.

There are two kinds of rats in Pacific Palisades, according to Choice Pest Control exterminator Art Megdaleno.

The roof rat (or black rat) is the carrier of the plague; it’s also the rat that attacks citrus trees, making a dime-sized hole in an orange and then hollowing it, leaving only the rind hanging on the tree.

The larger rats, brown or Norway rats, are typically twice as large as the black rat and are 4 to 10 inches in length. Rats thrive in thick vegetation and easy access to water, as well as food left out for squirrels and birds. And as everyone knows, rats breed voraciously.

The Palisades Recreation Center needs to have an exterminator examine its buildings and the maintenance yard, set traps—and keep its garbage in sealed containers.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Pali Board Votes to Move Trash Next to Tennis

  1. Linda Friar says:

    This is a sorry story for community tennis players. I note that the only courts open to the community are Courts 5,6,7, and 8, which is where the bins are going to be placed. The upper courts, which won’t be impacted by the bins, belong to the concession which is run by Mike. I imagine he might have been stronger in his objections had the bins been placed next to the courts he uses for private lessons.

    The courts are poorly maintained as it is. About six weeks ago we repaired one of the nets with an extra dog leash I had in my car. It is still there and holding the net together. Now we will be in midst of garbage bins that currently are left with the lids open and attractive to rats.

    My observation is the Park is not well maintained. I complained about the frequent use of gas blowers next to the courts awhile ago. I learned that the City contracts out and no one seemed to be supervising what the workers were doing. Workers were gas blowing and throwing up clouds of dust and fumes in areas that really didn’t need cleaning. They also use weed wackers in areas that are no more than dirt. In short, it’s hard to be optimistic that there will be reasonable care taken of the garbage bins next to the courts.

    I understand why a neighbor doesn’t want a rat resort next to his property (although I don’t know why the value of his house is pertinent.) At the same time, why should tennis players get the problem?

    I think this plan should be put on hold until there is a hearing that includes the community players who will be impacted.

  2. Mark Victor says:

    There is no doubt that the tennis community and the neighbors at the other
    End of Alma Real should have voice in this before any action is
    Taken to discuss the impact. Otherwise this has been an unfair process and will divide the community.

  3. Louvenia Jenkins says:

    This problem ,and it’s purported solution, has just come to my attention. While you are determining where to put the trash cans, please consider what needs to be a major effort to rid that area and any other area under seige in the Palisades as described in the article. Why would anyone think the problem is solved when you will have moved it from one place to another to satisfy one population. Since the real problem is rats, what makes anyone thinks that the problem is solved. I believe they are more intelligent than that and know how to travel. Please focus on not only finding a suitable place to relocate trash bins, but focus on teaching personnel how to manage, secure, and dutifully have oversight of the site. Individual home owners have the responsibility of protecting their homes by following acceptable procedures, why not the city entities for which we pay our taxes. Where do our trash pick up people take our trash? Do they throw it in our neighbors back yards? I don’t think so! What makes anyone think, in this issue that it’s alright to move the bins from their backyard to the back of the tennis courts? Make the Palisades community aware of the problem while discussing it and trying to find the solution by not alienating one section while protecting another. That is not the solution but an acceleration of the problem.

  4. Hayden Ellison says:

    This is a terrible place to move the trash.
    1. It’s just passing the buck. the houses at the other end of Alma Real will now have to deal with the rats, noise from garbage trucks, and everything else that the residents currently living near the trash cans complained about.
    2. This location is right next to the canyon opening where the coyotes come from. The trash will undoubtedly attract lots of small animals and raccoons, which will in turn attract coyotes. We already see coyotes all the time right at the corner of Frontera and Alma Real, and many people have had pets killed by coyotes recently.
    3. Large trash receptacles such as these should not be placed immediately against the only public tennis courts open to the community. Kids and community members shouldn’t have to play next to a trash dump.
    4. There is a huge rat problem everywhere in the Palisadss. Everyone I know in the Huntington has rat traps all over their property.
    5. The houses this will affect the most, already have to deal with the noise and bright lights of the tennis courts. The houses near Alma Real and Frontera are closer to the tennis courts than any other houses along Alma Real. You can buzzing from the tennis courts lights all morning, that’s how close they are to the courts.
    6. The new proposed place for the trash cans is right in front of several parking spaces. There is already very limited parking in this small lot. How is this going to impact the few parking spaces on that side of the park? Overflow parking already congests that side of Alma Real. Tons of tennis and baseball players already park on Alma Real and Frontera, and I’m expecting more will do so if you block or limit some of the few spaces in that tiny parking lot.
    6. If you want to move the trash, then solve the real problem and don’t move it directly behind or next to anyone’s house. Otherwise you solve nothing.

  5. Hayden Ellison says:

    I would also like to know if anyone had even gone down to measure the space they want to move these giant trash cans? Looks like they propose to move at least 6 dumpsters and I assume they need to leave space between each one so the garbage trucks can pick them up. How are they going to fit all of these plus a cement enclosure without intruding on the parking lot or the pedestrian walkway that lays between the tennis courts and the houses on Alma Real?

    All of this should be measured before anyone decides this could even be a possible location to put dumpsters.

  6. Sylvia Mahoney says:

    What a horrible idea. The kids need a safe and clean area to practice. Trash cans next to courts will not only bring bad smells and flies, but a sense of playing at a dump. Good grief, find another location.

    Sylvia Mahoney (mom of Pali Tennis player)

  7. matthew garff says:

    What can we do? from the article, it sounds like one person who was a squeaky wheel was accommodated. I wonder if we need to join forces and push back.

  8. Jessica Masterson says:

    Please attend the

    Palisades Park Advisory Board Meeting
    Tuesday, Oct 30, 7:00pm
    Small Gym at the Park

    The relocation of the dumpsters is on the agenda.
    Thank you!

  9. Ward Lewis says:

    This action doesn’t even address the rat problem! The real habitat for all the rats is the ivy covered hillside to the south of the maintenance yard that runs along the tennis courts bordering the park and the homes on Alma Real. If you really want to control the rat population in that area, get rid of all that ivy. There are no more than three homes that can even claim they share a property line with with the maintenance yard and only one (#815) that shares its entire property line with the yard, the others would be adjacent. #815 changed ownership in 2014 and is currently near the end of a total rebuild. To the north, #821 is pending a sale right now. #809 last sold 20 years ago. I don’t know when the maintenance yard was first established, but at least two of these owners purchased their homes knowing about the yard.
    The PAB would truly fail the community if they were to move the garbage bins to the parking area and by doing so show that they gave in to a few individuals that are more concerned with their own property values at the expense of others. Finding a new home for the maintenance yard is not a bad idea, moving it to the parking lot is a terrible idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *