Trash Causes Problems: BID to Address

Marie Steckmest (left) was honored with a Citizen of the Year award for starting trash recycling in Pacific Palisades. Honoring her was the former Councilman Bill Rosendahl (center). No one is sure why, but recycling has stopped.

Cans and Bottles NOT Recycled in Business District

Member Lou Kamer dropped a bomb at last Thursday’s Community Council meeting.

“The items in the recycling bins around town are not being recycled, they are being thrown into the trash,” said Kamer, the Council’s At-large representative.

Village Green board member Marge Gold gave the same message.

Marie Steckmest received 2008 Citizen of the Year honors for overseeing the placement of recycling bins around the business district. No one seems to know when the recycling collection stopped.

There were also complaints that the trash overflow from the opening of Caruso’s Palisades Village on September 22, had spilled onto the Village Green and other areas of the Village below Sunset, and there were no plans in place to take care of it. (After the Fourth of July parade, the parade association, PAPA, pays Chrysalis to clean the parade route.)

Since 2002, Chrysalis has been handling trash collection in the business district (beyond what the City removes). At the time, trash cans overflowed along Sunset, Monument, Swarthmore, La Cruz, Antioch and Via de la Paz, and street gutters were filled with debris. Chamber of Commerce President Saad Mazboudi joined with Arnie Wishnick, the Chamber’s executive director, to bring about a yearly fundraising campaign to pay Chrysalis to collect the trash and clean the sidewalks/gutters.

Every year through 2017, the Chamber solicited donations through a community-wide mailer and managed to raise about $30,000 annually (helped by a yearly $7,500 contribution from realtor Michael Edlen) to fund one or two workers for two days a week.

With that money, trash was also collected from the Village Green, the library and from the Marquez business block.

When the Palisades BID came into existence two years ago, every business in the town’s main business district (from Carey Street to Via de la Paz) began paying a yearly assessed fee.

BID hired two additional Chrysalis workers, so that the total amount of cleaning within the BID boundaries district was three people three times a week.

In May, after a new Chamber board was elected and while Wishnick’s replacement was being sought, the Chamber notified BID that it would no longer help pay for an additional worker (“We’re out of the trash business”) and announced it would focus strictly on business.

At the October 3 BID meeting (8:30 a.m. in the Chamber of Commerce office, 15330 Antioch) Councilman Mike Bonin’s Field Deputy Lisa Cahill will be asked why BID is responsible for City trash pickup.

Additionally, unless funds can be raised, BID will have to provide notice to the Village Green, the Palisades Library and the Marquez business district that it can no longer afford to pay a Chrysalis worker for those locations. (These workers are transitioning back into the job market after being unemployed. Visit:

“It’s helping these people get back on their feet and get a job,” Wishnick said. “They’re good people that need a break.”

At the BID meeting, an ad hoc committee to review Chrysalis’s services will be formed, led by Caruso’s Senior VP Rick Lemmo.

Mary Fontamillas was emailed on October 1 and asked if Caruso used Chrysalis for the property north of Sunset. She responded on October 2. “Caruso already has established contracts with the same vendors across our portfolio.  This is to ensure operations are consistent with all our properties,” she wrote in an email. “However, Caruso is a member of BID and, as a member, financially supports its programs.

And perhaps a general overall recycling plan can be adopted on both sides of Sunset.

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One Response to Trash Causes Problems: BID to Address

  1. Patty Dobrowitsky says:

    Caruso complained that trash from South of Sunset, from stores like Starbucks, was being tossed in his containers North of Sunset, when the reality is, obviously, in plain sight, it is the foot traffic from Caruso that is creating trash that ends up in the trash bins South of Sunset, much, much more than before. Come on Caruso, Rick Lemmo, you’re in the Chamber of Commerce and BID, pay for the trash clean up.

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