Occupy L.A.: 30 tons of debris left behind at City Hall tent city
Sanitation officials said Wednesday that they expect to haul away 30 tons of debris from the Occupy L.A. encampment –- everything from clothing to heaps of garbage to oddball curiosities left behind by the protesters who lived at the City Hall tent city for two months.
Andrea Alarcon, president of the city Public Works board, said workers already have removed 25 tons of belongings from the City Hall park, all of it heading straight to a landfill.
Sanitation crews also have vacuumed up about 3,000 gallons of water that had washed into a catch basin in recent days and are testing it for hazardous materials, she said.
The sheer volume of personal belongings left behind after the early morning Los Angeles Police Department raid has astonished city workers: books and CDs, luggage and boom boxes, mattresses and dining chairs, cellphones, electric razors, a small red guitar with its neck snapped –- all surrounded by dozens of collapsed and empty tents.
As workers broke down tents and placed them in trash cans, Ramir Delgado, 25, snapped photos out of curiosity.
"It's a shame how I see all trash around here," he said. He pointed to his head. "People don't understand that the freedom starts here in your mind."
Delgado said he was disappointed in Occupy L.A.
"You know why this is filthy and not clean is there isn't leadership," he said.
A few feet away, crews in the hazmat suits raked trash of discarded protest signs, nail polish and jars of peanut butter.
"This looks like pure anarchy," Delgado said, adding, “in a Hollywood way.”
Donna Spurgeon, who snapped pictures on her phone, said she was surprised by the mural in the center of the south lawn.
“How did that get built” she asked of the structure that city officials built around an historic fountain, a structure protesters turned into an art piece.
“If you’re here to protest, don’t deface public property,” Spurgeon said.
She said the aftermath looked like a “little war zone, a little ghetto.”
Norman Schwartz, 76, a retired attorney from Calabasas, felt differently. He stopped by Wednesday afternoon to snap photos and suggested that the Occupy L.A. scene was a great lesson in democracy. He said he was sad to see the park so empty.
“There was no longer this wonderful thing going on,” he said. “It was just an empty, dirty park.”
-- David Zahniser and Nicole Santa Cruz
Photo: City workers expect to haul away 30 tons of personal belongings and debris left behind at the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall.
Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times