Boystown Business Owners, Unhappy with City Program, Pay to Clean Their Own Sidewalks

The privately cleaned part of the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard gleams white at the top of this photo.

Several business owners in the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, unhappy with the implementation and execution of West Hollywood’s new sidewalk cleaning program, have engaged a contractor to clean the sidewalks in front of their businesses.

That contractor in recent days has cleaned the sidewalk in front of Z Pizza, Fiesta Cantina, Chi Chi LaRue’s and Micky’s. Larry Block, whose The Block Party store also is on that block, has engaged the contractor to clean the sidewalk in front of his store on Monday.

Block, in an email to City Manager Paul Arevalo and Helen Collins, manager of the city’s Facilities and Field Services Division, complained about what he described as the city’s slowness in implementing a sidewalk cleaning program that was supposed to have gone into effect on Aug. 1. The West Hollywood City Council raised parking meter rates 33%, to $2 an hour, to pay for the program which includes weekly power washing of sidewalks in some commercial areas and monthly power washing in others.

In his email, Block, who sits on the city’s Public Facilities Commission and has raised the issue there, noted that it was going to cost $1,000 to power wash the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard.

Privately cleaned area of the sidewalk (on the left) of the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard.

“Our whole block cost about $1000 – the city is wasting money and time and not getting the job done,” Block wrote. “… Boystown businesses begging and pleading, and I tried my best to move the ball, but they took matters into their own hands. I think we should all be able to turn our receipts into the city for reimbursement. What we are doing is something that has been neglected far too long. I tried my best to reach out as a commissioner and with knowledge of city hall but my best efforts were not good enough.”

Block included a photo of in his email that shows a part of the sidewalk cleaned by the private contractor yesterday next to the sidewalk in front of his store. “Maybe you can understand our sense of disgust when you see the photo below – one is a clean sidewalk and one is the city-maintained sidewalk,” he wrote.

Helen Collins, in an interview with WEHOville, said the city has already implemented the sidewalk cleaning program and has been cleaning the 8800 Santa Monica Boulevard block on Monday nights. However Collins acknowledged that the city’s efforts aren’t meeting the expectations of some local businesses. She said that she and the sidewalk cleaner working for the city would meet with owners of businesses on that block to discuss ways they could improve the work.

Collins also noted the complexity of the sidewalk-cleaning program, given that it covers many blocks and that the city had to determine which blocks needed cleaning how often. The city has estimated the program will cost $675,000 a year.

The city did a test of sidewalk power washing this spring, “which included the removal of gum, grime, and deep stains with the use of specialized equipment and cleaning products,” says a memo to the City Council about the test. “Specialized machinery was utilized to deliver extremely high pressure water in a cyclone-like fashion. This new technology allows for the capture, filtering and reuse of the water to minimize waste and provide for a more environmentally friendly process than traditional power washing. Following the thorough cleaning process, a deep penetrating concrete sealer was applied to provide a clean and uniform sidewalk surface.

“The sealed concrete now aids with future cleaning efforts by reducing the need for specialized cleaners and lessens the amount of water needed to achieve acceptable results. Positive results were immediately noticed and have proven to be sustainable throughout the pilot test program.”

Map showing sidewalk cleaning areas in West Hollywood (Courtesy of City of West Hollywood)
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wehoray
wehoray
4 years ago

It is disgusting and should be cleaned. It always stinks – really bad! The city has plenty of money, no reason why weho should stink.

Rick Watts
Rick Watts
4 years ago

This is what you get when the new business are dozens of bars, pot shops, & “tobacco shops” selling everything from bongs to meth pipes. (If you think it’s bad now, imagine if the city decides to let the bars stay open until 4am). Real Estate developers wanted a west-coast hybrid of Bourbon Street with Amsterdam; and this is the result: too many drunks & active addicts, too much noise, too many panhandlers/homeless; along with the attendant noise, trash, traffic, skyrocketing rents—and criminal elements victimizing the residents. Around 8pm Saturday as I was walking up Westbourne to head to the… Read more »

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Rick Watts

And of those 80%, how many people are “transient,” meaning people who cannot afford to buy here, or are on some career path that only settles them down here, while they move on to the next thing? Not to mention young straight (sometimes gay) single people, who eventually couple, and move to the suburbs and have children? I’m not saying it is all of the 80%, but I’m curious to know, because if you aren’t long-term invested in your community, you might not be invested in that community’s future, through its politics. I think this is one of the biggest… Read more »

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
4 years ago

The sidewalk at CVS (SM Blvd. and La Cienega) is always filthy. A lot of homeless people hang out there, so that’s the source of a lot of the mess, but I’ve never seen any attempt to clean it.

And speaking of CVS, it IS like a kennel in there! I can’t imagine that so many people really need service dogs. If there was only one thing I’d like to see change in WeHo it would be to find some way to get dogs out of businesses.

Cy Husain
4 years ago
Reply to  blueeyedboy

A simple solution to the problem! We have a City Council that tells the problematic Drug Store that they get the situation with the obnoxious people under control and, if they are unable to do so we just lift their liquor license while making it exceptionally difficult to get it back. A friend of mine who was once a refugee works at the California Alcohol Beverage Control Special Operations Unit (SOU) routinely lifts the liquor licenses of those in violation and, has even sent a number of rich people to prison! You see how getting the right person for the… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
4 years ago

Methinks the student council and city bureaucracy need to go back to the basics and understand the role of municipal government. It’s potholes, first! The city likes to tout its massive social services programs, which are fabulous, but there are basic quality of life issues that are clearly being ignored, or being addressed incompetently. Cleaning the sidewalks should not be a difficult undertaking. We sent a handful of people to Denver to “study” how to implement pot, maybe a carful can drive to a few neighboring cities to see how cleanliness is done? It’s not just the sidewalks, it’s trash… Read more »

GET ON WITH IT
GET ON WITH IT
4 years ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Let’s call the LA County Health Department. They respond to health and safety issues within WeHo buildings why not the Petri dish we all travel trough on a daily basis. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness……… or so it was.

J. Johnson on La Jolla
J. Johnson on La Jolla
4 years ago

Sidwalks are DISGUSTING all over West Hollywood. Really disgusting! I live right off of Santa Monica Blvd and La Jolla and I don’t EVER remember them being cleaned. What happened to the money from raising the meters? I haven’t seen one cleaned sidewalk! I’ve lived here for 20 years. I can’t even describe how the city has changed…and not for the better. The City Council should be ashamed of themselves. They have sold out to developers and created an overpriced, overdeveloped mess! Traffic is a nightmare at all hours. Most small businesses have long abandoned the high rents. We’re stuck… Read more »

GET ON WITH IT
GET ON WITH IT
4 years ago

THERE IS NO ENFORCEMENT OF FEEL GOOD LAWS.

THE CITY STAFF LIVE IN SILOS.

THE FOCUS IS TOURISM AND NOT RESIDENTS

THERE IS A DISCONNECT BETWEEN CITY COUNCIL AND STAFF ON ONE HAND AND CITY COUNCIL AND THE RESIDENTS ON THE OTHER.

THE RESULT IS MORE STUDIES, MORE MONEY, MORE FOOT DRAGGING WHILE THE FOOT DRAGGERS AND CONSULTANTS LAUGH ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK AND DON’T NEED TO USE OUR FILTHY SIDEWALKS, TRIP OVER OR BE THREATENED BY THE UNFORTUNATE HOMELESS.

THIS NEEDS IMMEDIATE ACTION!

Greg
Greg
4 years ago

The city needs to do a better job, but the responsibility needs to be shared with business owners. If we lived in a different climate, these businesses would be responsible for keeping the sidewalks clear of snow and ice. The same responsibility applies to trash & filth. If these businesses had done regular cleaning/hosing they wouldn’t be the mess they are.

BOTH need to do a better job keeping sidewalks clean!
Teamwork people!

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
4 years ago

It is ridiculous for residents and visitors to have their parking meter fees raised 33% for a service that is not happening! That’s bait-and-switch!

Harry Smith
Harry Smith
4 years ago

Go to the southeast corner of crescent heights and SMB and you will see filth that is commonly seen in DTLA. I cant believe they hired a company and the sidewalks are such a disaster

GET ON WITH IT
GET ON WITH IT
4 years ago
Reply to  Harry Smith

Coincidentally that corner houses a dry cleaning/laundry establishment the I no longer use.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
4 years ago

I don’t feel for them. They can sell 4 cocktails and that will pay the $1,000 fee

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

Four cocktails to cover the $1000 fee? For what, all bars combined in the area, at 4 cocktails each? No question drink prices are ridiculous, but that certainly doesn’t add up. This doesn’t discount that the City failed on is commitment when raising the parking rates. Those parking rates are ridiculously high, and these businesses’ sales are adding to local tax revenue, of which, the city gets a percentage of all sales tax, not to mention TOT at local hotels. This sounds like nothing but bureaucratic dysfunction. Lastly, I don’t know exactly how high profit margins are for businesses that… Read more »

Supersupe
Supersupe
4 years ago

Would LOVE to know how many of these high-ups at the city actually live in WeHo. Do they have to walk on feces & urine coated sidewalks to get around town? Or deal with aggressive homeless people, heavy/reckless traffic, or constant high crime RIGHT OUTSIDE/INSIDE THEIR HOMES? Doubt it. Might explain the lack of urgency on quality-of-life-and-health matters like this. Hollywood parties, mega hotels, snooty restaurants, and posh shops that bring in bucks, though? All the stops get pulled out. Sad.

Fred Up
Fred Up
4 years ago

Passed AirBnB laws that are never enforced.
Ban Scooters from West Hollywood – never enforced.
Raise parking fees to finance sidewalk cleaning- never enacted.
Made General Plan for the City – Make changes do developers with big wallets.

West Hollywood’s biggest lawbreakers are the people who make the laws.

Great job City Council, mabey you need to woman and man up to your full of s@@@ spoiled and lazy staffers.

carleton cronin
carleton cronin
4 years ago

West Hollywood is a resort town, dependent upon revenue from visitors to maintain whatever elements attract them. The condition of sidewalks and streets are some of the first things tourists notice. Shouldn’t the City and the Chamber of Commerce be able to design an effective sidewalk cleaning plan which pleases businesses an visitors (and, possibly, residents) – using funds designed for that purpose?

Get On With It
Get On With It
4 years ago

Yes, one that involves joint participation from the city, residential and commercial property owners. Somehow tossing gum on the sidewalks, a major contributor to the mess must also find a remedy. However, his issue which was called out long ago has already languished far to long as a result of too much bureaucracy and now we want to have deliberations with the Chamber?

Let’s have “efficiency task forces” for issues like this that cut to the chase.

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