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Are L.A.’s Street Sweepers Just A Scam?

12:46 PM PDT on August 19, 2022

via jserra_photographyand

We'll keep this brief so you can move your car to the other side of the street by noon. But the long and short of our beef today is this:

L.A.'s street sweepers are just for show.

Now, why such bold language on a Friday? It must be this video from Long Beach, in which photographer Jonathan Serra and his friends at the Cafablanca coffee cart show just what happens when we're busy moving our rides and looking for alternate parking to allow street sweepers to clean our city roadways.

Apparently, it might be a whole lot of nothing. In the clip, which sounds like it's set to some cast-away RZA beat, we first see a sign on the mobile coffee business that reads: "Street sweeping is a scam," words that resonate with anyone who's ever received a $75 fine for forgetting to move their car before lurking parking enforcement can spring into action.

We then watch a vehicle from city services come roaring down a block of the LBC's South Wrigley neighborhood. In a fast pass-through of the gutter, the thing flies by at high speed, visibly doing little else besides stirring up some dust.

Meanwhile, we witness a stray coffee cup, lid, and napkin still sitting there in its wake, left behind like the start of some Disney animated short about cast-off crap that now needs to find its trashy parents in an epic journey through South Los Angeles. If you have ever been lucky to live on one of L.A.'s extremely rare streets with no street sweeping on either side of the street, you might have noticed that—and brace yourself for this truth—the streets actually look the damn same as the block next door with street sweeping. Perhaps Angelenos are actually capable of cleaning their own streets if it came down to it?

Although one look at L.A.'s seriously dirty streets and sidewalks these days reveals a city in bad need of some kind of functioning automaton set to "Clean," this video does begs the question:

Do these things actually get the job done? Especially when set to ludicrous speed? Or is street cleaning simply a scam to make money off the ensuing tickets and penalties? Or is it somewhere in between? For the last seven years, data from Los Angeles City Controller shows that revenue from parking and traffic enforcement has brought in over $93 million dollars in L.A.

However, since 2017, the trend seems to be that the city is bringing in less and less revenue from tickets. At one point before 2017, Los Angeles made a net income of $20 million from parking tickets, which LADOT says it went towards their employee's salaries and on parks, youth programs, trash cleanup, and more. Still, that same report released by the nonprofit journalism platform Crosstown quotes a representative from the Los Angeles' Department of Transportation saying their "traffic Officers’ primary mission is to ensure the safety of our roadway and support the quality of life of our communities,” and not to give tickets.

We'd like to know your thoughts. Check out the video below, then let us know whether you think these street sweepers are really cut out for the job, or exist as just another ruse to get your money in our deranged kleptocracy.

Hit us in the comments.

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