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A "Green State" with Trashy Freeways

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Once while driving down the freeway from Santa Clarita into the LA over the Newhall Pass, I came upon a boat. No, not some truck pulling a boat. But a speed boat sitting in lane one (that's the furthest left lane). It obviously became detached from a vehicle. But where were they? There was no one pulled over looking distraught. DID THEY NOT NOTICE?!!?

So I called 911 because that is what you are supposed to do when dangerous items are hanging out in freeway lanes (so if you see a tire in a lane, call 911 immediately). I've called 911 in the past to report various items and what I've learned is that the dispatchers usually tell you if they've gotten a call or not regarding your item. My call went something like this: "You probably already know, but just in case... There is a boat in lane one on southbound I-5 in the Newhall Pass." "No! No one has called that in! Thank you."

Boats are not the usual freeway trash, but plastic bags, cups, empty food containers, chairs and mattresses are. Today, the Daily News reports that freeway debris is on the rise. 30% in fact for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, which equals out to about 50,000 cubic yards or 6,300 dump trucks. Increases for Northern California are 34% and 12% for San Diego.

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The number one piece of freeway trash is cigarette butts.

In one his energized, maniacal and maybe improvised speeches at last March's Keep America Beautiful kick-off event with Hillary Clinton , 4th district Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge ranted about raising taxes on cigarettes to pay for beautifying Los Angeles' sidewalks from butt-clutter.

The crowd cheered loudly. "Hear, hear!" they screamed like it was the movies. Did you hear that Doug Failing? Maybe you can get in on that probably-never-to-be-passed tax funding too. Damn you tobacco lobbyists. Damn you.

Photo by PhliarShamim via Flickr