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Morning Brief: Composting Bills, LA’s Mental Health Money, County Worker Strike Vote

A large machine drives over large rows of compost, kicking up dirt and steam.
The windrow turner rotates the windrow, allowing oxygen into the decomposing waste, which helps lower methane emissions.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 20.

“[Composting] Bills, Bills, Bills.”

That’s technically the title of a 1999 Destiny’s Child song (a total jam). It’s also what’s facing cities, landlords and residents trying to meet mandates in California’s new composting law.

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“From educating residents about how to properly separate food scraps, to building out large-scale composting infrastructure, to negotiating new contracts with trash companies, cities have a lot to figure out—and pay for,” writes my colleague Erin Stone.

The science behind the why is rock steady. Methane is one of the main culprits behind the greenhouse gas effect and landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the state.

Reducing methane emissions by turning compostable refuse into earth is not cost-neutral.

“Before we could just say, ‘this is a good thing to do for the planet,’” said Alexa Kielty, the residential coordinator for San Francisco’s curbside food scrap collection program. “But now it’s the law — this is the way California is gonna operate. And throwing things in a hole is always going to be cheaper than composting.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go...A Victory For The Embattled Student Loan Borrower

College graduation cap and gown made of $100 bills
College graduation cap and gown made of $100 bill
(LA Johnson

Am I grateful for my college education? Absolutely. Do I wish that my alma mater charged less than $51,000 a year for tuition? Absolutely.

Graduating with about $30,000 in student debt, thanks to a houseboat’s worth of scholarships and a casino riverboat’s worth of financial aid, made me one of the relatively lucky ones. I knew some people who emerged from college with student loan debts north of $100,000.

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A sum which you could use to, say, buy one nice houseboat or go to a casino riverboat, win a round of roulette, and buy two nice houseboats.

Many student loan borrowers opt for the income-driven repayment (IDR) plans for their debts, hooked in by the promises of periodically low, low payments and the potential of full forgiveness after a couple of decades. However, tens of thousands of IDR plan payers were swindled, and, after an NPR investigation, are set to be made whole for the “inexcusable” mismanagement of the plans by the U.S. Department of Education.

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