organize the potluck picnic.
"The city fed us last time, so we decided to feed them this time," she
For the men and 10 Boy Scouts from Troop No. 140 in Lakewood who labored
all morning in the hot sun, the meal waiting for them in Colony Park was
a lovely sight to behold.
"This is great," said the city's housing coordinator, Chris Corbin,
before biting into his share.
The cleanup was part of the city's Neighborhood Improvement and Community
Enhancement Program. Code enforcement officials have identified
violations in the neighborhood and many have been fixed, Corbin said.
"If someone has made no effort at all in 30 days, we'll need to be more
forceful," he said. "But if you work with us, we'll work with you."
Residents worked alongside city officials Saturday, pulling many times
their own weight. By the end of the day, more than 83 tons of old farm
equipment, inoperative cars and garbage had been dragged to the street
and loaded into 19 trash bins. One bin typically rents for $400 a day,
Corbin said, but Rainbow Disposal in Huntington Beach offered the city a
discount for the event and threw in three free bins.
And it's a good thing. The junk in Thomasa Mendoza's yard alone filled
three bins, Corbin said. The 68-year-old woman looked at her empty yard
with a shocked expression and explained in Spanish, as a neighbor
translated, that she was amazed by the community support.
"The city was really helpful, but the community is still leery," resident
Carl Lara said. "We've been burned before, and we didn't want to give
them all our trust at once. It will be a long process but, as a group, we
can move mountains."