17 Mar City Needs to Deliver Basic Services to South Los Angeles

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South LA residents make complaints using the MyLA311 smart phone application to urge the city to increase basic services.


By Hina Sheikh 

Elida Mendez found abandoned furniture, empty boxes and trash on the corner of her street every day for months.

She complained to the city but got no response.

“Why do we have to push the city to get the services we deserve?” said South Los Angeles resident Mendez, who lives in the Green Meadows neighborhood. “We need to make four or five complaints before trash on our streets gets picked up.”

Los Angeles offers MyLA311—a toll-free number, a smart phone application and website—to allow residents to request services, ranging from bulky item pick-up to graffiti removal.


A recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that South L.A. residents receive significantly less city services. Only one-third of the service requests for trash pick-up were addressed in poor communities like South L.A., while 99% of complaints were addressed in other communities.

“It was just getting worse,” explained Iris Greene, a resident of the King Estates neighborhood, who walked by an alley next to her church that was completely blocked with trash for four months.

“You couldn’t even walk through it. I never thought this alley was going to be cleaned up, because it would get worse every week, ” she said.

Greene says that she and many of her neighbors didn’t know about the MyLA311 hotline. Residents like Greene are calling on the city to work with residents to publicize the reporting system and educate residents on how to get those basic services.


Along with twenty of her neighbors, she filed MyLA311 service requests with Community Coalition’s help and saw the alley cleaned within a week.

“It’s critical that residents demonstrate the need for services by filing 311 reports,” explained Council District Eight District Director Fernando Montes-Rodriguez. “The greater the number of complaints, the more it helps us advocate for resources and direct them to where the need is.”

While Mendez and Greene were able to get the corner and alley cleaned up, there is still a sentiment of neglect among residents who want to see a permanent solution.

Data from MyLA311 shows that from July 2014 to July 2015, only 5,000 reports were filed in District 8, but in District 13, which represents neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Hollywood, there were nearly 17,000 complaints.

More recently, MyLA311 reports for Council District 8 increased by 50%; and for District 9, by nearly 25% between July and Dec. 2015.

This is a result of community leaders organizing their neighbors to increase MyLA311 complaints.

“I’ve started partnering with my neighbors to demand the city create a permanent solution to keep our neighborhoods clean and safe,” said Mendez.

Contact the Coalition at (323) 750-9087 to start a MyLA311 campaign in your neighborhood. If you want to continue the conversation on social media, please use the hashtag #311forSouthLA.

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