Thursday, September 25, 2008


Dialing #311 in DC connects you to the Mayor's non-emergency hotline. The saying here goes: "Burning house - dial 911. Burning question - dial 311."

I've called 911 several times - for gunshots, illegal fireworks, a reckless driver on our street, and the fire under the street. Prior to this week I haven't had a reason to call 311... that changed several days after our scheduled recycling pick-up failed to occur.

Irritated by over-flowing recycling bins in the street, bottles and cans laying outside said bins, and passers-by using my recycling bin as a public garbage can, I decided to call 311 and complain.

My 311 operator was extremely nice and sympathetic (she made a comment about the need to clean up city trash/recycling to prevent vermin - rats, mice, opossums, and raccoons - from taking over the city). She took my name and address and ensured me that the city would collect our recycling within 48 hours. Not bad.

I was so excited yesterday morning when I heard the big city recycling truck coming down the street. I went to the window to watch and the nice man picking up my recycling waved and saluted me. I was touched. Then they just drove away. Seriously. All of my neighbors had recycling bins sitting street-side waiting for pick-up and these guys just drove past them. One of my neighbors also saw what was happening and he ran after the recycling truck. This neighbor was able to the truck drivers to make one more pass down our street and about half of my neighbors had their recyclables picked up.

The whole situation left me a little ticked off... was I not clear when I called 311 that I wanted ALL of the recycling in our neighborhood picked up? or were these city employees SO lazy that they only picked up from the crazy, complaining lady?

Do I call 311 again and complain?

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