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Illegal dumping an ongoing struggle for West Oakland deli owner

Illegal dumping an ongoing struggle for West Oakland deli owner
Illegal dumping an ongoing struggle for West Oakland deli owner 03:33

OAKLAND – As parts of Oakland deal with the ongoing issue of illegal dumping, a deli owner says he's being left to foot the bill of an operation that he has nothing to do with.

Jason Herbers, owner of Stay Gold Deli in West Oakland, describes his ongoing struggle with street litter as a recurring nightmare.

"So what we got is stuff like this…and you know, the craziest part is that this is a minor comparison to what we deal with on a weekly basis," Herbers said.

Images depict piles of trash accumulating outside Herbers' business, a problem he says he's been dealing with for almost five years. The overflowed dumpster has resulted in nearly $10,000 in fines since 2021.

"The biggest slap in the face is when they send us fines, they send us bills for doing their job. That's unacceptable. You don't punch down small businesses while they clean up your mess, your city's mess," Herbers expressed.

However, the City of Oakland clarifies that the charges are not related to illegal dumping but rather prior year fees and late penalties of the Excess Litter Fee program.

In response to Stay Gold Deli's appeal, the city reduced the charges by 90%, reflecting a substantial decrease from $910 in 2023 to $91 in 2024.

Herbers has been in communication with the city, reporting the illegal dumping operation and requesting an additional dumpster. He refuses to pay the fines, emphasizing his commitment to maintaining a clean environment despite the financial burden.

 "This is what I'm supposed to do. We have our recycling, we have our compost, we have our dumpster. This is what we're supposed to do. We're doing our job with this. But all this other stuff, that's not our job. We do it because we care and we know that we don't it just gets worse, but this causes money that we don't get back, and then to hit us with a bunch of fines, a bunch of nonsensical fines just for operating our business? It's a slap in the face, it's the biggest slap in the face," Herbers said.

Herbers remains determined to explore options to address the issue and avoid paying the fines while working towards a resolution.

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