Chicago, rats and trash cans.

There are major issues facing the City of Chicago. Life and death issues.

We are on track to set a record in shootings this year. We have had over 1,000 in the first five months.

Our schools may not have the money to open in the Fall.

So, maybe public trash cans might not head the list of concerns for you. But I’ve become slightly obsessed lately and it is my blog.

Now that it is summer, I take longer walks with Ulysses and I have noticed street stuff. And we have had an explosion of rats. So many rats that Ulysses, who has been chasing them unsuccessfully for nine years, caught one. Not because he has gotten faster or better at it. It is that with so many, his odds have gotten better.

Oh. Before I get started, let me make it clear that this is not a criticism of ward services or any aldermen. Some get touchy when I bring things up.

32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack is not one of the ones that gets touchy. I am not in his ward. The people across the street are, but as I point out, our neighborhood is so divided up by ward boundaries that my bedroom is in one ward, the back yard is in another and the bathroom…

Waguespack is one of those guys who drives around with black paint in the back of his car so that when he sees some graffiti on a signal box he can jump out and paint over it. I have had reports that people have seen him painting the white stripes on faded crosswalks. Plus he is a member of the Progressive Caucus. I love this guy. He doesn’t even like it that people see him doing this stuff.

When a couple of us where going to go out on Monday morning to shovel and bag the garbage all over the street around the trash can, Waguespack actually beat us to it.

But back to trash cans.

Trash cans have become rarer than mail boxes and phone booths. You can drive the entire four mile distance from Kedzie to the Lakefront on Diversey and see four trash cans. On the other hand, their are eight on Fullerton between Kedzie and Kimball, and they are always full. I suspect that some of the retail owners are dumping their garbage into the trash cans. Yet none of this makes sense.

There is just one on the boulevard from Palmer to Logan. People picnic, grill and play on the boulevard and we are down (there once were more) to just one.  Following a weekend, it looks like this:


Humor me a little longer.

Who designs a public trash can that looks like this in a city with a rat explosion?

This is Old Country Buffet for rats.

Even when it is not overflowing with garbage, it is wide open to rats. Vertical metal slats a couple of inches apart? What genius came up with this design?

They are designed to have liners, but many of them don’t.

The one down the block on Fullerton in front of the Social Security office was hit by a car several years ago so the liner doesn’t fit.

Nobody has replaced it.


By the way, that is dog feces and rotten food left behind by a rat who came to dinner.

Even those with plastic liners are open to rats looking for a meal.


Let me review:

  1. This is not a ward, aldermanic or Streets and San worker problem. The city workers are understaffed and overworked.
  2. Why are there fewer trash cans on the street? Because trash cans require crews to empty them and the Mayor prefers spending money on basketball arenas and on tax breaks to hotels.
  3. Can somebody design a city trash can that makes sense? Ulysses isn’t getting any younger, but the rats are.
  4. Another case of #RahmFAIL.

2 thoughts on “Chicago, rats and trash cans.

  1. Fred, the bosses @ streets &san.have cut corner basket pick up from daily to 2-3times a week.The crew went from 2 laborers down to1.The local chamber of commerces pressure more frequent pick ups so the city lets private companies pick them up on theQ.T.Our union local 1001 L.I.U.N.A. does nothing to stop this practice.The mayor& some ald. have eliminated about 50% of the baskets since 2011. Dan Sheehan@

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