Altadena Small Business Owner: Marketing is the Hardest Part

Revvel Revati loves fitness regimens, talking freely about emotional problems that manifest into physical pain, and hula hoops

By Justin Chapman, Altadena Patch, 11/26/2011

Since 1977 Revvel Revati has been trying different techniques to get in shape, becoming in the process a body work therapist, foot reflexologist, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and voice dialogue. This year it occurred to her that there are probably many more women like her who were in the same position. This gave her an idea for what would eventually bloom into her current small business, which she runs from home.
She started circulating the idea of holding exercise classes, to put it mildly, among women she knew as well as posting on the internet. To her surprise, several women showed up to the first class, on Aug. 15. Her classes, which are for women aged 40 and older only to maintain a certain comfort level, start slow and over time these women feel the results of their commitment combined with Revati's guidance.
She teaches her classes at 7 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in her backyard, indoor work out room, and healing room, where she works on eliminating a client's lower back pain. Each session is a $10 suggested donation. Her class size can range anywhere from three to 20 people at this point. Revati sees marketing as the biggest challenge to maintaining her small business.
"Here in Altadena it's not as tough to market because we do have the blogs," she said directly after acknowledging that marketing has been the biggest challenge in her quest to take one of her hobbies and turn it into a sustainable business. "Right now, I don't want to reach out to other neighboring cities. I want to stay here in Altadena. I'm just rebuilding my business to where I want to take it, and I'm going to be adding things such as cleansing and combining that with the workout regimen, so they eat well, they get sleep, and they move. They have to stay hydrated. These are all the most important things for women over 40."
When asked if she thinks she has a viable long-term business plan, she immediately said "Absolutely, because things are getting better now. People
say they don't have money but it's not true. There are people here in Altadena who have money. It makes no sense that we have to go down the hill to do things when we have these people right here who have businesses who are trying to stay alive. You know, support the small businesses here in Altadena. We've got to do it."
Trying to turn something you feel so passionate about into profit is a simultaneously rewarding and frustrating experience, she added, referring to her homegrown business. "It's very rewarding because when I wake up on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I can't wait for these people to show up. I want to see all these women get better as they get older. And then they feel better about themselves and even start dating again after years of not trying."
Revatti said that hydration is the most important thing for these women while they are active.
"As we get older, we tend to lose joint mobility, coordination, balance, motivation, stamina, flexibility, strength, and we add weight," said Revati. "Every woman who comes to my classes has a different issue they want to improve, so sometimes we break up into smaller groups because I won't make anyone do something they don't want to do."
That being said, Revati guides and instructs them on their form and tries to push them to new levels that they never thought they could achieve. When they first started coming, Revati noted, the work they do now with sand bells, hula hoops, slam balls, lunges, crunches, and much more was way out of their element. So the first couple of sessions they just walked and then started, step by step, to try some of the other techniques. The sand belts and slam balls of varying weights, which members throw to each other in pairs or in circles, as well as the many hula hoops handmade by Revati, all increase hand/eye coordination.
When the session begins, the women walk around and stretch to warm up before taking on the heavy lifting equipment.
"A good way to get stronger is to do a few reps with heavier weights and then switch to smaller ones, which most say is like lifting air after the heavier reps," said Revati.
Throughout the session, the women talk and laugh with each other in a spirit of support. One of the attendees, who declined to be identified, said when more people show up, they get into larger circles, call someone's name, then hurl a sand belt or slam ball towards them, which is she said is always "a lot of fun, a lot of laughter."
Revati, now 63, said one reason she thinks she's getting a good response from older women is because they want to be in shape but they don't want to go to a gym, or "meat market" as they half-jokingly called it. They don't want to pay for it, they don't know how to use most of the machines, and they just feel generally uncomfortable working out in a public space with mostly men. Revati's program offers an alternative to that.
"One thing we promote here is laughter, because if it's not a fun environment, it's not fun to do this," said Revati.
She also makes and sells her own hula hoops with various designs and sizes meant for children and adults. She also uses them in her class regimen, which she says her students can learn easier than later techniques. She added that although most women haven't tried a hula hoop since they were kids, they pick up on it pretty quick because the way they use them in her class is so different from what they did as kids.
There are so many ways that Revati's students use her hula hoops. They can dance with them, do the traditional swirl and switch directions, take it off the body and jump through it, and by only using their hands they can twirl them in almost impossible synchronicity, almost like a rave dancer with glow sticks or a smooth, confident fire dancer.
Revati makes sure to keep an eye on all her students' progress, because as she put it, "If you can't do it, you can get frustrated very easier." She measures each woman's weight at the beginning of each session and keeps a log of it to show them physical proof of the progress they are making. She talks to them about food programs and diets, hydration, and exercises they can do at home.
To learn more about Revvel Revati's business, email her website at

Too little too late

Baca quietly implements revised inmate release policy in the wake of Richardson death

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/24/2011

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has quietly revised the Sheriff’s Department’s nighttime release policy, a move that comes more than a year after the discovery of the remains of Mitrice Richardson, an honors student at Cal State Fullerton who was arrested by deputies for failing to pay a bill at a Malibu restaurant in September 2009, then released from custody shortly after midnight without a phone, money or a car. Richardson’s skeletal remains were found 11 months later in a wooded area less than six miles from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

Following a Nov. 9 meeting with Pasadena women’s rights advocates Gerda Govine-Ituarte and Shirley Spencer, an officer with the League of Women Voters Pasadena Area, Richardson’s psychiatrist, Ronda Hampton, and her aunt, Lauren Sutton, Baca announced that the department’s nighttime release policy had been changed back in May, which was news to Richardson’s family and friends, according to Spencer.

Titled “Property Retained at Time of Arrest,” the policy reads: “The arresting deputy shall, when practicable, book with the arrestee certain personal items or items of personal identification in possession of the arrestee at the time of arrest (e.g. driver license, passport, credit cards, cellular telephone, etc.) when the items would provide proof of identification and/or facilitate the identification/booking or release procedure.”

Richardson’s friends and family members said Baca’s policy change is not enough. They called for an independent committee to investigate the death and the circumstances surrounding it. They also called for the disbanding of the Office of Independent Review, a county agency that reviews incidents involving the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies. The OIR investigated the performances of sheriff’s personnel involved in the Richardson case and found that, while things could have been done better, the deputies did nothing improper in processing Richardson at the lockup and later releasing her.

Holiday show stoppers

A few of the many great holiday shows and productions in Greater Pasadena

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/24/2011

While most venues are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there’s a plethora of entertainment happening practically every day throughout the holiday season. From the Pasadena Playhouse to the Ice House to the Coffee Gallery to A Noise Within and more, one would find it difficult to be bored.

Boston Court
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena.
From Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, the talented Gigi Bermingham (pictured will present a holiday-themed musical evening called “Cabaret Noel” — in English and French — along with a group of world-renowned singers, musicians, composers and directors, including Matthew Goldsby, Amanda Pajer, Michelle Allsopp and Barry Creyton. Tickets are $25 general admission and $20 for students and seniors. Visit to purchase tickets.

A Noise Within
3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena
Celebrate the classical theater’s inaugural season in Pasadena and its 20th season producing world class theatre.
“Twelfth Night, Or What You Will,” by William Shakespeare and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, runs until Dec. 16. Tickets are $46.

“Desire Under the Elms,” by Eugene O’Neill and directed by Damaso Rodriguez, runs until Dec. 18. Tickets are $34. Visit

Good Shepherd Church Pasadena
570 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena
This church invites everybody to join its 2nd Annual Christmas Carol Service
at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. “All voices are beautiful before God, so let’s SING!” exclaims Rev. Rick Eisenlord. The church will hold a midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at 11 p.m. Everyone who attends will receive a handmade Origami Christmas Angel. Visit

 Coffee Gallery Backstage
2029 N. Lake Avenue, Altadena
Besides its almost nightly performances, which you can read about at, the Gallery is also running a Toy Drive the weekend of Dec. 10 and 11. Toys can be dropped at the Fork in the Road at the corner of St. John and Pasadena avenues or at the Gallery.

The Ice House
24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena.
Events take place almost every night at this popular comedy club. Visit for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets. All shows are 18 and up and require a two-drink minimum on top of the ticket price.

Comedian Brad Williams will be performing at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Williams was born with achondroplastic dwarfism, but instead of considering his condition as a hindrance, he saw it as an opportunity to make a career out of comedy. Tickets are $17.50 to $24.50.

Increasingly popular certified clinical hypnotherapist Mark Sweet pulls ordinary people from the audience and makes them capable of doing extraordinary things by tapping into the subconscious mind. His show at 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 costs only $12.50. Comedian Fernando Flores takes over at 9 p.m. Sweet and Flores will return at 7 and 9 p.m., respectively,
on Dec. 18.

The All-Star Ladies of Comedy, including Kristen Kay, Gayla Johnson,
Roz Browne and Laurie Kilmartin take over the stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Tickets are $10 to $12.50.

For a financially cheaper show, check out “7 for $7,” a show featuring seven top performers from around the country for only a buck a comic. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and Jan. 5 and 12.

Cocoa Brown (pictured), featuring Ludo Vika’s R-rated, award-winning show, utilizes her animated facial expressions and hilarious material that appeals to a variety of audiences. She’ll be at the Ice House at 10:30 p.m. Dec. 23, the last show before the venue closes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Pasadena Playhouse — Main Stage
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena.
After filing for bankruptcy last year, the popular theater is back on its feet again. The last show of this year’s season, “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” has only a few performances left: 8 p.m. tomorrow, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

The play, written by Pearl Cleage and directed by Sheldon Epps, is set in the summer of 1930 in Harlem, and portrays the harsh realities of the Great Depression, which overshadowed the creative talents of African-American artists, writers and musicians.

Tickets for gallery seating range from $39 to $59 and for the orchestra $49 to $100. Visit to purchase tickets.

A guest production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” presented by the Opera Posse, will be 8 p.m. Dec. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10, and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11.

The Pasadena Dance Theatre will be performing “Nutcracker Ballet” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 and 23, 1 p.m. Dec. 24, and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27-30.

Pasadena Playhouse’s
Carrie Hamilton Theatre
The moving autobiographical play “Prison is Where I Learned to Fly,” written by Rochelle Duffy and directed by Debra DeLiso, tells the story of Duffy’s brother, who was sent to juvenile hall after their father learned he was molested by a priest. Tickets are$20 for the remaining shows: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. The final show will be Dec. 18. Visit to purchase tickets.

Exploring holiday observances

Branch out of your traditional religious activities and see what other cultures and religions have to offer

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/24/2011

Everyone knows when Christmas happens and what it’s about: celebrating Jesus’ birthday and giving gifts to the ones you love. It is a very festive time of year, and one need only visit the Balian Mansion or Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena to confirm that assertion.

But what about all the other holidays celebrated and observed by Christians and non-Christians alike? How much do people generally know about other cultures’ holidays?

Take, Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Setting aside Jewish people for a moment, how many of you know when Hanukkah takes place or what it’s really all about, besides the comical songs by Adam Sandler and the fact that a menorah with eight candles is used to celebrate the holiday?

HANUKKAH. This year Hanukkah, which is celebrated for eight days around late November to late December, is from Dec. 20 to Dec. 28. Hanukkah, the name derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to dedicate,” is always the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, and lasts for eight days.

There are many fun activities taking place that that you could be a part of. The Pasadena Jewish Temple, in conjunction with Union Station Homeless Services, kicks off its event in Central Park with a massive food and toy drive on Thanksgiving.

To learn more about Judaism, all are welcome to attend Rabbi Kollin’s seminar called “Introduction to Judaism,” which takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena.

The temple also has many events planned before, during and after Hanukkah. Visit for more information.
KWANZAA. Although Kwanzaa was first celebrated in December 1966, making it one of the world’s youngest recognized holidays, the event is meant to honor African culture and traditions on continents around the world. The holiday is a week-long celebration that ends with a feast and an exchange of gifts. According to, approximately 13 percent, of African-Americans, about 5 million people, commemorate the occasion.

The founder of Kwanzaa was Maulana Karenga, whose goal was to create an occasion where African descendents could celebrate their culture and values. In earlier years, Kwanzaa was viewed as anti-Christian. During the early years, the Africans who were observing these December holidays did not borrow or combine any aspects of other festivals into their celebrations. Lately, though, the mixing of other festivals with the Kwanzaa holiday is becoming very common.

This year Kwanzaa will be Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Visit for Kwanzaa and other holiday traditions this winter.

ISLAMIC NEW YEAR and ASHURA. The Islamic year is about 11 or 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, which is used by most Americans. This year, the Islamic New Year’s Day begins at sunset Nov. 25 and ends at sunset Nov. 26.

Ashura, on the other hand, is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the Battle of Karbala, when the Umayyad army killed a small group of resistance soldiers on the 10th day of Muharram. It is a day of remembrance and mourning for these soldiers. It is also commemorated as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, who died in the same battle on the same day.
This year, services will be held Dec. 5.

A 'Holy' Hotspot

Monrovia's newest café bar and music venue provides a classy space for new bands and writers to gain an audience

By Justin Chapman, Monrovia Patch, 11/19/2011

What could be Monrovia's newest hotspot is up and running and ready for its first show Saturday night.
Monrovia resident Anthony Morelli, 35, has worked tirelessly over the past few months to turn the unused basement of into a café and music venue called "The Holy Ground."
The space was donated to Morelli by the church, and although Morelli is religious, he said the venue is a place for people of all sorts--believers and nonbelievers alike--to share.
"It started out as a really terrible space," he said, "but over the past few months it has become very beautiful."
The space can comfortably seat 44 people and has room for expansion. The café bar is ready to serve drinks that will be cheaper than most other places, with all profits going to keeping the venue open. Everything from Frappuccino's to cappuccinos to hazelnut drinks to soda to Rockstars to hot cocoa and more will be available.
The stage top was donated by , chairs and tables by Homer's Automotive, and coffee bar materials by . Morelli plans to have at least one show a week, and more if possible as the venue, which has a house PA and keyboard, becomes better known. As they progress, they'll provide guitar and bass amps, and as they continue to grow and raise capital they'll be able to provide more equipment, he said.
"The root of good music is poetry, so along with weekly shows we want to have poetry and book readings, as well as open mic nights," he said. "We want to have a hosted group every Saturday, then move into a similar thing for people on Fridays to have a place for people to go to hear good music and scripture."
Morelli is looking for as much involvement from the community as possible. He is currently searching for some local artists to do murals and other forms of art on the venue's walls, he said.
The Holy Ground has two entrances, in the front of the church on Palm and behind the church. In an effort to advertise the café and venue, Morelli is working on a website, a fan Facebook page, and even a social network that will be comparable to Facebook but specialized to those who patronize "The Holy Ground." Volunteers are also designing and handing out flyers and pamphlets advertising the place.
"It's really come together recently," said Morelli. "We've been adding audio equipment, furniture, and of course we'll be adding more stuff as time goes on because we want the best for people. We're constantly under construction but it is ready now for performances and audiences."
On Saturday night, three local bands--100 Onces, Indigo Child, and Tribe--will play beginning at 7 p.m.

Moving on

Occupy Pasadena changes tactics as other cities ‘evict’ protesters

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/17/2011

Following two days of meetings, teach-ins and seminars with their counterparts in Los Angeles, members of Occupy Pasadena are changing tactics to include marches through parts of the city, the Weekly has learned.
On Sunday, the Occupy Pasadena General Assembly, which meets at 3 p.m. Sundays at Memorial Park, announced on the group’s Web site that protests and marches will now take place at 6 p.m. Fridays. Each event will begin at the corner of Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, where protesters will march west to Old Pasadena then turn around and walk east to Paseo Colorado in Midtown Pasadena. A rally there will use a so-called “human microphone,” where one person says something into a microphone and the crowd repeats it to amplify the message.
“We are all part of changing this nation’s story from a ‘me first’ to a ‘we first’ perspective,” said local community activist and organizer Patrick Briggs, who described the Nov. 5 Bank Transfer Day — in which people were urged to withdraw their savings from banks and place them in credit unions — as “inspirational, positive and effective.”
So far, protests in Pasadena have been peaceful events without incident, but not all cities have been as tolerant. Police in Oakland, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Dallas, among other cities, have recently taken drastic measures to remove Occupy members in those communities.
In the announcement about the new strategy, the Occupy Pasadena General Assembly wrote, “In solidarity with the worldwide Occupy Movement and the 99 percent, we march to reclaim our public space so we can re-imagine and reform ourselves together as a human community. Our intent is to spread awareness that we are here and invite community members not only to watch us but join us as well.”
Protesters not affiliated with Occupy Pasadena have said 40,000 peaceful protesters plan on forming a “human float” to “occupy” the Rose Parade. They are denouncing the militarization and corporatization of the parade and calling for the separation of corporate money from the electoral process.

Another side

Author Jonathan Lethem reflects on ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’ at Vroman’s

By Carl Kozlowski and Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/10/2011

Author of eight novels, a novella, three story collections and five nonfiction tomes -- not to mention editor of five anthologies -- Jonathan Lethem is literally bursting with ideas. But he's never compiled a collection of essays until "The Ecstasy of Influence," in which he covers an eclectic collection of topics, among them sex in cinema, graffiti, Bob Dylan, cyber-culture, Sept. 11 and Norman Mailer.

Lethem will be discussing and signing the personal and surprisingly candid tome Tuesday at Vroman's Bookstore, one of only four promotional appearances he's making to plug the book.

"About a third of the book is new, since I've accumulated all this stuff that didn't all belong together," the New York native explained in a phone interview from his office at Pomona College, where he teaches. "This is a collection of all the things I've done that aren't fiction, such as film criticism and music reviews. Most of the new writing is along the lines of thinking about the role of the fiction writer. The whole book adds up to a writer avoiding his work."

Looking forward, Lethem acknowledges that his status as the father of two young sons will undoubtedly have an impact on his future works. But for now, he's content to keep his mind free, thoughts flowing and fingertips racing across computer keyboards.

"I'm sure fatherhood will affect me, but I'm a very slow-moving creature," says Lethem. "My influences, the people I meet and interact with, the places I live in and visit, tend to be reflected very slowly over many years. I wasn't able to write anything meaningful about growing up in Brooklyn until I was in my 30s. So fatherhood hasn't really seeped up yet; it's somewhere in the unconscious, waiting to make itself known."

Jonathan Lethem will discuss and sign "The Ecstasy of Influence" at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 449-5320 or visit

Fed up

Occupy Pasadena urges people to transfer their money to credit unions

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/10/2011

The growing populist anger at large corporations and banks hit close to home last month with the formation of Occupy Pasadena, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests that began on Sept. 17 in Manhattan.

The local group’s first protest was on Nov. 2, focusing on supporting Occupy Oakland protesters and condemning Oakland police violence. During a recent protest, 24-year-old Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was left with a fractured skull after he was hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.

Other protests organized by community activists Patrick Briggs and Maddie Gavel-Briggs, who have attended Occupy Pasadena meetings but are not organizers with that group, have taken place at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in front of Bank of America, Chase Bank and Wells Fargo branches.

Nearly 200 people marched Saturday in support of Bank Transfer Day, an idea created by Los Angeles art gallery owner Kristen Christian that encouraged people to close their accounts with major banks and move their money to not-for-profit credit unions. Over the last month, more than 650,000 consumers joined credit unions, according to the Credit Union National Association.

“Three people with us wanted to close their Wells Fargo accounts, but the bank employees refused to let them in,” Gavel-Briggs told the Weekly

She acknowledged that planning ahead is required if someone chooses to use credit unions and community banks, because there are fewer branch locations.

“It won’t work for everyone, but it will be better if people cut ties with these criminal banks,” she said.

The Occupy Pasadena group, which meets every Sunday at 3 p.m. in Memorial Park, describes itself on its Web site as a “people-powered movement resisting the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused one of the greatest recessions in American history.”

For more information on t

No easy answers

Baca, Sanchez and English cop Fraser Sampson talk about policing in troubled times

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/3/2011

Riots in London, tensions between Pasadena police and members of the city's minority communities and the alleged beating of Los Angeles County jail inmates by sheriff's deputies will be some of the topics discussed by LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, Pasadena Police Chief Phil Sanchez and Fraser Sampson, executive and solicitor of the West Yorkshire Police Authority in England, next Thursday at the Western Justice Center.

In recent weeks, Baca has been urged to resign by a number of groups and civil rights activists over the alleged beating of jail inmates by sheriff's deputies. The ACLU of Southern California, one of the groups demanding Baca step down, recently released a report detailing alleged incidents involving deputies beating and Tasering inmates.

"The recent spate of civil unrest in England and other regions of the world have focused much attention on policing in times of socioeconomic uncertainty and turmoil," reads a statement posted on the Western Justice Center's Web site. "This evening presents an extraordinary opportunity to interact with three notable law enforcement leaders who will explore challenges as well as solutions in preventing and resolving conflict in community-police interactions."

The free event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Western Justice Center, 55 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena. RSVP to Program Director Monya Kian at or call (626) 584-7494, ext. 23.

Update on Altadena's Trash Contract (ACONA Meeting)

At Tuesday night's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) meeting, representatives of Altadena's new trash service franchise took audience questions and updated residents on the contract

By Justin Chapman, Altadena Patch, 11/2/2011

Tuesday night's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) meeting included discussion on two topics that previous attendees voted for on an online survey put together by ACONA's co-founder, Elliot Gold. The goal of ACONA, Gold said at the beginning of the meeting, is to "make Altadena the best neighborhood in LA County."
The first was an update on Altadena's new uniform trash collection service by officials and representatives from LA County and Athens Services since that company began trash and recycling pickup Sept. 5.
The second, which you can , had officials from the Altadena Sheriff's station and a co-founder of a Neighborhood Watch in east Altadena speaking about how residents can start their own Watch or Neighborhood Association, and why it's beneficial to do so.
The next ACONA meeting will be held in January. Gold suggested one of the possible topics to address could be better cell phone service in Altadena. A survey was emailed to attendees after the meeting. Take the survey here to provide your input on future topics.

Trash in Altadena
Thor Schmidt, the General Manager of Athens Services, kicked off the meeting by acknowledging that there was some confusion early on about when specific neighborhoods' pickup days were since the first week of service included Labor Day, which delayed everyone's scheduled pickup by one day.
"We had a little bit of a challenge trying to educate and communicate to all the residents about the changes taking place, but it's starting to normalize," said Schmidt.
He went on to explain that the company doesn't want to collect something just because it's on the curb in case it's something a resident doesn't want taken away.
To get rid of previous service provider's cans or excess trash, green waste, or recyclables, put a note on the cans reading "Take me" and make sure overflow is bundled or bagged. For bulky item pickup, call Athens at 888-336-6100. To report abandoned waste, call the county's franchise hotline for illegal dumping at 800-993-5844 to let them know what and where it is. They will then contact Athens, which will send someone to take pictures of it before and after they remove it.
One of the benefits of having a franchise, said Schmidt, is that Athens is held accountable for the services they are supposed to provide. He also explained that there are environmental benefits to the new Altadena Residential Trash Collection Franchise, such as more waste being recycled and diverted, as well as financial benefits, such as lower rates.
"The rules, processes, and procedures we have in place are there for a reason," he said before moving on to the subject of recycling. "Nowadays the question is almost 'What can't be recycled?' Because in my opinion there are a lot more things you can recycle than you cannot. It's important not to contaminate your green waste containers with trash because the dump will reject them and that waste will not be recycled. Try to recycle as much as you can. It's about preserving our natural resources and doing what's right for the environment. That's what we at Athens are all about."
Paul Alva of the county's Department of Public Works said that both the county and Athens want to make sure the services provided to Altadena are adequate to what the residents need. A member of the audience asked Alva why there are still other service providers' trucks picking up trash in Altadena instead of Athens.
"The residential franchise program that we started on Sept. 1 only addresses services provided through cart collection and there are three given to each household," Alva said. "Now if a resident or business is receiving dumpster service, Athens does not have control over that particular trash collection even though they offer that service. Right now we're going through the process of establishing what we call a non-exclusive franchise program, meaning that we would allow haulers to operate as they currently do but with minimum performance standards. That will be resolved July of next year."
Several audience members complimented Athens, which received applause from the audience, on their responsiveness and professionalism so far.