Community Voices
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Councilmember Tim McOsker shakes hands with a DWP worker. (photo: Councilmember Tim McOsker Facebook page)

The City of Los Angeles has built a system to respond to non-emergency community and public health concerns and track them until completed. 

The mayor’s and city council offices use these reports to help decide where to deploy resources. The most common reports are graffiti removal, pothole repair, and bulky item pickup, but many other things can be reported and tracked through the system.

You can also report homeless encampments, sound complaints, dead animal removal, parking enforcement, and more. The MyLA311 application currently offers over 50 service-request types, which various City departments, including the Bureau of Street Services, Bureau of Street Lighting, and LA Sanitation, fulfill.

The time it takes for the various offices and departments to respond can vary widely from department to department. However, the more separate requests for similar services grouped in San Pedro, the easier it is for these services to become priorities that bring more resources to address them at once. For example, many windows have been hit with acid that etches the glass with graffiti. Because polishing the glass and removing the damage is a very specialized service, having several storefronts report damage at the same time makes it easier for the City to deploy a team to clean up the windows all at once.

There’s no limit to how many requests an individual can make using the MyLA311 app, and if that issue has been previously reported, the app will let you know. So, with the example of etched glass, it would be great if people who had the time could drive around San Pedro reporting acid etched/graphited glass at some of our storefronts. GAP services (Gang Alternatives Program) has offered to help repair the glass and remove the graffiti; they just need community help to identify all the locations.

Reporting a few issues at once or consistently using the system saves taxpayers money because it allows the various departments to deploy resources more effectively. My biggest pet peeve is illegal dumping. The City will come by and pick up your items for free and let you know when they can get them. You will even get an update on your app that will let you know when the ticket has been completed. Or you can make requests anonymously by simply not submitting your info. Either way, the City will pick up bulky items, metal/household appliances, and electrical waste from your home. There is no need for people to dump their items elsewhere. Please report any illegal dumping.

Another service I use on the MyLA311 app is tree trimming and picking up palm fronds. In the last big storm, hundreds of downed palm fronds blocked my street entirely. I used the app, included some photos of the piles my neighbors and I made to get them out of the streets, and they were gone in under a week. That storm left the whole city to deal with downed fronds, but the ones that get reported, especially with multiple reports with nearby locations, the quicker we get them removed. If you file a report and feel like it is taking too long to complete, reach out to Council District 15’s office with your service request number, and they will help make it a priority as well.

There are several ways to use the 311 service. The MyLA311 app (available for Android and iPhone) is, by far, the best. You can include photos, receive updates, and be notified when your request is completed. You can also call 311 on a cell phone or (213) 473-3231 on a landline during their service hours. 

Lastly, a website — — allows you to make reports and see all of the other service requests you can file through the system. Like any City service, the more it gets used, the more resources can come our way. I hope you check it out and keep it in mind when you want to report a non-emergency issue you would like the City to address. spt

Lee Williams

Lee Williams leads The Lee Williams Real Estate Group at REAL Broker and is a Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He also serves on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Connects, and the San Pedro Education Foundation. He can be reached at