City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 8, 2011
Beware The Claw: Readers defend their beloved steel friend

I haven't found an issue that burns people in this town more than The Claw.

Since reporting earlier this week that the City Council is moving toward a ballot measure that would require residents to use green waste bins, I've received no fewer than 30 angry phone calls and emails from city residents defending The Claw like it was a member of their family.

One guy from Curtis Park left me seven messages this morning. When I called him back, he called me "a rat" and accused me of dismissing the importance of The Claw to elderly residents who can't bend over and place lawn trimmings in waste bins. He didn't want to hear that I am not a member of the City Council and have nothing to do with the big decisions at City Hall.

A gentleman from McKinley Park was so angry when he left me a message at 4:40 a.m. Wednesday, he started laughing. Another guy from the Fab 40s questioned the city's claim that more than 100,000 households use the bins to pack away their yard waste - not his beloved Claw.

And in a lengthy email, a woman scolded me for trivializing "a concern that has historical as well as short-term and long-term planning implications for the city and residents in terms of design, environment, ambiance, energy efficiency, and so forth." She objected to me describing The Claw as an endearing mascot of our city.

People are angry that the city might take away The Claw by requiring green bins. For many long-time residents - especially those in Curtis Park, Land Park and east Sacramento - The Claw is considered a birthright.

But why the anger?

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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