SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — A barely-used, $1.3 million paving machine that a homeless man had been using as shelter was back on the road Friday, just days after a CBS2 News’ report.
On a torn up street in San Pedro, city crew workers banged on the machine called a cold recycler with a shovel, tried to figure out what buttons to press, and even used a piece of firewood from someone’s yard to try to stabilize the machine’s chassis.
However, most of the time, more than a dozen Los Angeles city workers stood around and watched as the million-dollar machine made its debut after CBS2’s investigation revealed it had been sitting idle in a city yard for almost a year.
Street services director Nazario Sauceda claims there’s no connection.
“Just a coincidence it’s out today the same week we did our investigation?” investigative reporter David Goldstein asked him.
“You used the word ‘coincidence,'” said Sauceda.
“What word would you use?” countered Goldstein.
“I would support that word,” Sauceda conceded.
On Tuesday, CBS2 showed how a homeless man was sleeping underneath the paver after taxpayers shelled out more than $1.3 million to buy it.
City logs show it went into service on June 16 of last year but had only been used 51 hours in 10 months up to April, including just five hours this year.
That was, until today, but what happened to the homeless man?
“There are shelters for homeless if they need help,” said Sauceda, adding he didn’t know what happened to the man.
After two hours of figuring out how to use it, the paver was working to resurface a street in San Pedro. It’s designed to rip up the asphalt, recycle it and repave the street, but it didn’t last long.
Workers were back using the shovel after the machine worked for about an hour, but Sauceda refused to admit it.
“We’re very excited to have the machine here,” said Sauceda.
“But it’s not doing anything!” Goldstein noticed.
“That’s what you think,” replied Sauceda. “There’s a lot of calibration involved, David.”
“It’s not paving. It’s not doing anything most of the morning,” Goldstein said.
“That’s your view,” said Sauceda.
The City of Los Angeles maintains the machine is still in the testing stages and promised it will be in use in quite a few streets in a few months.