GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITY; BUSINESSMAN'S PHILANTHROPY HONORED.
A.V. Rubbish owner ``Wild'' Phil Arklin looks like a true cowboy. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall and dresses in cowboy hats, boots and black-fringed leather jackets.
His Valyermo ranch is home to 20 deer, peacocks and guinea hens. Fifteen buffalo roam part of the 500 acres of rolling hills, ponds and sagebrush that he owns around the Palmdale landfill, where his giant office contains two iguanas and a life-size bronze alligator.
``I'm an animal lover and a hunter. I'm a sportsman, but I enjoy it all. I'm a different sort,'' said Arklin, a Southern California native who got into the trash-hauling business almost by chance in 1969 and prospered. ``Someone called me eccentric.''
Besides running his trash empire, Arklin is a philanthropist. He is a top buyer every year at the Antelope Valley Fair's junior livestock auction and gives regularly to local charities.
On Saturday, the city of Palmdale and the Antelope Valley Cultural Foundation will honor Arklin for his support of the Palmdale Playhouse, where he donated a concert grand piano at its opening in 1994.
``I just like to give to the community. A lot of these things, the projects - whether it's 4-H, cancer or whatever - they all need money,'' Arklin said. ``They said they needed a piano. That thing is beautiful. It has autographs of great pianists inside and out.''
Arklin is one of the most recognizable residents of the Antelope Valley.
That's partly because of more than 20 western-theme commercials he has done promoting recycling, his Wild Phil mulch or other things involving trash. He rides a horse, falls down a cliff, ropes a street sign and fights desperadoes dumping trash.
``I started doing TV commercials in about 1990, and somebody came up with the name Wild Phil and the Waste Riders,'' Arklin said. ``I ride horses, and my heroes are Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger. The kids seem to relate to it. I was shocked - with all the Nintendo and the space rangers and all those things - that the kids could relate to it.''
Arklin lives in Valyermo with his wife, Cristina, a Keppel Union School District board member, and his daughter Amanda, 19, an Antelope Valley College student. He got involved in the waste disposal business with his brothers Lev and Steve in Sand Canyon after they did a landscaping job in exchange for a 10-year-old Rio trash truck.
``In 1969, we started with one truck,'' said Arklin. ``I was a landscaper working for my dad. I just kind of fell into it, fell into the trash.''
In the mid-1970s, Arklin decided to expand to the Antelope Valley and bought the Palmdale dump. He cleaned it up and eventually expanded.
His Palmdale Disposal, Antelope Valley Rubbish and Foothill Disposal companies now run well over 100 trucks, collecting trash from about 40,000 homes and businesses from Lancaster to Pearblossom.
``I started with one truck in Lancaster in 1974 and built the company,'' Arklin said. ``I never ever dreamed it would go this far.''
From the Palmdale landfill, Arklin runs his trash empire from a second-floor office the size of a small house.
The office's outer room contains a pingpong table, a bar and a floor-to-ceiling, climate-controlled terrarium for the iguanas.
It also contains a cardboard cutout of Arklin, which is almost life-size and equipped with a blinking red light on an upraised finger to signal bids. It once stood in for him at an Antelope Valley Fair junior livestock auction.
His desk shares the other room with a mounted 594-pound marlin on one wall and stuffed animals - a deer, quail, bighorn sheep and a bobcat.
``I drove a truck for 10, 15 years. I never thought I'd have this,'' Arklin said.
IN ARKLIN`S HONOR
A Salute to Phil Arklin will be sponsored by the City of Palmdale and the Antelope Valley Cultural Foundation.
It will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E.
Four pianists will perform music ranging from jazz and Broadway show tunes, to classical and country.
Tickets are $25 per person.
Proceeds from the evening will go toward the second building phase of the playhouse. The second phase will include dressing rooms and banquet facilities.
For more information, call the box office at (805) 267-5685. For 24-hour recorded information, call (805) 267-ARTS.
2 Photos, Box
PHOTO (1--Color--Ran in AV Edition only) With his landfill behind him, Phil Arklin takes a break on the balcony of his office in Palmdale. Starting with one trash-hauling truck, he says he is surprised he became affluent enough to help support charity.
(2--Color in SAC Edition only) Phil Arklin stands by a cutout of his ``Wild Phil'' alter ego.
Jeff Goldwater/Daily News
BOX: IN ARKLIN`S HONOR (see text)
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Feb 22, 1998|
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