In Leona's chapter, she tells us how she takes it upon herself to force the local government to tidy up the lot and clear away all of the garbage that are preventing the residents from making the most of the lot to build and develop their gardens. Leona tells us that due to the unique educational situation that her children face everyday, she is no stranger to contacting officials and getting them to act:
I've got two kids in a high school that has more guns than books, so I know all about complaining to officials and such about things that need changing.
After trying to contact the relevant authorities and being passed on from department to department, Leona decides to go in person to the Public Health Department to describe face to face the kind of trash that covers the lot. When she is told to sit down and wait until she can be seen Leona reveals her secret weapon. She has brought some of the garbage from the lot with her, and opens the bag whilst she waits:
The smell that came out of it made you think of hog pens and maggots and kitchen scraps from back when Nixon was president. It was amazing how quick people noticed it, including the receptionist.
Thus it is that Leona uses the garbage from the lot to force the Public Health Department to clean up the garbage.
Initially, Leona arrives at the lot on Gibb Street in hopes of planting some goldenrod in memory of her deceased grandmother. When she discovers that there is trash everywhere, Leona decides to call Cleveland's government officials and institutions regarding the removal of trash from the lot. After several days of calling, Leona finally decides to walk into the Public Health Department in person to complain about the abundance of trash in the lot on Gibb Street. She cleverly brings a bag of garbage that she collected from the lot with her into the Public Health Department. The smell is overwhelming and gets the attention of the receptionist and the officials working in their offices. They quickly take notice of Leona and agree to meet with her immediately. Leona uses the garbage from the lot to her advantage by bringing it into the Public Health Department, which allows her to gain the attention of public officials, who have the authority and resources to clean up the lot.