Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beware: The government is coming for your trash. St. Louis County Not Alone in this Problem

Most of us, it’s safe to say, don’t care who picks up our trash, as long it gets picked up.

But as St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley found out over the past couple of years, some people care very deeply about their trash haulers. Locally, most of them live in South County, where the bulk of the opposition to Mr. Dooley’s consolidated “trash districts” came from. As Dooley said during his election campaign, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." The County's trash program was not broke, but Dooley fixed it costing residents into the millions with million dollar lawsuits still pending.

The plan gives exclusive collection rights in specific areas to firms picked by the county, usurping the rights of individuals and neighborhood associations. It became an election issue for Mr. Dooley, a Democrat who narrowly won re-election over Republican Bill Corrigan.

This week the Arizona Republic reported that a similar plan instituted in Fountain Hills, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, had inspired members of area Tea Party associations to accuse the city council of creating a “single-payer” trash system. One resident said it marked a step toward socialism. Others compared “trashcare” to “Obamacare.”

An Arizona Valley community's decision to change the way trash is picked up provided further proof of how deeply the nation's anti-government  is running.

A decision by the Fountain Hills Town Council to hire a single trash hauler and begin a curbside recycling program has been met with angry protests from residents who accuse town leaders of overstepping their bounds and taking a leap toward socialism.

An Arizona website affiliated with the Alexandria, Va.,-based Campaign for Liberty,, features an intimidating, cigar-chomping man standing in front of the town's famous fountain next to a story about the issue.

And last week, a flier was circulated around Fountain Hills with an ominous icon and the phrase, "The Hills Will Have Eyes," and that claimed the "Fountain Hills Green Police" checked residents' garbage and recyclables, and as a result, "you are wanted for questioning."

On Thursday, a divided council approved a five-year contract with Allied Waste Services to be the single hauler and begin a recycling program. Residents currently can choose among five haulers and the town has no curbside recycling.

That single issue generated a nearly five-hour public hearing and council debate that went past midnight.

Peter Bardow, an opponent, said the issue isn't about politics, but about taking away his and other residents' right to choose their own trash hauler. "I feel like you're forcing homeowners-association regulation and homeowners-association enforcement on me," he said.

The Fountain Hills posted this announcement on its website in advance of Thursday's meeting: "7 people will decide who will provide your trash collection services and take away your ability to choose that on your own. If you don't like government telling you what to do, show up at the meeting and voice your opposition. If it's not broken, don't let government try to fix it."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:13 PM

    The common denominator seems to be Allied. Are they trying for a nationwide monopoly? How much did St. Louis County cost them Charlie?