Should City's Garbage Contract Be Trashed?

Categories: Politics
City Budget Analyst Says Question Should Be Put to Voters

Plastic bags.jpg
Should the city's garbage contract go here?
Thanks to a 1932 law, for 79 years only one company has been allowed to pick up and transport garbage on San Francisco streets. In a new report, San Francisco's Budget and Legislative Analyst recommends putting the law to the voters, so they can decide whether to scrap the old garbage contract and put a new one out to bid.

"If I were Recology, I would be nervous about the board seeking voter approval for a contract that would be put out to bid," said Marcus Young, a lobbyist for Waste Management Inc., a competitor. "Waste Management is eager to reconsider its relationship to San Francisco."

Recology is seeking to expand its reach by taking over the long-haul trucking and landfill storage end of San Francisco's garbage operation, which is now handled by Waste Management. On Wednesday, a Board of Supervisors committee will vote on a Department of the Environment proposal for Recology to transport our garbage to a Yuba City landfill 130 miles away, rather than taking it to Waste Management's Altamont landfill 55 miles to the east, where our trash has been going for the last 20 years.

In analyzing the new landfill proposal, budget analyst Harvey Rose recommended throwing the entire contracting process into the waste bin.

According to the report:

The City's Refuse Collection and Disposal Ordinance of 1932 has resulted in Recology becoming the City's permanent and exclusive refuse collection firm, without Recology ever having undergone the City's normal competitive bidding process.
Getting rid of Recology's monopoly would entail a vote by the Board of Supervisors on whether to place an initiative on the ballot, allowing voters to decide whether to dump the 1932 law. Then the entire garbage pickup, hauling, and landfill contract could be put out to a new bid.

The Budget and Legislative Analyst believes that such a firm should be selected through the City's normal competitive bidding process. Therefore, a policy altemative for consideration by the Board of Supervisors includes submitting a proposition to the voters to (a) repeal the City's existing Refuse Collection and Disposal Ordinance of 1932, such that future refuse collection and transportation services would be required to be awarded by the City under the City's normal competitive process, and (b) require that refuse collection rates for both residential and commercial services be subject to Board of Supervisors approval.
We asked Recology spokesman Adam Alberti what would be wrong with putting the garbage contract out to bid.

"We believe the current system in place provides the best option for San Francisco," he said.

Okay. So then what's wrong with putting the city's garbage contract out to bid?

"Right now, the garbage contract is not a contract. It's a charter agreement, and it can't be put out to bid," he said.

Okay. So what would be wrong with making it so the contract could be put out to bid?

"The debate about whether the system works or not, is a debate we'd be happy to have," he said. "But we feel that debate is afield of the issue now at hand."


Shall I just write that you refuse to answer the question? What would be wrong with putting the contract out to bid?


"Legally, the problem would be that the city and county would not have the authority to do so. Practically, we believe that the sytem in place, it would be the superior choice for the ratepayers, and ultimately it's a board policy matter on how they would proceed," said Alberti -- who, for the record, refused to answer the question.

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14 comments
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Ari
Ari

I guess putting the contract out to bid is a good thing, in principle. If the price is the only concern. I'm not any company could offer anything much cheaper and certainly not offer Sunset Scavenger's quality service.If you want an outside waste company doing the job, with low-paid workers, and Texa-style management, you'll likey regret it. What you want next? Wal-Marts replacing our local businesses too?

Sally28025
Sally28025

All of the comments against Recology are from managers at Waste Management.Waste is a crooked company ! What part of WE VOTED TWICE ALREADY do you not understand ?

hosted shopping cart
hosted shopping cart

If residents were truly getting the best deal then they wouldn't mind putting this contract out to bid. And kudos to the Budget and Legislative Analyst for protecting the interests of the taxpayers and recommending a competitive bidding process.

thinkaboutit
thinkaboutit

Sending our waste 130+ miles to agricultural fertile land makes about as much sense as creating a landfill in our bay. We get a our food, that we eat, and goes into our bodies, from the upper central valley...It does not make sense to put a landfill 1/2 mile from this rich land.

____
____

Whoa! Never knew that. Besides most of our recyclables are being scavenged by vultures that go around in converted pickups blatantly and flagrantly taking bottles and cardboard boxes who actually does a better and more efficient job plus no need to worry about health care or pension! That also means these guys have no insurance in case they run someone down.

ground penetrating radar
ground penetrating radar

This has already gone to the voters at least twice, and both times the voters of San Francisco overwhelmingly wanted to keep the current garbage company.

shopping cart software
shopping cart software

Its been voted twice before as well from people, and each time the people who voted from San Francisco wanted to keep the current garbage company.

Elarkin331
Elarkin331

Thank you SF Weekly for at least trying to get Recology to answer to your question. If residents were truly getting the best deal then they wouldn't mind putting this contract out to bid. And kudos to the Budget and Legislative Analyst for protecting the interests of the taxpayers and recommending a competitive bidding process.

h. brown
h. brown

You got yourself a serious pair,

I'll go out on a limb here and say that more than likely ... more than likely, the Mob hauls our trash. Screw with them and you'll end up 'down in the dumps' yourself.

Not that we shouldn't.

Like I said, you got a pair.

Now, let's see you go after King Security.

Nation of Islam can be fun too.

Go Giants!

h.

Richmondman
Richmondman

This has already gone to the voters at least twice, and both times the voters of San Francisco overwhelmingly wanted to keep the current garbage company. We have the highest diversion rate in the country. We get the best service. And you want to give that to the Board of Supervisors to decide? No thanks - a third time.

Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson

MolokoPlus, your theories of economics are way off...when a company puts in a super low bid just to get the work, means that they have to sacrifice something somewhere, either it is in the service or cutting corners. It all ends badly for the residents, the company, and the City. Keep the contract as is. Waste Management seems to have been doing a great job in my opinion.

SBP
SBP

Agreed Greg but Recology is the existing provider

CenterSF
CenterSF

SBP and Greg, actually, Recology has the collection contract currently, mandated by a 1932 Charter that allows them to hold a monopoly on collection in San Francisco - allowing them to have the contract for disposal will simply just close their loop and the noose around the neck of ratepayers of San Francisco. Waste Management has the contract for the disposal (landfill) and has had it for the past 20 years. A long time, until you realize how cheep it is. I guess if Recology could at least be honest about what they are up to it would not be a big deal, but interesting that the Budget Analyst is the guy to point out that maybe having a monopoly on collection is not in the best interest of the City or the residents and businesses here. Rates are not subject to an elected body oversight - which means as a resident you do not have much say as to the rates you are being charged. In a city that looks for three bids before it buys pens, you would imagine that a multi-million dollar contract might be held to the same standard.

MolokoPlus
MolokoPlus

These pigs have had a monopoly on our business for way too long.Let's open this up for competition and let the market decide.The people of San Francisco will benefit from improved service and lower rates, regardless of which company wins the opportunity to serve us.

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