Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trashcare, Fountain Hills Arizona

So, the HuffPo and the MSM, in yet another attempt to make the Tea Partiers look funny and weird, in that "crazy aunt" kind of way, post an article about those crazy kids and how they are making a fuss because their city is taking over trash collection.  And friends of mine on Facebook took up the meme.  And truly, if all you read was the HuffPo article, which said: 
..."Fountain Hills Town Council proposed hiring a single trash hauler and starting a curbside recycling program. On Thursday, a divided council approved the changes -- currently there's no mandatory recycling program and residents can choose from five haulers -- but not before the local Tea Party activists loudly objected to what they viewed as, essentially, a step toward socialism."...
you might think that the protests were a tempest in a teapot.  However, what the article does not say is that the folks in Fountain Hills, Arizona, all privately contracted their waste removal with the five different companies in the area--the city was not previously involved in the trash removal business other than mandating that it be twice a week or once a week plus a recycling pickup once a week (Town Code Chapter 10).

What actually happened is the city passed an ordinance making it illegal for citizens to privately contract with the waste hauler of their choice by mandating that citizens use the city's chosen contractor AND mandating that citizens recycle.  And, oh yeah, they'll be poking through 25% of the populace's garbage to ensure that things are getting recycled.  (Hmmm... a government entity requiring that individuals purchase a service through them....  sounds oddly familiar somehow).  Read it at the link above.

In any case, after I tried to correct the Facebook meme, the comments I was getting back were along the lines of 'well if it will save the town money..' and 'recycling is good so it's worth the loss of a bit of freedom'.  And I'm just dumbfounded.  These are not dumb people.  But they can't see that a town intervening itself into what was previously private enterprise PLUS incurring enforcement costs is not going to ultimately save the town any money.  Nor is mandated recycling since I believe right now the going rate for pop/soda cans is $0.11/POUND (corrected from ton, thanks to Himself), which means that just transportation costs are more than what the product is worth.  So they must be getting subsidies, which puts it onto the backs of the taxpayers again.  So maybe it is saving the town, as an entity, money, but not the citizens of the town.  Oh, and to reiterate, recycling was available before, it was just optional.

And then there is the whole mindset that it's worth it to have people poking through your garbage because it's going to 'save the planet'.  These are the same people who are slamming on John Shimkus for his belief in the Bible.  What really is the difference between a belief that Mother Gaia will get angry and destroy us if we don't recycle and a belief that God already did once for being really bad?

With the rate that I'm pounding my head against an ideological wall with these folks, I'm hoping that Himself laid in a good supply of spackle for wall repair.

1 comment:

Mr.B said...

The issues with this are many:

Forced purchase of a service. (it is not like I can decide to use another service, or haul my trash myself)

Forced purchase from a mandated supplier.

Restraint of trade.

Restraint of competition.

Forced recycling.

It would be one thing if the city had been the provider of garbage service and had merely privatized the service.

IF the city had mandated that recycling pickup be available to those citizens of the community, but to make it required and enforced?

I see lawsuits....many.