A Trash Proposal That Stinks

Gary Toebben

November 13, 2012

Tomorrow the L.A. City Council is poised to vote on a new system of waste collection that will affect every commercial and multi-family property owner in Los Angeles and millions of businesses and residents. 

With new state mandates for waste reduction and recycling, some opportunists saw an opening to generate more revenue and reduce the number of trash haulers in the City by moving from the current open permit system to a franchise system.

The exclusive franchise system that the City Council will consider tomorrow would:

  • Abandon our market-driven, competitive system and the ability of individual businesses to choose their own hauler, and give that decision making power to the City;
  • Eliminate more than 100 small and family-owned businesses;
  • Increase rates for businesses and multi-family homes;
  • Create a new city bureaucracy while struggling to staff public safety, libraries and sidewalks.

Nearly 75 percent of all commercial trash is already recycled in Los Angeles. The Chamber and the business community support the implementation of a non-exclusive franchise system that would allow all haulers who meet a certain set of criteria to compete for your business. However, organized labor and environmental interests have used the Bureau of Sanitation to propose an exclusive franchise system, which ignores the extensive nuances and specialty needs of waste collection and severely limits the haulers that can participate.  

The City's top fiscal and policy analyst, Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, has made it clear that every stated policy goal and benefit, which the City hopes to achieve, can be accomplished through a non-exclusive franchise without the negative outcomes of an exclusive franchise. Maximizing waste diversions, requiring cleaner trucks and promoting safe working conditions are goals that the business community supports and would be achieved under a non-exclusive franchise.

In fear of this new plan, industry groups and non-profit organizations are lobbying for exemptions so they can maintain the trash haulers with whom they currently contract and avoid cost increases, bureaucracy and possible reductions in service. How right can a policy be if it requires a Swiss cheese of exemptions from the outset?

The City Council has the opportunity to say no to this folly and still achieve all of its stated environmental goals with a non-exclusive system. The effort to hijack your money and more than 100 small and family-owned businesses will take place tomorrow at City Hall at 10 a.m. The Chamber will be there speaking out for businesses, residents and common sense. 

And that's The Business Perspective

Total Votes: 1 Avg Vote: 1


It's simple. A vote for an exclusive franchise is a message that L.A. is not business friendly and that the L.A. Council is decidedly anti-business. Just more of the same "in-the-pocket" union favoritism. As one of the small haulers who stands to be shut out of our ability to collect recycling in L.A. for small to medium-sized customers, it seems a little strange that I'll probably have to lay off hard working employees with families (after 23 years in business) when it seems like employment should be a big deal here more than ever.
Posted by: Tom Wheeler @ 5:40:00 pm

Sweetheart deals are just around the corner when the City Council assumes this much control. But, then, there was just such a deal supported by the Chamber on Farmers Field. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Posted by: Pan Optic @ 4:56:00 pm

I'm the treasurer of a small HOA. This takes away my leverage for negotiating better rates and pickup days. For years we had one of the major haulers and they were inflexible and unprofessional. They believed the customer existed for their benefitn not the other way around. By going to a smaller hauler I was able to negotiate a 30+% drop in my rate and get an extra pickup day. Under this new proposal i'll lose this ability and be stuck once again with one of the larger, poor service haulers.
Posted by: Jim Toomey @ 4:23:00 pm

Thank you for standing up for small businesses. It is hard enough to compete without all the regulation and rules that favor one group or another. We are being taxed to death and opportunities that once were available to all are being offered to a few and the rest of us are not even invited to the party. It seems like Los Angeles doesn't want small businesses to succeed. Thanks again for being our voice.
Posted by: Susan Morris @ 2:51:00 pm

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