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.
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