The Garbage Rate Hearing at City Hall.


In this City we have a population of about 780,000 it grows during the day to over a million and a quarter and more when we have events such as a baseball game and many conventions all on the same day.

It goes without saying that people produce garbage and this garbage has to go somewhere. The City and County of San Francisco has come a long way since 1932 when the City gave carte blanche rights to the earliest garbage companies. Today it has a shaky Memorandum of Understanding with every increasing mandates and regulations.

Today things are different the City and County of San Francisco negotiates the garbage rates every 5 years and in doing so too many little facets such as leases, pension, health costs, operational and maintenance costs, facilities and inventory and many more elements factor in into the garbage rates for the next 5 years and negotiations.

Norcal Waste Systems Inc. prides itself as a leading RECYCLING company and so do its employees that participate in the company's profit sharing. Norcal Waste Systems Inc. takes care of its employees and certain Memoranda of Understanding between Unions are negotiated and signed only to be discussed in bad light by those negotiating the rate increases on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco. A case in point Health Benefits as part of a larger negotiation.

The nature of those handling garbage is hard on the body and many an employee's body takes a hammering that often results in injuries and sometimes permanent disability. I know how this feels because I talk to many of the employees and understand the importance of good health insurance, workers' compensation, and pension benefits that the hard working Norcal Waste Systems, Inc. deserve.

We have to be considerate of the family of the employees and look at these issues in a Holistic manner. No employee lives in a vacuum. I have been interested in Recycling for a long time and worked hard to have a good recycling system at the Presidio of San Francisco. The recycling was done on a small scale but good enough to give me an idea of how good habits, conservation, and good planning can lead to less waste of food and materials and more recycling.

There are some issues such as grants and Impound Fees that were never clearly demarcated and when entities such as San Francisco Environment sprung up - an entity that has to be self sufficient and cannot tap into the General Funds of the City and County of San Francisco - the Impound Fees are utilized for all sorts of expenses from Full Time Employment (FTE), to some dubious expenses all linked to the hub - Impound Fees. The Department of Public Works has without impunity broken many mandates and continue to do so today - many tied to Impound Fees that should be well defined.

In future the Impound Fees will be better spent because this year it took a pounding and created turmoil of no uncertain proportions. The tax payer for sure cannot expect the garbage rates to go down more since a certain percentage or amount of tons of garbage are tied to the State goal of nearly zero waste in a couple of years. All this demands conservation and better means of recycling.

Right now San Francisco is doing good sending less then 40% to the land fills and recycling left over foods, materials such as paper, card board, aluminum, furniture, clothing, building materials, and even electronic gadgets that now come under e-materials.

Some time ago the City and County of San Francisco passed an ordinance that addressed materials from buildings that are torn down. Deconstruction has been touted for a long time as being the right thing to do and save tons of material going to the landfill. The City and County of San Francisco for the longest time ever did not encourage certain materials that could be used as in fill when fixing on roads preferring to use imported material from far off lands like Canada and Mexico. Now some of this has changed thanks to input from all concerned parties. Anyway the garbage rates increase debacle goes on at City Hall with brighter minds look at recycling, employees benefits, management expenses, leases, grants, facilities and more - all to address garbage rates so far the methodology is still being worked out and soon hopefully we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Recycling is here to stay with fewer landfills available and costs to haul materials to far off places becoming prohibitive. We should what is best for the Norcal Waste Systems, Inc. employees that do the real work and seek the fairer interests of rate payer to respect recycling and more Mother Earth.

As an Environmentalist I look at less pollution in the air, water, and land. I also care that good hard workers get good benefits and especially retirement and health benefits. For every 28 constituents this City has 1 City employee - some 26,000 earn their living in San Francisco and most of them live outside San Francisco. We pay those good salaries higher then any other comparable City and better benefits Health and Pensions. It is time we see the waste in our backyard before we pelt too many stones at the wrong entities and especially Norcal Waste Systems, Inc. and its employees that have done this City and County of San Francisco - proud.

Great Minds Consulting on Garbage Rates.

Waiting For Godot!

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