Sharp Park: Supervisor Avalos vs. Golf Alliance
Garbage Rate Protest Postmortem, Part 2

Garbage Rate Protest Postmortem, Part 1




The latest outrage in bleeding the impoverished Pacifica public is an 8 percent increase in garbage rates. But this time, the public had a legal process for protesting, which ended May 23 at City Council, using the form below:

Download A Protest of Pacifica’s proposed Garbage Rate Increase

This downloadable PDF had a garbage rate protest letter to fill out, add your own comments, and send in. The garbage rate letter was for anyone whose name appears on a Recology bill and is thus entitled to a protest. Renter or property owner, it doesn't matter as long as your name, or business name, appears on the bill.

The latest rate increase takes us back to the bad old days of unaudited rate increases. That's not my opinion, it's stated by HF&H, the city's longtime consultant in waste collection matters: “Additionally, HF&H’s scope of services does not include auditing of information provided by Recology such as customer account data, tonnage data, or revenues  and expenses reported from Recology’s general ledger. Therefore, we have relied on the data provided by Recology in our analysis.”

The public is promised yearly rate increases as far as the eye can see. In an article for the Pacifica Tribune, Recology General Manager Chris Porter attempted to justify the sky-high rates paid in Pacifica: "One of the biggest contributing factors to lower residential rates is ... having a large commercial base to help cover costs." Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Until you know that residents in Montara and El Granada pay less than half of what Pacificans do:


I'll be darned, really? Funny thing is, Montara and El Granada have even LESS commercial activity than Pacifica, and are serviced by the same company with the same trucks run out of the same place on Palmetto Avenue. I'll bet it's because they have governing bodies that actually give a hoot about ratepayers and negotiate on their behalf. Pacificans get the shaft-o-rama.
If anyone thinks we can afford this type of gouging, keep in mind a few facts dug up by Pacifica Resource Center: "One in 10 Pacificans earn less than $25,000 per year. One in four (!) Pacificans are eligible for -- but often do not receive -- public and private benefits. The majority of people served by the Resource Center are single mothers and their children." Add to these stunning facts the seniors on fixed incomes who lost their senior rate on garbage collection when Recology took over, and you have a more complete picture.
Pacifica was knocked out of first place in highest residential garbage collection rates in San Mateo County only very recently by new Recology contracts in Atherton and Hillsborough. Nice to know we're in that league, eh? But our commercial rates remain among the highest in the county. So the next time you hear our elected officials talking about how they support local business, ask them why they got a no-bid contract from Recology when other carriers might have given us a better deal.


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Downloaded and sent. Thanks, Lionel. No greenwaste at the recycling yard, supposedly because no license. But now no attempt to get license. Back-to-back rate increases. Less service for more money. And a council that gave its approval, no questions asked.

The sign is up next to Pacifica Lumber.

I sent mine in today and I join those who recommend that we all protest this gouging.

That's really cute! How clever. Is it like a kid in a homemade knight outfit?

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is obviously the work of a dark knight.)

In Montara and Moss Beach, our locally elected Montara Water and Sanitary District negotiates our garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup rates. If San Mateo County negotiated our garbage rates, they would probably be higher than Pacifica's.

Only in Pacifica, you have a long list of people coming to City Council to talk about the Snowy Plover and no one come to talk out against the high sewer tax and water & garbage bills.

Vince, according to city official Ann Ritzma, 40 percent of Pacifica Recology customers went down to a 20-gallon can. That, of course, means that 60 percent did not and are paying higher and higher rates. And if future annual rate increases (the next one is in January 2012) are in the 8 percent range as the current one is, you can do the math and see it won't be long before you'll be back up there in price with your smaller garbage can.

The reason Coastside Scavenger was replaced was that it collapsed financially, owing the city $800,000 in unpaid franchise fees. Because the city didn't demand an audit, we'll never really learn the true reason for the collapse. The city seems to want to avoid audits.

My rate went down when Recology took over as I did not take its recommended can size (I went smaller than the previous one), and found I threw more into the compost and recycle bin. I noticed all of my neighbors with similar size houses all took the smaller can as well. I wonder if enough people did the same and it affected the projected income of Recology. I still for the life of me don't understand why Coastside was kicked out, and really thought it was due to some sort of price gouging. So we now will pay more, for not having a recycle yard, having unsorted recycle, which means less of it is actually recycled, but more compost removal.

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