Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BUSINESS-FRIENDLY? Letter to the Editor

All of you struggling business owners in Pacifica will be happy to know that our city council is looking out for you. Yes, they have known for three years that in addition to the highest rates for residential garbage collection, our commercial rates are also the highest in the county. They know this because of a survey published in Nov. 2006 and reviewed at Special Council Meeting on March 7, 2007.
I’ve heard business people here complain about the cost of dumpsters and debris boxes for years. I wondered if they weren’t justa buncha weenie whiners. Well, turns out they’re right!
To pick up one cubic yard of debris once a week would cost you (in 2007) $237.97 in Pacifica. That’s 136% more than the county average ($100.50), and 300% more than the lowest rate ($59.12 in Menlo Park).
Now I know, we got bad roads, and lotsa trees, which are magically enchanted and sprinkle pixie dust down on the eyes of the truck drivers, and other good excuses lying around everywhere.
But fear not, our city council is coming to the rescue. Last Monday (2-8-10) they approved a new garbage contract. They’re going to help us, right? They’re going to – uh, raise rates. That’s right, the solution is to raise rates. Don Eagleston, the Chamber of Commerce guy, stood up and said what a great deal this was for Pacifica. I thought the Chamber was a pro-business organization? Shows you what I know.
Well, there are winners in this deal for sure!
Winner #1: Louis Picardo, who ran up a bad debt to the City of Pacifica of almost $850,000, and gets let off the hook by Recology, the new franchisee, paying off the debt to the city.
Winner #2: Recology, which gets a no-bid contract that’s probably the richest in the county, through higher rates.
Winner #3: The city of Pacifica, which takes 11 percent off the top of gross revenues and will rake in even more as rates rise again (August 2010) and again (March 2011).
Like I said to a fellow business owner the other day: "How’s it feel to be an ATM?"
Lionel Emde


Kathleen Rogan said...

Let's get the citizens to campaign against this and everyone together STOP PAYING THEIR GARBAGE BILL. We can do this. LET'S PICKET AGAINST THEM. This is such bullshit. Fricken raping the people. More raping to come.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

great letter, Lionel. Just remember that every dollar the city gets from raising fees and taxes is another excuse not to grow an actual economy.

Kathy Meeh said...

Kathleen, Coastside isn't the problem, again city council management is. One of the problems is not developing for a commercial base, even with the new contract a 20 gallon can is will be about $21 monthly, a 30 gallon can about $32 monthly. In August we will receive new cans, all the recycles go into one can, the pick-up operation will be automated.

As for Coastside, the city has been hostile during the past 6 years causing their losses. And during the past 2 years when people didn't pay their bill, rather than the city collecting as it had for 48 years prior (with guaranteed payment after 1 year because the debt went to county for house lien), the city transferred that late payment debt to Coastside which had paid for a collection agency, but otherwise had no recourse. Get this: what the city collects as their franchise fee is based upon what people are suppose to pay, and if they don't pay Coastside is still obliged to pay the city--so how about that?

The green waste lawsuit against Coastside 2-3 years ago was a prior verbal agreement between David Carmany, then City Manager, and seemingly worked-out over-the-table-- then the city sued.
Got to love the litigious nature of this city: legal fees cost tax payers $100,000 fees, cost Coastside $150,000, plus a judgment. Lose, lose, both these fees were paid by tax payers.

Have you had good service over a whole bunch of years, I have and no strikes. Oh, note: we also pay for trash pick-up for our entire coastline, and city trash.

Kathleen Rogan said...

Yes. I am just very frustrated with this city and the cost to live here is very expensive and families are suffering. Something needs to be done.

Richard Saunders said...

Winner #2: Recology, which gets a no-bid contract that’s probably the richest in the county, through higher rates.


Lioenl Emde said...


Yes, probably. In fact, on a per capita basis it's definite; highest residential and commercial rates.

Kathy, You're dreaming if you think it's all the city's fault. Gotta stop that "tribethink", it gets in the way of objective analysis.

Richard Saunders said...

Lionel, you state it as a fact (that's how I'm reading "it's definite").

I would appreciate an opportunity to review your evidence.

Richard Saunders said...

Just as a little background, here's a 2001-2 SF budget analysis of Norcal


It's a bit dated, but represents a somewhat comprehensive report. Norcal trashed it. The budget analyst offered to eat the report with ketchup if it was proven wrong. I didn't find any evidence of him having to eat his words.

Richard Saunders said...

The March 7, 2007 agenda and staff report


Scotty said...

Richard, it seems like you are more interested in wasting peoples' time than learning the facts. Many people have posted items with links to public sources that indicate our rates are the highest in the area. Please do your own due diligence for once, or perhaps you can post something that proves that this is not in fact the case.

Scotty said...

Kathy, don't you ever get tired of making excuses for Coastside's poor business decisions?

Richard Saunders said...

Belmont rates, October 2008

The City Council has been disenchanted with the current franchise solid waste collection agreement that was developed through the SBWMA Joint Powers Board and has expressed concerns regarding the Request for Proposal (RFP) process that is currently on-going with SBWMA. As a result, Council has provided direction to staff to explore solid waste service options outside of the process being undertaken by SBWMA. The City Council has reviewed earlier this year the report prepared by HDR/Brown, Vence & Associates, Analysis of City of Belmont Capacity to Provide Solid Waste Services, which examined the option of bringing solid waste operations in-house, using City staff and facilities. Based on that study and the recommendations of staff and the consultants, Council directed staff to pursue the option of going out to bid directly for City collection services.

This report shows current rates, and various rates they would be paying based on providing the service themselves, or using other providers.

2008: $15.61
Belmont to provide the service: $20.95
SBMWA: $17.97
Allied proposal: $19.85
Norcal proposal: $18.76

Compare to Pacifica's 20 gallon rate Lionel provided of $19.28/month.

Kathy Meeh said...

No Lionel and Scott, I never get tired of taking a different informed view from yours. I think most of us will be paying $20 for the 20 gallon garbage can, which I think is mostly happening now-- for those who pay that is.

A 20 gallon can might not work for your larger families, or with the green waste and recycling might work. Hey, it works for me, why worry about what you're doing-- some of us are just "green", others may be green with envy. Nice taking a look at Richard's Belmont chart, thanks Richard, kind of made my point. Timing is everything.

Richard Saunders said...

The PDF at the Belmont link has the other prices for other services. It looks like Belmont and Pacifica have similar rates.

In looking at the tables in Pacifica's staff report from 2007, I see some numbers where Pacifica was not the highest. I wonder if staff's idea was to emphasize how high Pacifica's rates were as leverage in the negotiations.