I blame Sacramento for the trash.
In more ways than one, Sacramento does create a lot of stuff suitable for the landfill. The City Council is right to look into privatizing trash collection. There are several things that are driving this, besides the obvious that our leaders are doing their job and trying to provide necessary services for the least cost possible, which they should be applauded for.
This move to privatize has been in the making for a couple of years. The straw that breaks the camel’s back are requirements from Sacramento like AQMD rule 1193 and the passage of AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This Schwarzenegger signed bill is an attempt to reduce so called greenhouse gases and we are starting to feel the ramifications of this ill-conceived law.
First let me state that I am what the environmentalists would refer to as a “denier,” because I do NOT believe in “man-made global warming.”
You too can become a denier by understanding FOUR inconvENIENT Truths:
· First, the temperature has gone down 1 degree (C) since 1990 hence the reason that the doomsayers have changed the terminology to “Climate Change” – a very brilliant maneuver, I might add since it covers all outcomes.
· Second, the most common “greenhouse gas” is water vapor, which the polar bear crowd ignores in their save the earth legislation.
· Third, “man-made” global warming is miniscule. Nature produces much more CO2 through a single volcanic eruption than is produced by all of man’s “evil” use of fossil fuel in over 100 years.
· Fourth, even if global warming is occurring, many people suggest that it may help the environment, not hurt it. The growing season is longer, more food is produced, and less people die from freezing.
But this may be a lengthier discussion for a future column.
Carbon Taxes are Here.
Sacramento still requires major investment to comply with the bogus “science” of AB 32 which is designed to create a carbon tax. Rule 1193 requires that trucks like our trash trucks have to be upgraded to low emissions vehicles. What that means in the case of trash trucks is they have to be converted to natural gas.
The costs for buying a new fleet of city trash trucks is significant (millions) so our first installment towards the carbon tax now has to be paid.
Unfunded Pension Liabilities
You hear “unfunded pension liabilities” thrown around a lot. That is because, according to the Register, the city owes CALPERS (the state retirement fund) over $350 million for current employee pensions. That is because Newport is not paying the full amount required today for those $200,000 life guards to retire at age 50, and CALPERS is “loaning” Newport money every month.
The reason that Newport Beach has the highest unfunded pension liabilities per capita than any other city in the county is because Newport has the highest number of staff and staff salary per capita than any other city in the county. Newport has in-house trash collection, in-house utility workers, in-house life guards, and other employees that most other cities don’t have.
So by privatizing trash collection, the vendor will pay for the new compliant trucks, hire their own employees, pay the salaries and pensions, and still stay competitive with other trash haulers, which benefit the taxpayer.
If Newport’s privatization of the street sweeping two years ago is any indication, Newport could literally have better service while saving millions.
Concierge Trash Service
One of the options that are being considered is using GPS technology to be able to cater to customers allowing them to choose different levels of service. If, for instance, you wanted to pay extra and have the trash hauler get your cans from behind the fence and return them when done, you can. So you can pay for whatever level of service you want.
So Newport can be the 33rd city out 34 cities countywide to outsource trash. A better service for less cost–sounds like a great idea, long time coming.
Scott Peotter is an Architect and former Planning Commissioner in Newport Beach. Scott can be reached at [email protected].