After decades of debate over the fairness of the “people’s ordinance” — the 1919 voter-approved city law that guarantees trash pickup for single-family homes without separate fees — members of the San Diego City Council have placed Measure B before voters who would begin a process that could lead to major revisions. Two essays here weigh in on the issue.
Kruger is a retired journalist, neighborhood activist, and member of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. He lives in Talmadge.
How ironic that a proposed change to San Diego’s garbage collection system is actually the garbage itself.
There are a lot of measures on the November ballot, so let’s keep it simple: the “B” in Measure B stands for “Bad!” He claims to fix an admittedly unfair system, but he only makes it even more unfair. This would limit the city’s ability to be more efficient, and low- and middle-income residents of our city would be most affected by the changes proposed by Measure B.
Despite supporters’ claims, San Diego landlords — and many renters — aren’t getting “free” trash pickup. We — the taxpayers — already pay for this service with our property taxes, just as we pay for police protection, libraries, parks and other basic public services.
I recognize that the current system is unfair, especially to condo owners and renters who pay twice for garbage collection: first through their taxes and a second time through fees paid to private haulers.
But measure B would supposedly “fix” this inequity by forcing everyone to pay twice. So, in the name of “fairness”, measure B would penalize us all.
It does not mean anything. Why not really correct this inequity by also collecting waste from landlords and tenants of apartments, with the tax money they pay each year?
Worse still, Measure B would inflict the most pain on homeowners in our low-income neighborhoods, many of which are south of Interstate 8, including Lincoln Park, Paradise Hills, Valencia Park, Encanto, Oak Park, Emerald Hills and others. Around 78 percent of residents own or reside in single-family homes and, according to the San Diego Association of Governments, approximately 61 percent of people living in these communities are black or Hispanic.
Supporters of Measure B promise that any additional revenue from a new garbage collection fee will ‘free up’ money to pay for street and sidewalk repairs, extended hours at our libraries and centers recreation and better police and fire protection.
But we hear this false promise every time a politician wants to raise our taxes or fees.
If that were true, you’d think we’d already have the best streets in the country, pristine parks and libraries, and a nearly crime-free city.
Instead, we have a $4 billion infrastructure deficit, about $3 billion owed to the city’s retirement system, plus hundreds of millions more lost to the 101 Ash Street debacle. . This real estate fiasco — which the mayor and city council have made even worse with their misguided settlement of related lawsuits — is just the latest in a series of financial missteps that prove our elected officials need to do more to earn our trust before to ask San Diegans to pay more fees and taxes.
San Diego County Ratepayers Association close exam of measure B reveals another pitfall.
Measure B includes a clause that would also make residential waste collection a non-competitive system run by public employees forever. No private waste hauler need apply, as they would be prohibited from doing so.
Why is the city trying to create a monopoly by restricting any potential ability to provide services to the public more efficiently and affordably?
Any new fee for waste collection must include a tender for this service.
Giving union city workers a monopoly on an expanded garbage collection system is almost guaranteed to cost us more.
There is a much better way to fairly reform our garbage collection systems. I encourage you to read the analysis from the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and tell the mayor and city council to follow this plan.
The bottom line is that Measure B is really bad — for taxpayers, for low-income San Diegans, and for city operations. Throw it away with all the other trash we don’t want. Vote “no” on B!