I may be a little strange, but I would gladly trade the sound of trash trucks coming at all hours of all days to one pickup time with recycling services as part of the deal. I guess I'm not going to be joining the Tea Party in Arizona anytime soon though, since they are very, very upset about the change from four or five services to one:
Currently, Fountain Hills' 25,000 residents can choose between five different collectors. Under the new system, the community has hired a single trash collector to meet the town's garbage hauling needs, collection days will be reduced to once-a-week, and curbside recycling services will be added.
Tea Party groups have come out strongly against the measure. The Republic reports some people have dubbed it "trashcare," as if it were the local, municipal waste-related cousin of "Obamacare." Fliers were distributed that read "The Hills Will Have Eyes," and which raised the specter of a "Fountain Hills Green Police" poking around citizens' garbage bins. On its website, Arizona Campaign for Liberty warned that "The Fountain Hills Mayor & Town Council is attempting to restrict resident's choice in trash services by forcing residents into a single payer system!" The Fountain Hills Tea Party's website reads, "Once more, government is trying to interfere with free market economics."
Here's the text of the Arizona Campaign for Liberty open letter:
With an unprecedented economic crisis threatening the fabric of how many people live, work, and visit in Arizona, there's an important issue brewing within Fountain HIlls that has yet to receive widespread attention.
Following in the footsteps of other communities, the Town of Fountain Hills is attempting to squelch competition and authoritatively restrict consumer choice in sanitation services.
Opponents of the free-market would have a hard time arguing with the fact that only capitalism could create a situation where companies fight for the honor to haul away and dispose of your least wanted stuff: your family's garbage and waste.
With multiple companies fighting for the compensation associated with this unpleasant task, one would naturally assume that - as with any competitive industry - standards of service remain high and prices stay low.
Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Fountain Hills, that system may soon be dead.
Large multinational corporations are pushing now to change the bid requirement criteria regarding certain town contracts, unscrupulously restricting smaller companies from participating in the process. Similar to much-maligned "no bid contracts" on the Federal level, these interventions in the free market servce to only ensure the favored bidders win.
The endgame to this market meddling has the potential to put locally-based small businesses in the crosshairs of large multinational corporations - with the town providing the bullets.
How ironic is it to have the Tea Party -- handmaidens of large corporate interests -- shouting about large corporate interests? I decided to have a look at what the current options are now. Here's the list as shown on the Fountain Hills city website:
About those choices:
ABCO Recycling and Waste Management Services - A subsidiary of D'Andrea Industries, Inc. owned by Nick D'Andrea of Phoenix, AZ.
D & L Disposal, Inc. -
Red Mountain Rubbish Removal/AJ Waste - Some sites list this service as an affiliate of Allied Waste Services.
ValleyWaste - Their website, http://www.valleywaste.com/ redirects to Waste Management's "find a facility" site.
The city council chose Allied Waste Services, a subsidiary of Republic Services, Inc. headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. Republic Services has a long-standing reputation for spreading around campaign contribution love, particularly with local and state-level campaigns rather than federal. But what they spend is peanuts compared to Waste Management, one of the two original service providers who now is not. And who has Waste Management spent lots of money on at the Federal level? That's right, none other than John McCain, who has received nearly three times the contributions as the next-nearest beneficiary, Harry Reid.
More fundamentally, Waste Management is Wayne Huizenga's biggest success. Huizenga, who also owns the Miami Dolphins, was one of the deep pockets for Florida's Governor-Elect Rick Scott, a Tea Party endorsee.
See? This isn't really about big corporate interests coming in and stomping on free enterprise. The Tea Party in Arizona is only upset that their guy didn't get the contract. That's all.