Los Angeles

What Other Businesses Can Los Angeles Destroy? What About Trash Haulers?

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We should probably be surprised businesses were allowed to choose in the first place.
Credit: p.Gordon / Foter / CC BY

Los Angeles City Council has voted to seize the local private business/large apartment trash hauling industry, take control of it, and sell off exclusive contracts to those it deems appropriate. The word "seize" is not used, of course, but instead it's all being sold as a recycling and landfill-use reduction plan. It takes the Los Angeles Times nine paragraphs to get past the environmental back-patting to explain what's actually going on:

Currently, landlords for businesses and apartments choose between competing businesses to haul their trash. Under the new "exclusive franchise" system, Los Angeles will be divided up into 11 zones. Haulers will bid for city contracts giving them the exclusive right to collect garbage in each zone.

The new system is hitched to environmental standards: To be eligible to win each zone, haulers would have to provide separate bins for recycling and use "clean fuel" vehicles, among other ecologically friendly requirements.

The plan is backed by environmentalists and labor groups, who say the system is the best way to help Los Angeles meet its goal of diverting 90% of its trash from landfills. Activists say the system will also mean fewer trucks crisscrossing city streets and safer conditions for workers in a dangerous industry.

The city is turning a private competitive service into a monopoly. The Times does note that the proposal puts unions and environmentalists against business and private property:

Business groups say the new system will put small haulers out of business and ultimately drive up rates.

"The environmental benefits are subterfuge for an effort to organize an industry that the unions couldn't organize themselves," Central City Assn. of Los Angeles president and CEO Carol Schatz told The Times last week.

Indeed, labor unions were chanting "Si se puede" ("Yes, it can be done") outside the council meeting after the vote passed. Those union folks really, truly care a lot about the environment, eh?

Only one council member voted against the new regulation, Bernard C. Parks. He was also the only council member to vote against the city's pointless plastic bag ban. Reason TV and Kennedy interviewed him in 2012. He was concerned this new trash plan would harm small businesses. A head of a local commerce association predicts the new monopolies could drive more than 100 small haulers out of business and suggested the city could require environmental and recycling policies among private haulers without resorting to exclusive contracts.

Speaking of small businesses being harmed in Los Angeles, the city is still shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries that don't fall under the city's protection racket put in place by a local ballot initiative. The Los Angeles Daily News notes the city is also extracting fines from and charging landlords who rent to unauthorized pot dispensaries, even though the city is still causing confusion by sending out tax certificates to applicants that don't qualify to do business in the city. These certificates are then being shown to landlords as evidence that the dispensary is legal, even if it's not.

(Hat tip to Cato's Walter Olson)

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  1. Oh, I wouldn’t do that. The mob doesn’t take kindly to such things.

    1. Yeah, isn’t waste disposal mobbed up on the west coast like it is out east?

      1. If it wasn’t before, it is now.

    2. What makes you think the mob isn’t behind this? Who do you think is going to get those contracts, anyway?

      The big national firms will be denigrated as “multi-national corporations”, much chinstroking and backslapping will be done in the name of “supporting local business”, and the contracts will all go to mobbed up/unionized (but I repeat myself) haulers.

  2. Man, an entire state built on labor unions and public sector unions. Upton Sinclair would be proud.

  3. Haulers will bid for city contracts…

    Sure, let’s call it a bid.

  4. the system will also mean fewer trucks crisscrossing city streets

    Yeah. They’re like roaches. They’re EVERYONE.

    Man, what ridiculous claptrap.

    1. (EVERYWHERE…sigh…maybe someday preview will return)

  5. But will they make the trash trucks run on time?

    How the hell can anybody look at something like this and not realize that this government is a racket?

  6. There is no such thing as Peak Derp.

  7. The plan is backed by environmentalists and labor groups

    [insert expostulation of surprise]

    1. They wanted their racket but they had to give a “good” reason to have it, so there it is. They convinced some lefty groups to support it for the right reasons, and viola, instant racket.

      1. And when “fewer trucks” means that the trash starts stacking up and the stink gets worse the environmentalists will be utterly surprised, and blame capitalism.

      2. And the unions will mandate that the “fewer trucks” require the same number of (unionized) drivers and loaders plus more (unionized) dispatchers and cleaners.

  8. Why would you want to divert trash from landfills? There’s already enough of it in the Pacific Ocean. If they think that all of that diverted trash is going to get recycled they’re fooling themselves.

  9. It’s great how a City will just invent a “goal” (rapturously pushed by a tiny minority of environmentalists who already receycle and compost everything) and then force the whole populace to comply [or at least to pay for a vain attempt at it].

    Portland did the same sort of stupid thing last year (not the monopoly – sadly we already had that); the City decided that we didn’t ‘need’ weekly trash pickup, but we could graciously pay the same price for half the service.

    But they gave us little composting buckets.

    I, of course, immediately voted in the next Mayoral election for anyone opposed to that.

    Being Portland, he lost.

    1. Wow. Trash sits for up to two weeks in Portland?

      The stench must be, err, impressive.

    2. Portland.

  10. The Los Angeles Daily News notes the city is also extracting fines from and charging landlords who rent to unauthorized pot dispensaries, even though the city is still causing confusion by sending out tax certificates to applicants that don’t qualify to do business in the city. These certificates are then being shown to landlords as evidence that the dispensary is legal, even if it’s not.

    Just because a business is illegal doesn’t mean government shouldn’t tax it.

  11. So they are “nationalizing” private industry just to “privatize” it again in the public-private sense. Taking a business from one and giving exclusive rights to another. What is the word…

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