Claremont Insider: Talkin' Trash Again

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Talkin' Trash Again

One nice thing about the City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 14: the trash controversies will be over. We hope.

If you need to catch up, our first post was here: Bait and Switch. This was followed by Claremont Trash News, and Yet More Mail.

You may recall that the Big Issue is the CPI increase buried in the two-page notice to residents. Everyone--and we mean everyone--who reads that notice fairly believes that they are reading a notice that is about an increase in (1) Commercial Sanitation Rates, (2) Multifamily Sanitation Rates, and (3) Bin Rental Rates. Readers are unanimous in believing it has nothing to do with an increase in residential rates--until someone points out the strained reading of the eye-glazing verbiage in the fourth paragraph, below the 5-point-type table:

"...In addition to the proposed rate increases listed in the above table, an annual increase to all solid waste service rates at the rate of inflation as determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is being proposed..."

Even then, because the context is Commercial and Multi-family rates (and bin rentals), and because those items were underlined in the previous paragraph, 99 people out of 100 say that the quoted sentence on CPI applies only to CPI increases on Commercial, Multi-family, and Bin rates. And remember, the key tables in the July 22 staff report (see our earlier post) specifically omitted residential rates from the CPI calculation.

The one person in 100 who doesn't agree with that, is the City staff, who seem to be digging in with the interpretation that they always intended to increase the residential rates.

However, a review of the tape of the July 22, 2008 council meeting shows that in a 32-minute presentation and discussion, no one--not Garbage Staffer Anna Sanchez, not Mayor Ellen Taylor, not City Manager Jeff Parker, not Councilmember Peter Yao, not Councilmember Corey Calaycay, and not Councilmember Linda Elderkin--said, thought aloud, or intimated, that the proposal before the Council included a CPI increase on residential rates. We have already discussed the paper staff report here with copies of the notice posted.

There are only three times in the 32-minute discussion where council even touches on the idea of a residential rate increase. See what you think after viewing this short video clip:

First, Ellen Taylor says there is no intent to increase residential trash fees, then Linda Elderkin confirms it in no uncertain terms. Finally, a lengthy discourse by Sam Pedroza is cut short by Peter Yao and Ellen Taylor who say the COLA (cost of living, another term meaning, loosely, Consumer Price Index) is attached to both Multi-family and Commercial rates. No mention of Residential, because the context is clearly increases in these two rates.

Lest you think the Insider took these out of context, the four YouTube links below give the entire discussion, cut into parts to comply with YouTube 10-minute length limitations.

part 1, 8 min 40 seconds

part 2, 8 min 15 seconds

part 3, 7 min 19 seconds

part 4, 9 min 28 seconds