Letters to the Editor

Trash penalty

October 12, 2011


To the editor:

Reading about plans to reorganize the city’s trash service perplexed me. To impose only this option on Lawrence residents seems inflexible, unjust and economically unsound in troubled financial times.

I’m upset because I’m a dedicated recycler. I manage my recycling needs at no expense. As a composter and recycler I contribute no more than two small bags of trash to the landfill every month. Now I’ll be penalized for having less trash. Now I’ll be forced to accept these two large, unsightly bins I don’t have room for and pay increased fees for the displeasure. If the recycling bin does not accept all forms of recyclables, I’ll need to continue my usual recycling routine, only now I’ll get to pay YOU for that. At the rate of one or two small bags per month it could take most of a year to fill that bin. It seems pointless to haul that big thing to the curb with only one small bag in it – if there is a bag that week. Hence, I’ll get to pay more for trash that won’t be picked up for months! Go figure.

How long will it take the city to recoup the cost of those bins and trucks? What about the local recycling businesses? What about people who can’t manage that big bin alone? I am all for promoting recycling, but residents should have choice for the configuration of their trash and recycling needs. This sounds a bit totalitarian.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

"This sounds a bit totalitarian."

Using the word "totalitarian" shows that you're getting a bit carried away. You're only talking about trash collection, not any sort of change of government or of civil rights.

David Reynolds 6 years, 7 months ago

Ron, we are exactly discussing the rights of the individual. When ever government, at any level, writes a law or ordinance it takes away some freedom.

Catherine's position is like many others. They are being responsible based on their individual values. The government is acting in a Totalitarian manner when it presumes it knows best and seeks to legislate behavior. Additionally, under the ideas discussed, there would be fees charges & a great cost to the city to implement the proposal.

The Task Force is in essence demanding we all heel to their demands. But what did we suspect would happen when Aron assembled this Task Force. He assembled 11 people, 9 of which are committed environmentalists.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

to·tal·i·tar·i·an/tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēən/ Adjective:
Of or relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state. Noun:
A person advocating such a system of government.

Discussing trash collection does not even come close to this. True, you could say some freedoms might be taken away.

But in the same sense, you are not given the freedom to not shovel the snow off your sidewalks, and I'm not given the right to throw my trash out my car window as I drive past your house. Is that totalitarian? To some people, the answer is yes.

For some, not being allowed to throw their trash out their car window into your yard as they drive by is a terrible inconvenience that they can't be bothered with. There has to be a balance struck between the rights of the individual with the rights of the collective society.

If you don't like the trash collection system here, you certainly do have the option to move to another city where the trash collection is more to your liking. The United States is certainly not totalitarian in that fashion.

The only claim I made was that the point she was making came nowhere near the dictionary definition of "totalitarian".

But, a lot of people make up new definitions of words all the time, so she's certainly not alone.

David Reynolds 6 years, 7 months ago

Ron, not in the absolute sense of the word. But from what they have said so far sounds very dictatorial..."you have to pay for it whether you recycle or not" (paraphrase). The issue boils down to this, as I see the situation: "what problem is the task force supposed to solve versus the dictates coming from it"?

From the discussion it seems the citizens think they are doing just fine without city dictates. Thus, is the task force pursuing a solution to a problem that does not exist? If so then the task force is pursuing its own agenda & not considering the values of the majority of citizens.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

The only thing I mentioned in my original posting here was about the: "absolute sense of the word. "

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 7 months ago

And I see you have posted this on all of them. Who died and made you the judge?

Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

"This sounds a bit totalitarian."

Where were you when various legislatures penned laws telling business owners they cannot smoke in buildings they own, even if they are the only person in the building or drive without wearing a seat belt? You're a little late jumping on the bandwagon of anti-totalitarianism.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 7 months ago

Liberal things work great until a liberal is effected themselves.

skinny 6 years, 7 months ago

If the City of Lawrence does try and charge those who don't use this service I can see a lawsuit coming!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

If someone has the money to hire a lawyer. Not one is going to take this case on a contingency fee, and anyone that can do mathematics would realize that the trash could be collected for decades for the legal fees required in an attempt to get out of paying the trash collection charge.

And of course, there's quite likely to be a possible countersuit from the city later. That wouldn't be at all difficult for the city to collect, they'd just add it to your property tax.

Then, if you don't pay that, your property will be sold at a sheriff's sale on the courthouse steps.

Worth it?

LadyJ 6 years, 7 months ago

"If the City of Lawrence does try and charge those who don't use this service I can see a lawsuit coming!" The city does it all the time, we are all charged for services we don't use. When a property has no active water service, the property owner is still charged ($25 I believe) because a water meter is present on the property. You pay for yard waste pickup even though you may not use it.

akt2 6 years, 7 months ago

We have this kind of trash service where I live. I actually tend to like it better. The cans are heavy duty and on wheels. No finding your cans in the yard 4 houses down on windy days. They also have 2 sizes. There is a smaller version that I see curbside around town. I know it doesn't seem fair to some, but it's hardly worth losing sleep over.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Pay as you throw is the way to go = users pay accordingly = make it pay for itself then reduce my taxes. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/tools/payt/

Then leave the mandatory recycling to the consumers including their choice of recycler...

David Reynolds 6 years, 7 months ago

Merrill do you really think this will save you tax dollars then you are sadly mistaken. How can the city cut your taxes when they increase their capitol outlay to buy the barrels or if they ever lay anyone off. Do you think for a minute if the city latex off even 20 employees we would see a reduction in taxes?

How can mandatory recycling be anything but a tax increase especially if it is not used by most people?

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