Letter: Masters, servants

February 22, 2013


To the editor:

The recent curbside recycling proposal set forth by the Lawrence city commissioners replaces a market-oriented private recycling program with a state-run monopoly recycling program managed by a central planning committee. This would increase cost, be mandatory and no longer would individuals have freedom of choice.

Quotes by two of our city commissioners in the Feb. 13 Journal-World summarize the justification for this recycling proposal: “We have such a reputation in Lawrence of being such a progressive community, but when people hear we don’t have a universal curbside recycling program, they are amazed by that,” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said. “Adding jobs in this town is a very important factor,” City Commissioner Hugh Carter said.

City Hall’s history of cronyism, special tax districts, no-bid contracts, tax abatements, etc., are not the cornerstones on which progressive cities are built nor are they conducive to job creation.

Our forefathers provided us a form of government whereby elected officials would be servants and individuals would be their masters. Any elected official that reverses these roles and would prohibit freedom of choice by individuals or ignore the laws of nature should be removed from office.

History teaches that men and/or women in power must be held accountable or they will destroy a civilization from within. We as individuals must participate in every election in order to preserve our rightful role as masters or we will surely become servants of the state.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

I want the opportunity to opt out of the City Recycling program so that I may keep my current curbside recycler employed. Sunflower Recycling Services has provided this address with excellent and reliable service.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

Anytime tax dollars are used to compete with private business it is wrong. They are wanting to do to the private recycling companies what they did to the taxi companies when they put in the empT. They wonder why there is an eroding tax base when all they have to do is look at their policies.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 9 months ago

Wrong, Can't! The T isn't empty. Ride it and find out!

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Why do I see shiny, new style taxis around town if they have gone out of business? I know at least 2 people who would rather pay for a taxi than share a bus with other people. They can't be the only 2 in town.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

You'd have a point, Cant, if there was a private bus company operating in Lawrence. There isn't. The bus system allows several things you (in particular) ought to favor: 1) Persons who don't have cars have a way to get to work and thus be employed. 2) KU students who otherwise would not have a way to get to businesses off campus now do. 3) The presence of a bus system raises the livability profile of Lawrence, and thus its credit rating and property values.

You could, of course, take a converse stance, too: Anytime a single private business is given a monopoly--for example, in the case of utility companies--it is wrong.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

I am sure you are a good person, but, if a person really wanted to get to work, they would find a way as would the KU students. As for raising the livability profile of Lawrence, you might be correct if you desire to attract people who can't or won't pay their own way. I seriously doubt that an empT bus system that takes over $4 million out of the local economy a year would do anything to raise property values. I would think it would be the reverse. When we have 1/3rd the population density to support a public transportation system and 1/2 the number of buses running to make it viable, those that support it are either stupid or have no business making decisions for the people of this town. If you had the privlidge of funding this money pit out of your own pocket you too, would kick it to the curb.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

"if a person really wanted to get to work, they would find a way ." Yes, Cant; that way is the bus. If not the bus, what way would you use, Cant? Continually mooch off neighbors? Hitchhike and risk getting robbed or raped? Break your way through foot-high snowdrifts all 5 miles and arrive wet and exhausted? Walk in 100+ degree heat and arrive too sweated to be an acceptable employee? Do you have any better idea of an alternative to your dismissive and superior and unempathetic "they would find a way"? No, of course you don't.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

You see, I went through that when I was younger. I decided that joining the main stream, getting a job and doing what I had to do beat the crap out of mooching off of my friends and family. You teach dependence instead of self reliance when the government hands out all this free stuff they stole from those of us who work and give to pot heads, tat freeks and those who chose not to work. I will guarentee you that those people who ride the bus to work could find a way if they had to with out taking all that money out of the economy.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

Still can't think of what, exactly, "way" those bus riders would use instead, can you, Cant? Otherwise, you wouldn't try to cover up by insinuating that the people who are taking the bus are "pot heads, tat freeks and those who chose not to work."

Try this instead, Cant: say, "I'm sorry, I really can't think of an alternative form of transportation to work for those people who are currently taking the bus. I do want them to work. I just wish that the bus system did not cost so much to operate."

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

"When we have 1/3rd the population density to support a public transportation system"

That's a good point. I spent a little time in NYC and really enjoyed riding both the bus and the subway (and the ferry). While I think it undermines people's freedom and ability to help themselves when others wont (like Katrina), I'd probably be more friendly to the bus if it wasn't a great white whale some people are adamant about having. Scale it down some more. Use smaller busses whenever possible. If a route needs 16 seats use a big bus. If it needs 15 seats use the small bus.

Make it fit the community and give us a tax break.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Public transportation systems like the ones in NY, SF, etc. are better designed and much more heavily used, which means they're less subsidized by tax dollars.

If Lawrence would structure our bus system so that more folks could use it without spending 3-4x the amount of time it takes to drive, it would be a better system, and more paid for by user fees.

anomicbomb 4 years, 9 months ago

Want to make sure I have it straight. The taxi companies are going out of business because they are being out-competed by the bus that (according to you) nobody wants to ride. =D

But seriously folks, well functioning bus systems will have empty buses sometimes such as at the beginning or end of routes (you know, the times before and after the majority of passengers have been picked up and dropped off).

This continued "empT" style rhetoric is the somewhat like thinking the world is flat because it looks that way when you look down the street.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

You forget, the bus is a tax supported entity that directly competes with the private sector. It pays zero taxes and depletes the tax base of the city and only benefits a few. We have 3 bus systems in this town, all of which are supported with tax dollars. The sad thing is we bus vagrents all over town and our children are walking to school.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

"But seriously folks, well functioning bus systems will have empty buses sometimes such as at the beginning or end of routes"

I don't see how that is possible unless it is just poorly timed with useless routes. Why should a bus not take people one way but not the other? I'm sure it tapers in the evening, but even so why are the routes so loosely coordinated that each bus on average has 10 people on it.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

You should be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Why should tax dollars be used to provide you something that you could provide for yourself? Imagine a world where everyone that could paid their own way. When the cost of a ride is actually around $9.00 and you get it for free, or next to free, that my friend is MOOCHING!

beerbaron03 4 years, 9 months ago

so if your house caught on fire, and you weren't able to put it out yourself with a garden hose, I hope you don't expect the tax-supported fire department to come help you. after all, that would be MOOCHING, right?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

Yea that is right. You see, the fire service is equal to everyone. The empT is another animal all of its own. It is a form of forced income re-distribution demanded from the tax base for the benefit of a very few. I will bet if you did not have transportation and wanted to go get a bag of weed, you would find a way to get there. If you did that would NOT be mooching.

beerbaron03 4 years, 9 months ago

you know that everyone can ride the bus, right? it's also equal to everyone. just because you think you're too good for the bus doesn't mean it's not equal to everyone

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

You see, that is where we differ. Looks like from your name you have money for beer, but think everyone else should pay for your transportation...that my friend is MOOCHING!

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

Even non-riders benefit from having fewer cars on the road and more available parking spots.

Andrew Reeves 4 years, 9 months ago

"I must not have a city commissioner living on my block either." CHIBW complaining that the taxpayer funded snow removal isn't doing its job by clearing of his/her street.

"Why should tax dollars be used to provide you something that you could provide for yourself?"

Andrew Reeves 4 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I don't live on a street that requires much winter maintenance. Why do I have to pay for someone else's problem? CHIBW, why are you MOOCHING?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

These sorts of exaggerated and emotionally charged letters are a little funny to me.

First of all, it's not "state run" , it's "city run", and it's not a "monopoly", it's a "public service". And, as those on the right say all the time, if we don't like the decisions made by elected officials, the remedy is to simply vote them out in the next election, or you could also move out of Lawrence (often suggested by those on the right as well - if you don't like it, leave).

The idea that a city recycling program is anywhere near "destroying our civilization from within" or "ignores the laws of nature" (whatever that means) is nuts. All this program does is make paying for city recycling mandatory - if people want to keep using their current providers, they can, and if they want to keep doing it themselves they can also do that. There's no "prohibiting of freedom of choice" involved.

We currently pay for yard waste collection as part of our city water/trash/sewer bills, even if we don't use that service - is everybody who's so outraged about the recycling program equally outraged about that?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 9 months ago

Again, my friend, one of the first indicators of financial trouble in city governments is when they start to raise user fees. Adding this "Service" is a form of hiding the real problem which is excessive spending. We as individuals have to live within our budgets, and those of us who actually make it to retirement with something are those who chose to play from ahead. You can not get ahead if you are spending half your cash flow on interest or debt.

I am not against recycling at all, infact, if it was packaged in a form that made sense from a business perspective, I would be hollering loud and long for it. The best way to do it would be to let the recycling companies in the private sector bid (Pay the city and taxpayers for the privledge of picking up the materials) and then when the contract is let, make sure that the provisions in the contract meet the cities demands or requirements. Imagine how much more tax base the city would have if they got out of the trash business. They could sell off all the expensive equipment and support facilities that only consume the tax base. Put the trash service up for bids in the same way as the recycling and actually make money for we who live here.

As long as our governments at any level try to be all things to all people, they will not be good at any of them. They should do what they do best and farm out the rest.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

You and I have both requested that the other stop responding to their posts - I have honored your request, and you have failed to honor mine twice now.

Please honor my request, as I have done with yours.

Unless, of course, you now want to engage in conversations with me, in which case please make that clear - your request for me to stop responding to your posts was made before mine.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

People who do not recycle--don't want to pay for a private recycling service and don't have time to haul recyclables to one of the drop sites--are increasing the cost of our municipal trash collection. I have no problem requiring them to pay for recycling. Yes, they will pay more, but it will save the rest of us money. Furthermore, the responsible citizens who have been paying for a private recylcing service will no longer have to do so, and will end up paying less. So if your goal, Mr. Herynk, is to rescue civilization from destruction, certainly you should want to favor responsible citizens over irresponsible citizens.

As for the laws of nature, they, too, are on the side of universal recycling. Recyclable items often do not degrade in landfill, so the only effective way to dispose of them is to turn them into useful items again.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

Do you think you want get a bill if you are on vacation for a month and generate no trash? If they won't adjust our bill down if we reduce overall use, why should they be allowed to increase our bill if we remain under whatever allotment we already pay for.

You want something, and you want somebody else to be forced to help you pay for it. Why not just cut out the middleman and beat people up on the street and take their money?

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

Liberty275, am I to believe that you close down your cable and telephone and water when you're on vacation for a month? And your trash collection, too? If not, then your argument has no validity.

If you can't tell the difference between lawful taxation to pay for necessary community services--disposal of waste is certainly necessary--and robbery, then I guess you are beyond convincing. Fortunately, most citizens of Lawrence are smarter than that.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, if you use the smallest trash container, you pay the least amount for trash, and it goes up with each larger size.

So, if your use is less than others, you do get to pay less.

In fact, if the recycling charge is combined with the lower charge for the smallest containers, the cost will wind up being about $2.50/month.

Are you equally worked up about paying for the yard waste collection program? It works exactly the same way - we all pay for it whether or not we use it, or use it much.

Katara 4 years, 9 months ago

You keep bringing yo the yard waste collection service as if there is a way to itemize it out separately from the solid waste. Please tell us exactly how much the yard waste programs is costing you each month.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't know offhand, I'd have to call the city and find out.

There is, of course, a way to itemize it out, if we wanted to do that, and made the city do it.

But, the point's the same - we pay for the service, can't choose to opt-out, etc. even if we don't use it, or don't use it much. Are the people so upset about mandatory recycling equally upset about mandatory yard waste collection?

Katara 4 years, 9 months ago

If you are going to complain about being charged for a service that you don't use (you don't have a yard?), you should know what the actual charge is. It is difficult to take your complaint seriously without that info.

The point isn't the same. You aren't already getting yard waste service for free and are now being forced to pay for it. Other organizations (such a CLO & the schools) are not going to be impacted by mandatory yard waste collection as well.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't complain about it - that's the point.

I'm fine paying for it, even though we don't use it much, just as I'm fine paying for public schools even though we don't have any children in them. We have a yard, but we don't need it to be spic and span, so we generally leave the leaves on when we mow, and only occasionally put out some branches for the city to pick up.

My question is for those that complain about city run recycling, which I also don't complain about, even though we do our recycling for free. Nobody gets recycling services for free - they either do it themselves or pay a company to pick it up for them.

Your point about CLO employees at Wal-Mart, etc. is a decent one.

My question is for the folks that are so upset about having to pay $4/month for recycling services, which actually drops to about $2.50/month if you use the smallest container for trash, as many who recycle a lot will do (we do, and generally have plenty of room left). Most of them are just mad they have to pay for it, they're not as concerned as you about CLO employees. So I ask them if they're equally mad about yard waste collection, since that's also mandatory.

So far none of them have answered the question.

Katara 4 years, 9 months ago

On the price dropping, you are assuming that people complaining have a small household as you do. Not everyone is able to do that so still are paying $4/mo (actually $6 with a larger container using your logic about a smaller container = lower price).

Additionally, the yard waste program is season while the recycling is year round. So even if the yard waste program can be itemized out from the solid waste, you are getting a seasonal service with the payments spread out over the entire year.

There is no reason why this needs to be mandatory and there is no reason for the city to force everyone to use their service when there are plenty of options available. If you wish to have curbside service, there are several companies who would be happy to provide you service and if you recycle but don't care to have curbside, you are free to continue as you have all along.

I think we are on the same page regarding the environmental concerns and impact.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Not really - the point is that recycling generally cuts down on one's trash, and if you recycle a lot, that cuts down a lot.

So, whichever size family one has, recycling will mean less trash, which should result in savings on trash cart sizes - possibly from the largest to the middle, or the middle to the bottom. So if a family that doesn't recycle now does because they have to pay for it, it's likely they can go down a size with their trash carts, which will save a little money on that.

That savings will reduce the overall cost of this program.

I'm not sure, but I believe that the reasons for mandatory city recycling programs are that it improves the amount of recycling that residents engage in, and that's considered a plus.

Much of your argument against this could also be used against yard waste collection - people could just compost their own waste, or pay a private company to pick it up. Are you upset about the yard waste collection program?

I used some of the private recycling folks, and was less than thrilled with them. And, in order to recycle as much as possible, we have to go to Wal-Mart and also Deffenbaugh (for a lot of plastics). For us, a little charge by the city, if combined with a good comprehensive program that picks up a lot of stuff is a welcome convenience.

Katara 4 years, 9 months ago

If you live near a school, they most likely have a recycling dumpster. They take the same things as Deffenbaugh. They earn money for the recyclables. I prefer they get the money over what little convenience I get from curbside recycling.

Many of the grocery stores have recycling bins in their parking lots. If you go to the store, take your recyclables and dispose of them there. The same goes if you are already going to Walmart. It is not difficult to conserve your time and energy by combining the recycling with errands you are already running.

I don't use the yard waste program much as I try to compost. It sure was handy when the neighbor's tree crashed into my yard and it was even handier when I lost a tree to a storm. It is difficult to compost large tree branches and part of the trunk. It is part of the solid waste charge that I pay. It is not itemized out and I am not forced to use it if I don't want to. I certainly don't have to pay extra for it and it also benefits me when I need more compost or mulch as the city runs a compost and mulch giveaway a couple times a year.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, I'll look into the schools.

The grocery store bins are Deffenbaugh, at least the ones I use, and I'm not crazy about Deffenbaugh, from what I've heard about them. I do exactly what you suggest, and combine errands to be more efficient, although we very rarely shop at Wal-Mart.

You are forced to pay for it, though. And, if the city sets up the recycling program, you won't be forced to use it, you'll just be forced to pay for it. I'm always interested in how people make distinctions between things - a lot of people seem upset to pay for city recycling because they think they won't use it much, but not upset about the yard waste collection if they use it, even if others don't use it as much.

For me, all of these public programs operate in a very similar fashion - we all pay into the systems, and we use them unequally, but can use them if we like. That's the nature of public services, and I have no problem with them. Most folks don't have a consistent philosophy against them all, except some radical libertarians - they're fine with my family paying for public schools that benefit their kids but not ours, but don't want to pay for something others benefit from more than they do.

I'm not putting you in that category, although I was surprised at your opposition to city recycling, since you generally seem to have a similar outlook on public services as I do.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

My concerns about a city run recycling operation are more environmental.

If you consider the environmental costs of building a new processing plant, manufacturing the carts, and running very low mileage trash trucks around town, it cuts into the environmental benefit of recycling.

Katara 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for thinking of those who already recycle and do so for free. You don't seem to mind increasing the costs of responsible citizens who can figure out how to plan their errands so they aren't being wasteful while hauling our recyclables (which takes very little time). If the city didn't have responsible citizens such as the above, there would be no recycle centers in the town.

pace 4 years, 9 months ago

I am so glad it looks like Lawrence will finally get city wide curbside collection of recyclable materials. it is a logical extension of our trash collection. efficient collection of recyclables and trash collection is important to our community, I am sure that this will benefit, the environment, the economy and the community in the long haul. we need to plan for the long haul, it is short sighted to cling to the current hodge pudge of here and gone collections. the city has made the largest investment of infrastructure , I would hate to see us destroy a working infrastructure to satisfy the short sighted .

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