Monday, November 17, 2008

Understanding Garbage

I’m not a genius or anything and some things confuse me because they go against what I see for my own two eyes. However, I’m not afraid to ask for an explanation from someone with better understanding. I have tried my best to understand the issues with the city’s sanitation contract. I have read the issues with the contract itself. I understand the concerns of the city council. I think I have a good idea of what’s going on. The problem I have is this. With the free for all state of the city’s recovery, how could anyone negotiate a contract for sanitation pickup to begin with? How can anyone possibly know how many people are really living here and where they are going to live to sign into any long term deal? Couldn't we have avoided all of this drama and not signed anything long term for a few years?

In the last few months I know five people personally that have moved back into the city. There are three houses on my block that will be moved into any minute. There’s two major apartment complexes almost completed in New Orleans East. What about all the mixed income housing that is being built in place of the projects? Surely many of those displaced families will be moving back into the city. How could the city or any of the sanitation companies that were rewarded a contract know what they were getting into? These contracts were written up in 2006. The difference in New Orleans between 2006 and now is night and day. It could actually be possible that one of these companies is not billing us for enough collection instead of too much. I can’t see any possible way that someone could have possibly estimated the future amount of trash collection in 2006.

Wouldn’t the best thing for everyone have been to award a six month contract to the best proposal and then re-opened everything for bidding after we seen how many people actually came back to the city? Then, if the recovery was still in the same condition it is now we could have extended it another six months. I can’t imagine not finding any companies to take that six month contract knowing that if they did a good job they would be under high consideration for a longer one.

Shouldn’t we have had a separate contract just for debris pickup since the Road Home process was so slow that some people are just starting to repair their homes?

I don’t understand how a city with a sporadic recovery like we have could make any guarantees on things like sanitation for more than six months at a time.

Can someone who reads this please clear this up for me?


Mark Folse said...

Sadly, I think the garbage contract was all about "it our turn at the trough" for the Mayor and his allies on the council. There's no other good explanation for the secret bidding process resulting in incredibly inflated contracts, and the ready resort of race-baiting to cover up the blatant corruption.

Forget Bobby Jindal and his partisan posturing. We need a real dragon-slaying saint in the office for the next four year cycle, someone who is ready to shake up the cycle we've been in for a generation where corruption is casually tolerated.

And I don't see that person on the horizon.

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

dont trip, its not u its the poly-tricks

Anonymous said...

There you go, thinking again.

But seriously, the (re-)population of the city has been consistently ahead of nearly all the estimates made in the year after Katrina and likely used in estimating the contracts.

Anonymous said...

Was Ray Nagin influenced in his decision about the price for the collection contracts by over $47,000 in political contributions from SDT, Richard's Disposal, and Metro Disposal?

Anonymous said...

Trash collection is one of those areas that invites political chicanery. It takes no skill to gather trash. If you have a contract you can surely get a loan to get the equipment. So you can bet your sweet bippy that there's some payola in all that arguing. Until the sunlight shines on the contracting procedure, residents are going to pay whatever the politicians can arrange in rake offs for their friends and family. Yes the situation changes and will continue to change. Are you able to hire a private contractor to take your trash to the dump? Why not?

Anonymous said...

In theory, the garbage contracts were negotiated on a per-house pickup amount, so that as the population returned, the garbage companies' compensation would be adjusted upwardly.

What is shocking about the recently-revealed numbers is that they have stayed EXACTLY THE SAME for months and months. Hard to believe that we haven't had even one additional household move back, isn't it?

The crazy thing is that all of this could be cleared up if the administration would simply cough up the contractually-required data. The fact that they're screaming so much is a clear indication that they have something to hide.

Shades of NOAH, to be sure.