Monday, November 06, 2006

Government Mule

The old saying talks about a conservative being a liberal who's been mugged. There's more than one way to be mugged into it, though.

When I bought my house here in 1990, I found this was a town where you had to hire your own trash haulers. There were a dozen or so in the phone book, from the biggies (Waste Management, BFI) to the local guy around the corner with a big beat-up old stakebody truck that looked like Fred Sanford should be at the wheel.

I found one who offered the best rate for my household (we produce a minimum of waste; two bags a week tops), and hired him. Worked fine for a few years till one of his drivers ran over somebody, then they didn't have enough insurance, and the whole company folded in shame.

I hired another contractor. This one was a miserable failure. In a solid year they only managed to pick up my recyclables on time once. The other 51 weeks, I had to call them and tell them they missed it again.

So I fired them. It felt good. I hired one of the big boys after that. Not so cheap as the first, not so incompetent as the second. But, like Goldilocks, just right.

Then the city got a new mayor (Democrat) who finally pushed through the single-hauler plan that had been kicking around for years. Suddenly everyone in the city, including me, would have the same hauler. The advantages seemed obvious. Only one trash truck up the street per week, as opposed to 12. (When you work nights and sleep days, as I do, that is no inconsiderable advantage). Besides, a combined market of 50,000 people ought to be able to get trash pickup more cheaply.

So the plan goes into effect. And who wins the bidding? The same numbnuts outfit who could never get my recycling done on time. And now I have no choice. And this week, three weeks into the program, they missed the entire trash pickup for half my block. Which means it's now piling up like the Berlin Wall out there as the dumbass neighbors keep piling on more.