Waste Management Association Sues City Over "Anti-Free Enterprise" Flow Control Ordinance

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Saw this one coming; so too did the city council. After all, in mid-September the council met behind closed doors with city attorneys to review "legal issues regarding proposed resource flow control ordinance" -- which, as I am sure you recall, is the ordinance directing all solid waste collected in the city limits to city-owned facilities, chief among them the McCommas Bluff Landfill in far southeastern Dallas. Mayor Mike Rawlings was straight-up about the deal before the council voted to approve it September 29. It wasn't about recycling or "trash to treasure" or any of that other stuff that "obfuscated" the issue. Said the mayor: "This is a business revenue issue. Who deserves that revenue? Should it be the owners of the landfills outside the city of Dallas or the taxpayers?" A majority of council members said: Why, us!

But Rawlings knew then -- and he certainly knows now -- that the National Solid Wastes Management Association hated the deal, for myriad reasons recounted here in recent months. And now it's come to this: a federal antitrust lawsuit just filed against the city of Dallas.

As always, the whole suit follows. Read it all. But long story short, says the suit:
The ordinance is not even arguably aimed at protecting public health, safety, or welfare related to uncollected or improperly disposed of solid wastes. Nor will it result in more solid waste being converted to renewable materials or green energy, and it thwarts the efforts of recyclers by requiring the landfilling of recyclable materials. Its sole and avowed purpose is to generate revenue for the City by imposing new fees on Generators and the Franchisees and taking fees from Owners/Operators (when commercial waste and recyclable materials are disposed of or processed at Owners/Operators' facilities) and diverting those fees to the City to address revenue shortfalls from other sources.
The suit also refers to the ordinance as "an extraordinarily anti-free-enterprise action by the City." Messages have been left all over Dallas City Hall to see if there's any response.

Update at 4:49 p.m.: Frank Librio, spokesman for City Hall, sends by way of response a brief statement that reads, in full, "The City carefully studied court cases involving resource flow control laws before enacting its ordinance. The City believes its ordinance is valid and will defend it vigorously." Flow Control Lawsuit
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16 comments
Cityhallinsider
Cityhallinsider

I hope Turner is a quick learner. If he studies the issue he will find that the Sanitation Department has no idea how to implement flow control. They don't know where the trash will be going, how much trash is coming or how to deal with some other technical issues that could have a major impact on every business and homeowner in the city. Replacing Nix boss just before a huge change in the department's operations is a sure sign that Suhm has lost confidence in Nix. Sending employees to Europe in the middle of a huge budget crunch and dodging straightforward questions from Brett Shipp certainly didn't help matters. Suhm probably started thinking about making a change when the Mayor acknowledged he had not faith in staff numbers concerning the amount of material that would be generated by flow control. Suhm was warned that Nix was making stuff up as she went along many months ago but didn't do anything about it. Putting Turner in charge is too little too late.     

Cityhallinsider
Cityhallinsider

Read the tea leaves. Nix suddenly gets a new boss with little more than a month till implementation of flow control.  The Mayor acknowleges he won't stand behind Nix figures on how much trash flow control will generate.  Channel 8 reveals Nix authorized a European vacation so her staff could learn that European recycling systems cost $100 a ton, something they could have learned on the Internet. But hey, Europe is really nice this time of year. Nix new boss is known as a tough cookie with a nack for turning around troubled city departments. He has his work cut out for him. First order of business. New management. 

Purple Guy
Purple Guy

Hate to say it Insider, but I think you've been smoking those leaves.

Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster

Cityhallinsider is absolutely correct. Forrest Turner is known form shaking things up. Nix and her little empire are coming down. Employee grievances against Nix are piling up. She has her own personal public information officer and she has crashed and burned during two interviews with Channel 8. It appears that even Mary Suhm realizes Nix cannot be trusted. That's why she put Forrest Turner on the case. Nix's days of bullying people, making up numbers and hiding information from the media and public are OVER!

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

I'm fine with it. This legal challenge has stood up before. The legislature authorized cities to do this long ago. It is a resource that belongs to the city and therefore the people.

DM
DM

Branden - Lighten up on the crack, man. Try some weed, might help with clarity. Oh, roll a little Ginko in there also. 

Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster

Oh really? Then why isn't every city in the state doing this, genius? Sure would make it easy for every financially strapped city to do this and they are NOT doing it. Based on my calculator, the city is back in a financial hole. The now has to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, including the hiring of outside counsel. There went the new revenue to balance the budget!! And South Dallas will never see that $1M development fund. That was a good ole Mary Nix bait and switch to get the council votes needed to pass flow control. The only intelligent one in the bunch, Coouncilmember Hill, recognized it for what was. Wonder how City Manager Mary Suhm feels now about her evil twin, Mary Nix. Nix just sailed Suhm down the Trinity.

Abby
Abby

Monster, you've been overindulging already and it's not even Thanksgiving yet!  First, there are 12 other large cities in America using the statutes for Flow Control successfully.  You go do the research.  Second, they did not use the Flow Control $'s to balance the budget.  That happens next year.  Third, Hill didn't vote for it because she has yet to hear the story from anyone who knows what it means for her constituents.  Lastly, the Supreme Court has upheld the Flow Control ordinances already so this will be short and sweet!  Don't worry about the 2 Marys.  They'll do just fine.

Cityhaul
Cityhaul

Interesting that the city made it comments long before there was any opportunity for the city council to be briefed on the issues raised in the lawsuit. It is easy to say you will vigorously defend a position when you are playing with taxpayer dollars. I hope the attorneys on the city council have an opportunity to review the case and really consider the serious issues it raises. Channel 8 was correct when they said that flow control and its alleged benefits were too good to be true. Prediction - the two Marys will be gone by December 2012 with flow control being one reason they decide to spend more time with their families. 

Dr. Art HenSchen
Dr. Art HenSchen

I see it purely as deliberate interference. There is no question whatsoever that this is nothing but a money grab. This is a disguised TAX on the residents that will most assuredly be passed on by the haulers to those who can ill afford it. Contractors do there best to provide service at competitive rates. This disruption, if allowed, will escalate those rates immediately. Government should not be permitted to compete with private entrepreneurs nor be empowered to monopolize the market. This should qualify as an anti-trust issue as well. Perhaps the association should push back. Don't take any trash to McCommas. Park the trucks! LAISSEZ FAIRE!

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

 I said it violated Federal law my law degree came from Cracker Jack box. City of Dallas continue to make rules that break Civil rights,Antitrust and any thing that takes away the rights of others.Same way they have took HUD money and used  it to lock out poor people and minorities downtown.City of Dallas should know better, look at money they spent on Walkes Lawsuite and continued to do the very same thing.All of them need to have front row seats in Prison.

trudat
trudat

It appears that the city intends to not only run over the people (who live near the dump who don't want it there) but it also plans to stick it to the small business folk who might have made a few dollars.

Ok so who in Mad Mikes merry band is going to stick up for the people?  Where's the hero whistleblower?  I know it won't be Mad Mike.  He's pushing this too hard.  I know it won't be Tenell; the folks in his district are already demonstrating in the streets.  Who will save the people??  Anybody?

Guest
Guest

"Anti Free Enterprise" is practically on the city seal these days. Acting against free enterprise is 90% of what this city does anymore.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Pretty interesting point the waste haulers make is that one of the impacts of the new ordinance will be to effectively end commercial trash recycling in Dallas, because the City says the only exemption to taking stuff to the new monopoly dump will be for loads comprised 100% of recyclables, when, in fact, virtually all recyclable loads typically include significant amounts of non-recyclables, as well.

They also point out that one effect of the ordinance will be to shorten the dump's remaining useful life by 9 to 16 years.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Gosh, you think they'll as brave in the face of confronting the gas industry?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The suit also refers to the ordinance as "an extraordinarily anti-free-enterprise action by the City." Messages have been left all over Dallas City Hall to see if there's any response.

Here I Borrowed from my Self

Any questions can suitable be responded to with the City staff answer .....WELL  DANG, WE SURE DIDN'T FORESEE ALL THIS* ____________HAPPENING .

*LAWSUIT

I will leave it to the grammar police to fix it .

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