So Much For Flow Control. For Now, At Least, as Federal Judge Dumps Waste Control Ordinance.

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It's been a couple of weeks since lawyers hired by the city and the National Solid Waste Management Association squared off in U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's over the flow control ordinance that would have dumped all the city's solid waste at the McCommas Bluff Landfill. I say "would have" because, for now, flow control's not happening: This morning O'Connor ruled in favor of the solid-waste haulers, who've long argued that the city's attempt to fill its coffers using the ordinance is the very definition of "anti-free enterprise."

The city's hoping the ordinance dumps upwards of $18 million in the general fund; council members often mention it when looking ahead to paying for this project or funding that wish-list item. As Mayor Mike Rawlings himself said when the council approved the controversial proposal in late September: "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?"

But O'Connor was not moved, writing at the end of his 33-page ruling you'll find below:
Based on the evidence available to the Court at this time, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Contract Clause claim; that Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if the Flow Control Ordinance is allowed to take effect; that the balance of equities favors Plaintiffs; and that a preliminary injunction is in the public interest.
I've been told a statement is forthcoming from City Hall. I'll update accordingly.

Update at 4:50 p.m.: This just arrived from Dallas City Hall.
The City of Dallas respectfully disagrees with the judge's decision to grant a preliminary injunction in National Solid Waste Management Association et al. v. City of Dallas, et al., which is sometimes referred to as the "flow control" lawsuit. The City will study the 33-page order and evaluate its options.

Tom Perkins
City Attorney
Flow Control Injunction
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16 comments
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scottindallas
scottindallas

isn't "disagreeing with an injunction" as relevant as disproving of hurricanes or earthquakes?  How is it relevant whether they agree?  Are they gonna comply, or not?  Are they going to openly demonstrate contempt for the court's ruling?  No, they're gonna suck it. 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The Dallas city council think they can pass an ordinanc or resolution or some silly law to correct everything and a city  attorney  who will right them and spend thousands on outside Attorneys to fight cases.City is overturned all  Federalthe time, millions wasted.I said this would not pass court and it did not. You can not just step on peoples rights bec is Dallas.

Angela Smith
Angela Smith

i find it humerous that waste management and the other landfill owners call flow control anti free enterprise when in every city in a 100 mile radius you have no choice except to use those trash companies.  they have exclusive contracts aka monopolies in the suburbs that BAR any other company from hauling trash. i think dallas market will have more choice in haulers and thus prices come down due to more competition.

scottindallas
scottindallas

we have choice in Dallas today.  Those companies aren't the only ones hauling trash.  As a landscaper I do that to some degree, whatever degree I wish.  Some of these companies actually have their own dumps, which again adds to our choices.  Also, today, we sort through our trash to a remarkable degree.  Concrete and metals are generally separated out, as is wood and all of these are recycled today.  We need to be encouraged/compelled to separate out the plastic waste, though that too is increasing. There are both public and private players doing this.  The plan the city proposed would have outlawed all of that.

Angela Smith
Angela Smith

scott, there is much more to this argument than just $$ for dallas that would take $$ away from the publically traded landfills. what i am saying is in other cities ( for example: plano, mckinney,allen, mesquite, frisco, duncanville, desoto, hurst, euless, bedford...shall i go on?)  you MUST use one of the big 3 haulers.  it is ILLEGAL for any other hauler OR recycler to haul ANYTHING out of these cities.  waste management, iesi aka pregressive, republic aka trinity or allied, have exclusive franchises in cities OTHER than dallas.  have you tried to call waste management lately?  they have a call center that serves 4 states, its a nightmare, far worse than at&t. in dallas it is estimated the top 3 control 90% of the trash market.  they are on a vendetta against independent haulers and putting them out of business. if all trash haulers paid the same price to dump in dallas i guarantee the prices would be more competitive.  maybe not WM's prices but the small haulers will finally have a chance. when all the small guys are gone you will be left with the most expensive, worst service trash companies. 

Abby
Abby

It's coming Scott, and you better be ready to pay for it!  In California it's called AB 431 and it mandates all commercial and multi-family garbage be recycled.  In Austin, it's called the new Zero Waste ordinance, and like Oak Cliff says, it mandates separate dumpsters.  OK, so now Wendy's and Burger King, etc. have 3 dumpsters in their parking lots instead of 1.  Inside there are 3 cans instead of one.  Train your people for 3 instead of one, and the HAULERS, make 3 trips instead of one.  Increased collection costs, increased infrastructure destruction because of all those trucks, and who pays for it? YOUR'RE GOING TO!   Why not put it all in one can/dumpster, bring it to a resource recovery facility, separate out all the recycles and be done with it!  Three cans at the house, 3 dumpsters in every apartment complex area, what insanity!

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

100% agree with what you are saying.Most construction sites have strict rules about what goes where at the end of the day.And have roll off dumpsters dedicated to wood metal cardboard and plastic . General contractors save a chuck of cash by not having to to pay to haul the reusable stuff to the dump . And will charge back subs who dump things in the wrong containers .Concrete that was once washed out on the ground is hauled off to be recycled again.

We have funded our Holiday Partys from money that we get from Cardboard  scrap metal and the goldmine that wooden pallets have become .

We are green .

Concernedcitizen
Concernedcitizen

The judge figured out what was obvious to everyone. The Green Path to Treasure was only designed to provide political cover for the city. It has no basis in reality. Council members should be pissed if for no other reason than they had to sit through the same briefing over and over again. Question - when will some heads role at city hall?

Abby
Abby

Sorry CC, but you are incorrect and will see how shortly.  The Green Path is based in a process which the city has seen and vetted and should have begun before they went up against the Big Dog Waste Gang.  It will come up again shortly I would think.  The council is informed and thought it could be done without a suit, but as Angela says, the Big Dogs like to eat and love a good monopoly! 

PoPo
PoPo

Basically the Judge is saying, I am going to protect the taxpayers from the dumbass' at City Hall..............who will not have to pay one penny for their mistakes......................I will not let the taxpayer pick up the bill for another enormous mistake that is eventually going to bankrupt  the damn City! 

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

This ruling really shouldn't have come as a surprise.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Not just "NO"  But 30 Pages on not just "NO" .And he seems to take them to school on it !

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Yeah, I just read through it... the judge really called the City out on a whole lot of their B.S.  In layman's terms, he called the City's representatives lying sacks of s*&%.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Whether using the City Attorney's office or outside counsel, the City get poor legal service.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

DUH, perkins may be a good attorney, but we will never know because he gives advice not  on sound legal advice or the law but based on out right directives from the council orwhat he perceives to be the position of 8 of the council members or at the directions of Mary Suhm. Taxpayers would  riot if they calculated all of the money we settle because of city attorneys who work harder at keeping their job than they do keeping the law.It's time for a charter review and let's elect the city attorney so that he or she  will work for the taxpayers

scottindallas
scottindallas

politics is that stupid today.  City attorneys are supposed to advise the council on legal avenue available to them, and the council members are supposed to constrain themselves to those avenues.  But, we get political grandstanding that grows beyond all that, as we saw clearly in FB over illegal immigration and as we see over hundreds of issues big and small in Dallas. 

You may be right that the city atty/council relationship has gotten perverted.  We DO have a vote on that relationship, though these substantive issues are not campaign issues.  We citizens need to find a way to set the political agenda, not campaigns.

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