Dallas Settles With the Waste Industry, Killing Flow Control Once and For All
The final chapter appears to have been inked in the long, sorry saga of flow control, a moneymaking scheme that placed City Hall's imprimatur on the idea that southern Dallas isn't much more than a trash receptacle for the rest of the city.
This week U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor entered his final judgment, settling all claims between the city and the solid-waste industry, which sued because the ordinance would have required trash haulers to direct all waste to the McCommas Bluff Landfill in southeast Dallas, despite contracts that allowed them to dump trash elsewhere. Flow control was originally touted as a development opportunity for the beleaguered city sector; a creator of up to 250 green jobs; and a project that would handle Dallas waste in an environmentally responsible way.
It became apparent, however, that the real intent of flow control was to divert the tipping fees going to landfills outside of the city limits into city coffers. Depending on the day, Mayor Mike Rawlings said it was either strictly a "business revenue issue" or a moral imperative because the people of southeast Dallas had "waited long enough in this city for us to get them money."
Judge Reed's eye was apparently gimlet enough that he saw through the altruistic window-dressing and enjoined the city from enforcing flow control.
The issue has been put to its final rest now. Per its settlement, the city agrees not to seek a new trial. Interestingly, the court order does leave the door open for the city to take the position that any contract it entered into with a solid-waste franchise after the October 2012 injunction is subject to the flow control ordinance. Of course, after taking its licks from the local media for its tin-eared perpetuation of a stratified Dallas, where the trash goes south and the whites go north, the city may not have the appetite for a second whipping.