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Opinion

Readers React: City Hall should stop acting shocked that a trash-hauling monopoly has failed

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CALIF. -- JANUARY 02, 2018: Tony Donato, president of the Tarzana Falls condom
Tony Donato, president of the Tarzana Falls condominium association, said there was a time when the recyclables weren’t picked up for a month.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz “never would have envisioned” the RecycLA program going so poorly, and if his colleague Mitch O’Farrell believes he was sold a “bill of goods,” they should not be council members. For that matter, any other officials who thought this anti-competitive disaster was a good idea should give up on their fantasy. (“Can L.A.'s garbage-hauling monopoly RecycLA be saved? Better start working on Plan B,” editorial, Feb. 8)

Give me one example of a monopoly that has resulted in better service for the customer. The council’s belief that dividing the city into exclusive areas and awarding the trash-hauling contract to a single company with the idea that there would be better service and fewer trash trucks roaming around is a joke.

I live on a street of apartments and condos. These buildings used to be served by half a dozen different companies, so one would think there are now significantly fewer truck trips. Not so. On any given day, the company’s trucks come down this street several times. Sometimes they stop, sit and idle for a while, and other times the drivers actually pick up trash, but trucks still make multiple trips down the block.

The Times Editorial Board is correct in calling this a “flawed monopoly system,” and I expect our leaders to do something about it besides acting shocked.

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Robert Moffie, Studio City

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To the editor: It was wrong for the City Council to think it had the right to take away a private business entity’s ability to choose which company it hires for any service, including trash hauling.

In the case of my condominium complex, we were forced to contract with a company we fired several years ago because of bad service — and now we pay more than double what we did before RecycLA was put into place.

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Trash and recycling companies are private businesses, and trying to treat them like utilities is nonsensical and wrong. We should be able to hire any company that we feel can offer the best service at the best price, just as with any other private business.

As the director of my condominium homeowners association, I can tell you that if the City Council wanted to raise money for recycling, we would have preferred just to pay some sort of tax and still be allowed to choose — and supervise — the company that provides the important service of trash hauling.

David Gershenson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Our City Council broke a perfectly good system for trash hauling in Los Angeles. It was warned by business owners, apartment owners and the city’s budget analyst, and still it persisted.

Our leaders broke it — so now they must fix it.

Mindy Taylor-Ross, Venice

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