The Right to Choose

Preserving your choice.

Here is a story that is neither sexy or glamorous. I tell it so you can see how I can be committed to protect the public against government overreach.

In 2014/15 the County started a process to take bids for a solid waste (trash) franchise contract to service the Mountain area. EMADCO’s existing contract was to end June 30th 2016. I actually participated as a stakeholder in an initial meeting to help design what the new contract would require, which by the way included the new recycling rules. At that time there was a proposal to mandate service in select high density areas leaving out some of the more rural parts. Mandating anything of the public to make them pay got my attention big time. I told county staff I did not believe the County had that power and challenged them to show me what the authority was. I never heard back and was never invited to a discussion again. They also introduced a franchise fee tax of 6% which would be buried in your bill.

Two points to that state constitution. Property owners and tax payers are protected by a number of proposition, the famous one, Prop 13 that limited government from taxing the public without a vote of the people. Basically, if you put a mandate to pay money the public must vote to authorize it, examples are bonds, sales tax and special taxes. Government can be reimbursed for cost to provide special services just as long as it only covers costs, examples are permit fees, dog licenses etc. A special section in the state code also allows the County to provide solid waste management services and they can charge for that too. But the franchise tax fee was arbitrary and no audit of costs were ever disclosed so I objected. While the code was clear the only way to prevail was to take the County to court. I had to give up this part of the battle because I alone did not have the resources to fight them.

On the second point of mandating trash service, I stood before the Board of Supervisors and read the code that required a vote of the people to mandate service. I was ignored and the BOS passed the ordinance. I continued my fight and a few months later they deleted the mandatory provisions from the code. You never saw it go into effect.

I won your right to choose how you deal with trash. I know everyone deals with trash and vast majority of people happily pay to have trash removed at the street, but some people take trash to work or take it to the dump directly, or maybe take it to another property in case of a vacation home.

The point here is you get to choose. This is just an example of how I feel about your rights and how government needs to keep its hands off. Please allow me to protect your rights as Supervisor.