Voters appear to be content with the state of garbage collection in San Francisco with the clear defeat of Proposition A, which would have opened The City’s lucrative trash contract to competitive bidding for Recology — the company that has consolidated all of the permits to provide refuse service in The City.
Proponents of Proposition A spoke out against what they called a “stranglehold” on The City from a no-bid contract, which has been included in San Francisco’s City Charter since 1932. Recology currently holds all of the permits for refuse collection in The City. Virtual monopolies over the rights had been held by several of its predecessor companies — Sunset Scavenger, Golden Gate Disposal and Norcal Waste.
Tony Kelly, president of the progressive Potrero Neighborhood Boosters Association that pushed the measure, garnered a unanimous cold shoulder from local politicians and powerful business groups in The City. Recology poured more than $1.5 million into a fund to defeat the measure, according to campaign finance filings with the Ethics Commission.
Mayor Ed Lee and others have touted Recology’s collection programs as an example for others nationwide, but proponents of Prop. A cited a 2011 study that found the company’s base rates on contracts are 60 percent to 127 percent higher than in cities with competitive bidding. Still, opponents staunchly defended The City’s practices.
“This isn’t broken,” Jim Lazarus, head of the Chamber of Commerce, told The S.F. Examiner last month. “There is no reason to make this change.”