Dooley’s task force sweeps citizen input under the rug

By BURKE WASSON

If south county wonders where it stands with county officials, its residents can read a new report from 19 such officials to see their place in the population — dead last.

County plans to form trash districts in unincorporated areas were recommended last week by a task force of 19 county officials appointed by County Executive Charlie Dooley.

But hundreds of south countians protest the move largely because they lose their right to choose trash haulers, which will now be selected for them by the county. Many self-chosen trash bills now will increase due to the county’s desire to assign one hauler to each district and see uniform standards of service.

As they heard in March at a raucous town-hall meeting in Oakville, county officials know much of south county is opposed.

In fact, the task force recommends first forming districts in north county because “South county citizens are highly energized and oppositional.”

Perhaps that is why Dooley appointed no citizens to this task force. But that unwillingness to include anyone who doesn’t work for him in the process is a slap in the face to all concerned with the county’s trash plans.

Because south county is the most vocal opponent of the trash plan, we can only reason that Dooley and the 19 cronies he chose to do his bidding don’t care for south county.

The only meritorious part of the county’s reasoning for districts is the need for more recycling. We agree that only 15 percent of the county’s trash being recycled is embarrassingly low.

But as admirable as the county’s recycling goal may be, you don’t need to form districts and take away people’s right to shop around to do it.

The county can accomplish that same goal by requiring all county haulers to offer recycling. Why convolute the issue?

Maybe Dooley’s 2006 campaign-finance report can tell us. We spotted a $1,275 contribution from Waste Management.

While we’re not saying that’s proof of a hidden agenda, we’ll be the first to call out Dooley if and when Waste Management happens to be awarded a district.

And even though the task force admits bidding out districts will push small haulers out of business, they nevertheless recommend it.

With that kind of logic, it’s clear to see that it’s more about who you know than what is right in the eyes of our county officials in Clayton.