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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions June 24, 2016

10/1/2013 2:43:00 PM
Letter: Cottonwood should not create monopolies for private companies

On Sept. 26, 2013, I attended a City of Cottonwood "work session" at the behest of my 90-year-old friend, because a discussion was going to ensue concerning garbage service in Cottonwood. Someone, I think it was councilman Garrison, wanted to bring this issue back to the City Council to allegedly "bring the new council member up to speed" on the matter.

Apparently, in 2010, the City Council conducted a survey regarding whether Cottonwood residents would like to move to a single trash hauler that privately contracted with the City of Cottonwood to provide ALL trash hauling services to the City of Cottonwood. At that time, according to the survey results, residents overwhelming rejected the elimination of their right to select their own trash hauler based upon competitive pricing/service.

My friend told me she was concerned that Waste Management would become the company that contracted with the City of Cottonwood and she would lose her current provider, Taylor Waste, which she likes and wants to keep.

I asked her why she thought Waste Management would be the company that the City Council contracted with to the exclusion of all others. She responded that because Waste Management is a multinational corporation with a history of undermining competitive bidding to establish monopolies, she was certain that Waste Management was the private corporation that would be awarded the contract.

Sure enough, when I attended the work session, Waste Management was in attendance promoting the idea of moving to a single contractor for the City of Cottonwood.

Interestingly, Mayor Joens referenced the 2010 survey and stated that over 500 out of the 700+ surveys received expressed a desire to maintain multiple trash providers. Ironically, Mayor Joens said, "Of course, this represents only 4 percent of the residents [referencing the 500+ comments].

Generally speaking, when a survey is sent out and the response is NOT what the City of Cottonwood wants to do, the results are denigrated. When the response favors the goal of the City Council to privatize the service, it is lauded as an expression of the "will of the people."

A person does not have to be an economic genius or hold a degree in economics to comprehend what happens when a city enters into a private/public contract that effectively eliminates competition.

Initially, the price of the service is "reasonable" and service quality is generally high. However, over time as the monopoly corporate entity entrenches itself and all competition is eliminated, the price rises and the service quality diminishes.

Now, if [I should say when because my impression at the meeting was that 4 out of the 7 council members support the effort by Waste Management to monopolize the trash services in Cottonwood] the City of Cottonwood privatizes the process and allows Waste Management to monopolize the trash service, my friend will be forced to use what she perceives to be an inferior company that provided inferior service quality.

Is that how our country is supposed to function? Is the purpose and goal of government to create monopolies for private corporations? Before the presidency of Ronald Reagan, anti-trust laws were actually enforced in America.

The reason given for this desire to move to a private, single contractor is tenuous at best, and suspicious on its face.

In closing, allow me to say that Mayor Joens made several statements regarding "mutual respect" between the council and citizens in attendance at the work session. She asserted that "mutual respect" is essential to effective communication. She is correct.

However, respect is something that is earned. It does not accrue to anyone based upon social status, economic status or political power. If Mayor Joens wants the respect of the citizens she was elected to "serve" [as opposed to dominate and control] she has to earn that respect.

What she really demands is "politeness". And while she can force citizens in attendance to be polite to her, she cannot force them to respect her. Respect is earned by ones actions. When a persons words and deeds are in harmony, when one does what one says and says what one does, they earn respect.

That was not in evidence at the work session. The pedantic attitude of Mayor Joens and her repetitive attempts to equate the goal of the City Council to "do what is best for the City" [meaning of course, what is best for the City Manager and administrative staff] and equating that with what is in the best interest of the residents was absurd.

Far too many elected officials misinterpret the meaning of "representative government". Far too many of them believe that the only role of the citizenry is to vote and after voting their elected representatives into office that is the end of citizen involvement in government.

John Bond


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: Cornvillian Christian

Why would the City of Cottonwood change from Taylor Waste who is a local business and turn around and give this to Waste Management who isn’t a local business??? The Chamber of Commerce and most the citizens of Cottonwood promote Shop Local and the City comes in and doesn’t believe and or show Shop Local. My thought… who made money from this aka filled their pockets over this?? Because a LOCAL Business isn’t benefiting from it.

Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013
Article comment by: Michelle Dermo

@ Wacka Wacka

Look around. There are multiple fuel trucks, grocery delivery trucks, etc. Why not limit all industries to just one supplier? One grocery store, one gas station, one of every business?The roads would not be in any better condition. Do the math. One company would need many trucks instead of multiple companies needing just a few trucks?
We have one trash company running how many trucks to service the entire town of Clarkdale? Not one truck emptying everyone's trash in one day!

Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013
Article comment by: Wacka Wacka

Of course governments create monopolies. That's one of their jobs. You like having 5 - 6 different HUGE trash trucks from different companies roll up and down the streets? And then you complain about the roads and the street workers paychecks. Have you ever seen pictures of New York when they had several power and phone companies? You couldn't see the sky for the wires. Notice that you only have one phone company? Notice that you only have one power company? Notice that you only have one water company?

Congratulations to the hard working government officials that have the backbone to stand up to monied interests to protect our precious infrastructure assets!

Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013
Article comment by: I Reserve the Right to Choose

I don't want to be told I have to purchase trash service and I don't want to be told I only have one choice.

I don't recall ever being asked what my opinion was on this topic. Our family must not have been included in the survey.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: verde voter

Well here is my take. Once a pond a time.....most cities owned the garbage service themselves and the water dept., sewer etc. We had one phone company and TV was picked up by rabbit ears. Our city ran those services and employed local citizens. NOW we have so much deception it is impossible to keep up on it. I myself would not mind if we had City ran garbage service, a local water co., a local phone co., local tv and internet service. I find the marketing distasteful and deceptive of many companies today and I object to false advertising.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: Michelle Dermo

Thank you Mr. Black. You are correct in that I do not have to pay for nor receive the town provided trash service unless of course I actually desire to have trash service. I am not permitted to receive trash service from a competitor. That is called a forced monopoly.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: Healthcare is NOT a right

Mr. Bond,
I agree with you that all should have choice in trash service, as with any service. I should be able to spend my money on the service and company I choose.

Your statement that health care is RIGHT, blew me out of my chair. Health care is a commodity like everything else. You want it, pay for it.
I was almost thinking that Mr. Bond would regain my readership of his comments. That did it in for me. Same old John Bond.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

John Bond: "...healthcare is a RIGHT."

How will this "right" be protected, and by whom?

If those in need of care have no vehicle, doesn't that mean that transportation must also be a right? And isn't some means of communication with which to contact the health provider to request transportation also a right?

And if the number of people willing to become physicians or drivers or communications technicians isn't sufficient to protect these rights, will the state then decide who must become a physician, who must become a driver, and who must become a communications technician?

Of course, none of these 'rights' come with a guarantee that the provider is competent, and none will allow any choice of providers.

When a service provided by others is a right, the right of individuals to make choices must be infringed.

(I'll leave it to you to comment on the right to be fed, clothed, and housed, all requirements for good health.)

In this not-so-brave, not-so-new world you envision, criticism of government would not be tolerated. So what new role would the bureaucracy choose for you? Organ donor?

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: Foot in mouth, again

It's unfortunate Mr. Bond doesn't know when to quit while he's ahead.

His responses to the comments completely undermine his argument for free market capitalistic competition.

He's for it in Cottonwood, except he's against it on a national level.

Mr. Bond would do well to focus his formidable skills, knowledge, and abilities on Cottonwood and leave the national stuff for another time and place.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: John Bond

Well put, Mr. Bond:

You anonymously say. "you should not let government take over your health care…"

Your comment sounds eerily reminiscent of the Tea Party people who loudly proclaimed to the Federal Government, "Keep your hands off my Medicare."

Medicare is one of the most efficient programs of the federal government.

If we moved to a Medicare for all, single payer plan, healthcare costs would plummet and everyone would be able to receive quality, affordable healthcare in a healthcare system wherein the PROFIT MOTIVE is eliminated.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: John Bond

"He's right of course:

You anonymously say, "And his opinion of Ronald Reagan is diametrically opposed to the reality. If you like a competitive free market system, Reagan was your man."

What I LIKE is a competitive and FAIR market. The concept of a "free market" is a myth. There is no such thing as a "free market".

This is particularly true in a capitalist economic system wherein the capitalist manipulates the supply and demand of a product to extract as much profit from the purchasers as possible.

Furthermore, healthcare is a RIGHT. It should not be subject to the capitalist whims of the profit motive.

GREED [Get Rich Eliminating Everything Democratic] should never enter into the equation when it comes to the provision of healthcare to the citizens of a nation.

Capitalism is antithetical to democracy. It promoted mutual exploitation of citizens and destroys community.

Ronald Reagan was a fascist. His determination to destroy unions and unionism [the most democratic entities in America] were well known and he established his bona fides as a fascist capitalist with his firing of the air traffic controllers.

Ironically, just a few years later, those scabs who replaced the fired union workers voted to form their own union, too.

Anyone who adores Ronald Reagan as the iconic leader of the GOP needs to appreciate that you adoration is for a fanatic, fascist, anti-democratic POTUS who laid the ground work for the modern GOP/TP.

Not something to be particular proud of or worthy of ones admiration given the current government shut down.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: Ron Black

I am a Clarkdale residdent and proud of it. If Michelle Dermo would research further she would find out that she is not forced to use the trash service provided by the Clarkdale untilities. She does not even have to pay if she does not choose to use the service. If she would also compare rates, she would find that Clarkdale rates are competitive if not cheaper to other surrounding communities.
If one would pay attention they would also realize that we only have one trash truck a week going down our streets or roads which is environmentally desirable and safer for my family and it sure is easier on the roads.
I do agree with her on the point of the recycling methods by the contractor. I also wish the present company doing business in Clarkdale were local but so be it for the free enterprise and competetive market.
Let me also say that if a resident has a defective or broken container all it takes is a phone call and a replacement is taken care of in a timely manner.

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Article comment by: Respect From Elected Official.

John, you bring up a good point of the need of our
elected officials to honor and respect every
citizen in our city.

One of the first areas of respect of citizen is for
our elected officials of Cottonwood is to do every
thing to gain/acquire "Full Voting Rights" to every

There are about 20 components within "Full Voting
Rights". And only a few of these components
are honored and practice.

The state constitution requires that the election
process is to be "pure". Our counting of votes
and the handling of our ballots (by rights) shall
be open to the public. But by our unconstitutional
election laws (state, county, local) are NOT open
(even to our election workers/officials).

Our election system has a near zero percent
confidence/certainty when compared to the list of
the about 20 parts of our "Full Voting Rights".

Since we have a near zero percent "purity" of our
local (as well as state, county) elections, we
voters do not know if the folks taking up seats in
elected positions (council and mayor) are truly
elected to those seats.

Now John, will the "elected officials" give the
citizens their due respect and their "Full Voting

Thanks and Good Luck,
Frank Henry

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Article comment by: miss informed

I pay $10 per month for trash service. I sort and transport recyclables to the recycling center at Walmart. I compost organic waste to use in my garden.. The amount of trash I generate is negligible and it is non stinky, In the past I have collaborated with a few neighbors to save my small amount of trash for a few weeks to a few months, until there are enough bags, together with my neighbors' trash, for a pick up truck load. It's a short trip to the dump and cheap too. This is an inexpensive and easy solution to the trash service problem. I think it is a very bad idea to force all citizens of Cottonwood to use a service of the City's choosing. I can choose my own service and at this time I am very happy with the one I have.

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Article comment by: He's right of course

This is one of John Bond's better conceived letters. Nice job.

Of course he's right about earning respect, about competition, about the fallacy of conflating the people of Cottonwood with the city government of Cottonwood.

But I must also point out his enthusiasm for the benefits of our competitive capitalistic system contradicts some of his most cherished socialistic dreams, wherein he conceives government as a benevolent big brother taking care of the so-called "less fortunate."

So he's for socialism, except when he's against it.

And his opinion of Ronald Reagan is diametrically opposed to the reality. If you like a competitive free market system, Reagan was your man.

Remember what he did when the unionized air traffic controllers when on strike?

He just fired 'em all. That took huevos.

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