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Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


The Dog in the Night-Time

In the "The Adventure of Silver Blaze," Sherlock Holmes calls attention to “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." When Inspector Gregory responds, "The dog did nothing in the night-time," Holmes explains, "That was the curious incident."  The dog didn't bark because he knew the intruder.

Similarly, we should pay close attention to what we don't hear in those NSWMA talking points, but should have expected. We know all about the cities that saw the benefits of organizing and attempted to do it, but were driven back by the vocal opposition of some of their constituents. We know all about the fears of residents who oppose organized collection, but have not actually experienced it. The NSWMA talking points are long on beliefs and theories. Where are the examples from cities that have actually implemented organized collection and their residents who have experienced it, to demonstrate those theories and justify those beliefs?  How about a Minnesota city that encountered problems such as high prices and poor service from organized collection, and therefore decided to switch to open hauling in recent years?  Or even a city where there has been a popular outcry and demand to switch away from an organized system?

State law has a very restrictive process for moving to organized collection, but it seems it would be very easy to abandon it. A city could probably switch to open hauling any time their contract with a city-wide hauler or haulers expired, without so much as a public hearing on the topic. You would suppose, then, that it would be relatively easy for residents who are unhappy with their city's organized collection to persuade their leaders to abandon organized collection, if there was widespread dissatisfaction with the results.

NSWMA's silence here may be more informative than all the talking points and bluster that its lawyer sends our way.


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