Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trash Talking

The latest battlefront for the Tea Party: socialized garbage collection.

The Arizona Republic reported this weekend about the intense debate surrounding a change to the community’s garbage collection services. Currently, Fountain Hills’ 25,000 residents can choose between five different collectors. Under the new system, the community has hired a single trash collector to meet the town’s garbage hauling needs, collection days will be reduced to once-a-week, and curbside recycling services will be added. ABC15 reports that Town Manager Rick Davis estimated “total savings to reach about $1,000,000 a year,” and that officials also hope the changes will cut down on pollution, noise, and traffic.

Tea Party groups have come out strongly against the measure. The Republic reports some people have dubbed it “trashcare,” as if it were the local, municipal waste-related cousin of “Obamacare.” Fliers were distributed that read “The Hills Will Have Eyes,” and which raised the specter of a “Fountain Hills Green Police” poking around citizens’ garbage bins. On its website, Arizona Campaign for Liberty warned that “The Fountain Hills Mayor & Town Council is attempting to restrict resident’s choice in trash services by forcing residents into a single payer system!” The Fountain Hills Tea Party’s website reads, “Once more, government is trying to interfere with free market economics.”

Speaking as someone who is under the brutal thumb of Miami-Dade County waste disposal and their big trucks that don’t even use their turn signals, I am in complete solidarity with the freedom fighters of Fountain Hills. Just be sure to separate plastic from glass is all we ask.

The election is over, the World Series is over, and the War Over Christmas hasn’t really started yet. People in retirement communities out in Arizona have to get worked up about something and trash is the next shiny thing.