Trash talk ends as Mayor Quan brokers Garbage deal

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Oakland reaches deal on garbage collection.

All the trash talking in Oakland appears to be over as Mayor Jean Quan brokered a compromise between Waste Management and California Waste Solutions. The two have agreed to divvy up responsibilities along the garbage routes.

California Waste Solutions, small company compared to Waste Management, had a lot of public support. But California Waste Solutions says the new deal is a win-win.

Under the new deal, Oakland-based California Waste Solutions is going from a billion dollar contract to a $300 million dollar contract. Instead of picking up all of Oakland's trash, it will only be picking up the city's recycling -- a result of hardball tactics by its formidable rival, Waste Management.

"Well, Waste Management has a certain posture that's recognized throughout the United States," explains Joel Corona with California Waste Solutions. They held a news conference on Friday announcing the new deal. Despite the smaller contract, they say they are not bitter.

It was clear, Houston-based Waste Management, the country's largest trash hauler, wasn't going to let Oakland go without a fight. The company filed a lawsuit and launched a voter-referendum drive. The threat of a protracted battle prompted Mayor Jean Quan to broker a compromise. "At least there'll be some stability. We won't have our garbage literally held up in court and they're going to keep the same low price," she said.

While that low price still amounts to a rate hike, city leaders say it was the most affordable option. Nevertheless, splitting up the contract between California Waste Solutions and Waste Management is drawing mixed reactions from Oakland residents.

Deborah Wager, an Oakland resident says, "I feel like this is sort of big guys trying to rough up little guys and the council is sort of in the middle and we as citizens are probably losing."

"I think in a way you have to see it as putting everything together. The company that already had the capability but had a bad attitude versus the company with the great attitude but not all the capability," said Pamela Drake, with the Lakeshore Business Improvement District,

City council members must still approve the deal and are expected to do so at their next meeting on Monday.
Related Topics:
politicsgarbage disposalrecyclingjean quannegotiationslabor unionsOakland
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