Letters to Editor -
Other Thoughts and Concerns
I still don't see what makes Norm Wietting/Cimarron any more qualified for running Orcas Transfer Station (besides financials) than ORS, considering that he lives in Bellevue and would not be involved in local day-to-day local management of our operations. Norm Wietting's interest in waste management, from what his resume shows, seems to be in the collection and landfill aspects. I would like to remind Council that that's a 180 degree turn in direction away from the zero waste model this county aims to meet eventually, and that is required by State Law.
If one factors-in the Skagit County and Sedro Wooley litigation documents, one could find Norm Wietting's career history troubling. The Ray Sizemore Trust assets make Cimarron unbeatable in financials and equipment alone. The Larry Mc Carter connection [Deluxe Recycling Litigation - and now, Recycling and Disposal (RDS)] makes his "letter of recommendation" seem questionable, in my opinion.
Many citizens have questioned whether it's wise for County Officials to allow Cimarron to infiltrate into San Juan County's SW and recycling Local operations and management. How will San Juan County Interest be served by choosing Cimarron, even for the short term? Could Cimarron's contract, or any litigation they might file against San Juan County, put Orcas Transfer Station and surrounding County Properties at risk?
Could Mr. Wietting/Cimarron, by not getting what they want, sue San Juan County and cause closure of OTS; and then buy it from the County for next to nothing - say, the price of the County debt? Has the County accepted the 3%-over-the-excise-tax that Cimarron offered? (no one has mentioned this in awhile.)
To what use would this excess money be put that would benefit self- haul, reuse and locally-based recycling services for the Citizens?
I don't know what Norm Wietting/Cimarron would or will do, I only think about what they could or might do, based on observing what's before me. They seem to want the Orcas facility really badly. Why? To what ends? What are we not being told that we need to be told about Council's and Staff's determination to choose Cimarron and to entertain extended, renewable contracts? Does this decision pertain to the mess made of San Juan island's situation? These are the real questions the County should be asking, and answering, on behalf of its citizens and its coffers.
If the County offers Cimarron a shortened contract with no options for capital investments, would Cimarron and Norm Wietting still be interested in our Little County? Does the upcoming San Juan Island RFP decision factor heavily into choosing Cimarron? I think it does. Could there be a lot more at stake that we don't know about? Has Council sufficiently explored all possible motives, and what could be gained, and lost, in any and all scenarios?
The outsourcing of our resources began 20+ years ago, as you may know - when the Commissioners and former Public Works director dictated our Waste Management/ Cimarron/ San Juan Sanitation arrangement. The people vehemently opposed it and protested then, to no avail.
The dominoes have all been in place for awhile. San Juan Island was the first to fall. The County has made it next to impossible for them to recover or have local control. What happens when all the dominoes start falling?
Awarding SJS curbside route collection may be putting in the final screws in the coffin lid, regarding self-haul, self-determination, and local control. The New SWMP justifies this sharp turn away from Self Haul and Local Control. The Nina Rook survey used to back the County's decision was used out of context. Frank Mulcahy said in the July 4 Islands' Sounder Edition: "It's a brave new world" (Has he ever read Aldous Huxley's book Brave New World?), and, "I think there is life after self haul."
I hope that Mr. Mulcahy's mind wasn't already made up when the New SWMP was drafted. The ballot measure offered in 2011 seemed to set it up by not offering option C (see my former letter to Council/the Editor about Option C). The Public feels betrayed, and rightly so. It will be fascinating to see how the San Juan RFP plays out, which leads to the next topic.
Dan Leidecker Questions and Concerns
First: I certainly don't want SJS drivers to lose their jobs! They are locals who work hard and have families here. Yet - I wish to know where Mr. Leidecker fits into this puzzle, and what sway he might have over this County. How is he connected to the Cimarron/WM partnership, both short and long-term? How have his connections affected the County's determination to go the direction of route-collected vs self-haul? Perhaps because of his long-term contractual working arrangements with Cimarron & Waste Management, both in the San Juan Islands and in his pick-up business and transfer facility in Lynden (Nooksack Valley Disposal, Inc.).
I worry about giving Mr. Leidecker more control in San Juan County. Other concerns and questions about Mr. Leidecker's influence on this County are stated below.
What will happen if Mr. Leidecker decides to permit, and open, his Transfer Station behind the County site, once Flow Control disappears? Would Service Area Ordinances protect against things like this, including his threatening to take all collected materials directly to the mainland if ORS gets the OTS contract?
Can we look into how Pierce County kept Local Control with Service Area Ordinances, for when ORS does take over the OTS? http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/services/home/environ/pdf/solidwaste/appendixF.pdf
Under the WUTC guidelines, the WUTC can intercede if there are "refusal of service" issues and anti-trust issues with their certificated haulers. Does Dan Leidecker's refusal to work with ORS and letter of intent to work only with Cimarron (even after ORS counter-offered for a lower rate than Cimarron) constitute refusal of service or anti-trust? I would like Council and/or Randy Gaylord to look into WUTC policies on these issues. www.wutc.wa.gov/rms2.nsf/vwFilingFormChangeTest/563F4A4FC8360B3488257A5C0073D52A
Waste Management Factoids
This is from the website SourceWatch and their page on Waste Management. It says that WM has the dirtiest environmental history of the "big three." The webpage says that most of WM's landfills are feared likely to become environmentally toxic superfunds - and that WM gets federal grants to "clean up" the superfunds that they CREATE.
It's easy to hide a lot of things behind an ever-changing kaleidoscope of LLCs, subsidiaries, and affiliates, and many large corporations and investment groups do this sort of thing. Read more here: www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Waste_Management
As of 2000, Waste Management had 1,674 subsidiaries. I found this LIST here. The information is from the 2000 Corporate SEC filing. I couldn't find any current information on how many subsidiaries and affiliates Waste Management has currently, but I found these stats in Waste Management's 2011 Financial Report (from the WM website).
WM owns 271 landfill sites, manages 287 Transfer Stations, and its affiliate, Wheelabrator Gas-to-Energy facilities has 22 plants in the U.S. WM also operates 107 MRFs.
Also in WM's 2011 Financial Report, under Environmental: WM was notified that they are a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) in connection with 80 locations listed on the EPA's Superfunds National Priorities List. 17 of these National Priorities Superfund Sites are owned by WM. The other 63 are in various stages of procedure, based on allegations that certain of WM's subsidiaries transported Hazardous Waste to these sites (according to WM, many of the sites were polluted prior to WM's acquisition of them, or from management through their subsidiaries and affiliates. Further research would be needed to confirm or deny WM's claims.)
The County says it is broke and loses more and more money every year on SW operations and upkeep. If that is so, then why does The 2011 Annual Report show the larger picture, which indicates that the culprit for the deficits is not solid waste alone?
sanjuanco.com/Docs/CAgendadocs/02-28-2012/CA_2011FourthQuarterBudgetReport_02282012.pdfPlease see page 8, "Enterprise Funds" chart and text.
Council has repeatedly said that the Solid Waste operations are a losing enterprise for the County. The concerns and questions raised below should be of equal importance and concern to the County, whether the County is in the Red or the Black.
Since the County lumps several things together and then averages out the budget, I don't think it's accurate or fair to to blame Solid Waste expenditures and deficits for the County's budget shortfalls. Solid Waste is not the only area of Enterprise Funds that is consistently over-budget.
In 2011, San Juan County Solid Waste and SW Projects funds made gains - not losses. Actual, compared to budget allotted, shows gains in every area except SW projects, and that had to do with securing the Lopez facility. Solid Waste was in the black in 2011. It looks like over $400,000 was made in 2011.
It is confusing to be told that we are sinking, and that solid waste is losing money, when the numbers show something different.
I understand that some of this is loan money, and some is from delaying stormwater improvement expenditures. But - it seems a weak and disingenuous argument to say that we HAVE to choose Cimarron due to our financial woes, when we have made financial gains of over $400,000 in Solid Waste in 2011.
If we had been implementing robust reduce/ reuse/ recycling programs all along, as the Citizens wanted, the numbers would have likely have been much better for SJC's solid waste and recycling revenue gains. Perhaps it's time to admit that though the County can't picture a way to proceed, the Public can.
If we had been given a Plan "C" ballot measure back in Nov. 2011 (i remember suggesting a Plan C to Council) - to let the Public help direct the direction we wanted to go, I am sure that a Parcel Tax or some other way to pay for recyclables and reuse might have garnered Public support, and we would have not taken all the local control of self haul and recycling out of our New SWMP to try to cobble together a plan that betrays all that we citizens have said we've wanted for years and years.
Cimarron Litigation Links
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/deluxe_recycling.htm All the documents of Sedro Woolley, pertaining to the litigation with Skagit County
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/archive/Deluxe_Recycling/letter_to_commissioners_enclosure02252008.pdf Emails between Will W Honea (Skagit county Prosecuting Atty, and Mike Anderson (mayor of Sedro Woolley) and Eron Berg (Sedro Woolley) ; most recent at top.
Please carefully read the letter from Will Honea to commissioners, dated February 19, 2008 (Top email- starts on page 1). This letter details the Cimarron (Norm Wietting) /Deluxe Litigation(Larry McCarter) history. It may be one of the most important in understanding the history and fallout from the Cimarron contract with Skagit County, and Cimarron's selling it to Deluxe.
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/archive/Deluxe_Recycling/20080509_Kunzler_PRR_Part03.pdf 48 pages of letters; see 2-page letter on bottom of document (pdf pgs 47 &48) from Will Honea, dated April 24, 2008.
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/archive/Deluxe_Recycling/20080630_Honea_Memo_Regarding_Janicki_LUPA_Appeal.pdf testament/opinion of former public works director (who quit over the cimarron/deluxe deal and corrupt council members shooing it in)
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/deluxe_recycling.htm Cimarron's Original 41 page contract - With Norm Wietting's signature. The two Commissioners who signed - Anderson and Munk- were friends with, and former business partners of, Cimarron's owner Ray Sizemore).Contract legality issues?
www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us/Home/archive/Deluxe_Recycling/20080425_ARSSR_EXHIBIT_D.pdf Newspaper article by James Geluso, Skagit Valley Herald, 2006
I hope that Council will at least read the top several enclosures of documents provided in the LINKS pages. I will be sending any other pertinent document links soon, as I am still doing research. I hope Council will at least look into what seems most at-risk, and proceed with caution and wisdom and come up with the best solution for one and all. Please ask if you need more information.
Can we prevent going down a one-way road self-destruction for self-haul, reuse, and local recycling?
I would like to know the proper procedure for myself, the Public, and/or the County, to obtain Standing on any of the above-mentioned concerns and issues, should things proceed to the Courts or to the Growth Management Hearings Board. Thank you for your consideration of these matters. A response is respectfully requested.
Sadie Bailey Eastsound, WA