Residents still fighting city’s trash takeover

You have to admire the tenacity of the Bloomington citizens who continue to fight for their right to decide who picks up their garbage. Rather than rolling over when City Hall took that choice away on October 3, the taxpayer group Hands Off Our Cans generated headlines by taking local officials to court again.

As haulers work out their new routes, the biggest concern surrounding the program remains opposition by a group of residents.

The group, which has raised several challenges against organized collection for more than a year, brought forward a second lawsuit after the City Council this summer said it would be “manifestly unconstitutional” to amend the city’s charter.

“They’re turning an industry upside down in changing our ability to contract who we want to contract with,” said plaintiff William Reichert, who has lived in Bloomington for almost 60 years. “You’re giving up your freedom of choice by letting the city do this.”

 Some residents, such as Reichert, have chosen to take trash disposal into their own hands. A city committee has so far reviewed 140 applications from homeowners who want to opt out of organized hauling, Nguyen Moore said.

The rocky roll out of the suburb’s newly mandated organized collection system also provided a window into City Hall’s patronizing attitude and arrogance.

City Council Member Kim Vlaisavljevich said she understands there are residents who prefer to choose their own hauler. She said she wants to relieve the fears of those who feel that Bloomington is operating under a hidden agenda.

“You need to trust that the elected officials will act in the best interest of the residents,” Vlaisavljevich said.hands-off-guys

Sure, it’s only trash, but maybe supposedly mundane issues like waste collection matter more than ever to an increasingly disenfranchised citizenry. Here’s how Hands Off Our Cans put it in its last email update.

With all due respect Ms. Vlaisavljevich, elected officials are supposed to represent people, not rule over us.  A representative government encourages input and respects the will of the people.  In the case where representatives have differing opinions from the citizens and want to act on them, they should seek to have a dialogue and lead the change through factual information and education.  When the government acts against the will of the people, the citizen petition is the proper remedy.