Latest trash talking in MV

How do I get to Starbucks

Amazing. The Mission Viejo trash removal consultant Joe Sloan recommends the highest bidder rather than any of the three trash haulers whose proposals were each lower in cost to our residents and business community.
Before commenting further let us take a trip down memory lane involving a more complex and vital vehicle than a trash truck. I am referring to the Lunar Rover LRV-1 and the competitive bid for that NASA program.
The following is from space review 

“There were three primary targets Boeing’s LRV had to meet: performance, schedule and cost; the LRV had to meet all the demanding performance goals under actual conditions on the Moon, it had to be delivered on time and it had to be within Boeing’s lowest bidder figure. [NASA project engineer “Sonny”] Morea made sure the contract was drafted to protect NASA’s interests in all three areas. In addition, Boeing had to build 1-G vehicles for astronaut training and other test units as well. Basically, Boeing had to design, develop, test, build and deliver the LRV in time for Apollo 15 and have it perform flawlessly on the Moon or suffer financial consequences.” 

Notice that it had to be within Boeing’s “lowest bidder figure.”  On July 11, 1969, “the LRV Task Team issued a request for proposals from various NASA contractors” including  Boeing and Grumman.   

Back to earth. That’s not what is being discussed in Mission Viejo. At last night’s meeting with Waste Management, W/M, whose initial proposal was $17 million higher than the lowest bidder, the spokesperson did not address or offer to justify the monthly cost of their service which I believe was above Joe Sloan’s benchmark estimate. 

What Cathy Schlicht and myself heard was an overview of W/M’s food processing technology to increase diversion. Their plan calls for construction of an MRF facility in the city of Orange in 2011.
We were shown photos of solar compactors and recycling Kiosks that could be installed in our city parks, neither of which relate to out household trash removal. 

One comment by W/M’s Charissa McAfee that totally blew me away was during her review of two graph tables on our priorities such as “maintaining a low crime rate” and “maintaining streets conditions” followed by providing “trash collection and recycle services.” 

 I have the same Sept. 2008 True North Research report. Is she saying that council members are not aware of the priority for our trash removal or that W/M is the only vendor qualified to perform this delicate task?  

Carisa told us that MV residents get “drivers they know and trust.” 
What? I have lived in the same house for years before they were awarded the original contract. As I am often home during the day they pick up our trash I do see the drivers but I surely do not get to talk to them no less get to know them. It’s a good thing that City Hall and the conference room is a no smoking area. 

MV residents have done a commendable job of recycling. Yes, we care that our trash is picked up. However, once the truck leaves our front door that is where our participation ends. Furthermore, W/M is not the only trash hauler that has invested in capital improvements to protect the environment. CR&R has a material recovery operation in Perris, CA. Athens has one in the City of Industry. It’s in every trash haulers best interest to have these operations. 

One area worth following as this saga continues will be the use of existing vehicles rather than having a level playing field where all bidders provide new CNG or LNG trucks. W/M provided an alterative bid without new vehicles. If that new cost is used, we have just removed the “apples to apples” comparison. I did question that item last night and was told that the other bidders did not offer an alternative proposal. 

And lastly the subject of franchise fees. In essence, going with the highest bidder wipes out a tax reduction for everyone. In addition to removal of our trash we pay a 5%  franchise fee that would be lower if the lowest bidder would be awarded the contract.
After tonight’s meeting with representatives of Athens I will post my comments on CR&R.

About Larry Gilbert