Mayor Gavin Newsom’s mostly un-controversial recycling laws intended to bring the city towards its stated goal of recycling (rather than merely disposing of) 90 percent of its waste sailed into the final stages of reality on Tuesday, but not without opposition from SanFrancisco’s most suburban supervisor, who had Orwellian language handy for the occasion.
That “garbage cops” could someday be paid to investigate his constituents’ bins, looking for soda cans stowed along with trash is “too Big Brother even for me,” said Elsbernd, who noted that trash scavengers’ activities could lead to fines for unsuspecting residents.
Elsbernd and Supervisor Carmen Chu, both mayoral allies, were the only two officials to oppose the laws, which breezed through with a 9-2 vote. Newsom’s office put out a release shortly thereafter which made no mention of his buddies’ complaints, but did mention that cities with recycling fines on their books, like Seattle, rarely impose them.
A few minor tweaks were made to the laws before they were given the Big Thumbs Up: food vendors, except food vendors that “issue food in disposable containers” largely for takeout purposes (we’re thinking taco trucks) must provide compost, recycling and trash bins for their customers; and business owners “and their contractors” must work with janitors to provide the necessary bins to separate out Diet Coke cans from TPS reports fand uneaten Lean Cuisines.
The ordinance is expected to be signed off on by the mayor after a successful second reading and final vote with the Board next week. It’ll be “operative” 90 days after that, but with fines for violators on hold until 2011.