Trash Truth

2001 - Hawthorne's Trash Contract

Gomer Pyle, USMC would again say "Surprise, surprise, surprise". The H&C trash contract was extended in a 3-1-1 vote. Mayor Guidi, Councilmembers Catano, and Parsons voted to extend the controversial contract well into the year 2003. Mrs. Lambert voted "NO" and Schoenfeld abstained after complaining that staff refused to evaluate all the consultants' proposals. Mayor Guidi stated that staff had been sitting on the proposals and had made their decision and that the Council should vote. Public records show that City Works Director Charles Herbertson did not receive the CC proposal (one of three) until Friday, December 7, 2001. Schoenfeld complained it was not in his packet and was faxed to his office mid afternoon before the Council meeting.

Did Mr. Parsons forget his campaign promises?  This was only his second meeting. Why did Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi stop voting with Councilwoman Ginny Lambert on replacing H&C Disposal?  Could it be that elections are over for two more years? 

Could it be a backhanded thank you to Mrs. Lambert for all her help in his last election?

There was even a discussion by the voting majority of extending the contract even longer. Mr. Parsons questioned one of the consultants as to whether the consultant might recommend extending it longer than the 8 months.  Some council watchers thought Mr. Parsons was looking to make a longer deal, despite his campaign promises to put it out to bid immediately if elected. Of course, few people were left to ask questions at midnight.

Hawthorne's trash contractor has not reported making any campaign contributions in 2001, and historically has never made any contributions according to public records.  Hawthorne's trash contractor is well liked by many in the community and has been called "a great corporate neighbor". H&C contributes to and supports many community causes, even some outside Hawthorne. The company usually receives the city's annual largest revenue producer award.

Many find it strange that Councilwoman Lambert attacks H&C routinely, and on a regular basis. Several persons interviewed stated they could not recall Councilwoman Lambert attacking any other city vendors. One other attendee stated Councilwoman Lambert should be "RECALLED" herself. Other Council-watchers reported being pleased after the vote. Several reasons cited were quality of service, price, community commitment, ability to put out extra material without additional charge, prompt responses on calls for special service, being billed an annual charge on the tax bill and not having to pay monthly.

Another recent public document by the city's finance director states that loss of the current franchise fee would jeopardize the new skateboard park and badly needed police station.

Councilman Schoenfeld added that during the recent election campaign, a couple of residents asked him, "What about the trash contract?" Schoenfeld asked, "How much do you pay?"  Neither stated that they knew how much they paid.

Do you know how much you pay?  Did you "mistakenly" deduct that on your income tax as part of your property tax deduction?  The annual fee is on your tax bill for residential service. Commercial fees are billed separately by the city.  One resident asked Schoenfeld, "Why do you guys always try to fix something that isn't broken?  We have real problems you should be addressing."


2003 - Schoenfeld supported REAL bidding on Trash Contract!

Mark Schoenfeld said he supports putting the trash out for an EQUAL COMPARATIVE BID. He stated from day one that he would only support a bid process that maintained an equally high level of service and protection for Hawthorne residents.  He also asked how you could bid on something that the City Council sets the rates for?



For almost 50 years, under Hawthorne's previous trash contract:

1. The City Council set the trash rates. Council could have lowered rates at any time!

2. Commercial paid MORE to partially subsidize the residential rates.

3. Residents could throw UNLIMITED AMOUNTS OF TRANSH out every week as well as furniture, refrigerators, and large item at NO ADDITIONAL COST.

4. There was NO limit on amount of trash cans residents could place at the curb every week. Trash Bags were also acceptable for pickup if you did not have enough cans. ALL AT THE SAME PRICE.

5. Hawthorne received almost 2 million dollars annually from the old trash contract to assist with more police, parks, and services for the residents. These fees were exempt from voter approval because passed prior to Proposition 218.

6. One hauler chosen by the City, picked up residential, commercial, and combed the City daily to clean debris from alleys, parking lots, curbs, sidewalks and streets.

7. The hauler's contract included a  "hold harmless" clause to insulate the City from legal fees resulting from their services.

8. Rotating trash days among neighborhoods allowed a minimum amount of diesel producing trucks to pollute the air, create gridlock and traffic; minimize danger to pedestrians and children walking to school.

9. One company reports amount of refuse as required to be reported under Assembly Bill 939. Easy to audit, easy to manage, no fines imposed by the State.

10. The City of Gardena with 10 haulers, was fined by State because it could not track refuse accurately. Gardena City Council voted to adopt new plan modeled after Hawthorne with ONLY 1 HAULER!


1. City sets the rates. City may raise rates at any time.

2. No "hold harmless agreement". sticks Hawthorne with legal fees and costs that Parsons, Lambert, Catano and Guidi vote to impose on Commercial AND RESIDENTIAL USERS. How much, what is the amount?

3. Commercial rates lowered to benefit Apartment Owners favored by members of the City Council.

4. Some residents said they wanted to choose their own haulers. They CAN'T CHOOSE THEIR OWN HAULER. ONLY APARTMENT OWNERS AND COMMERCIAL USERS CAN CHOOSE!

5. Residential rates drop approximately $3.00 per month, BUT.....

6. RESIDENTS ARE NOW LIMITED TO ONE 65 GALLON CONTAINER, (approximately equivalent to two trash barrels). Option to purchase larger or more cans results in RESULTS IN HIGHER COSTS TO RESIDENTS. Residents may NOT place trash bags out for collection - not to mention large items like sofas and refrigerators that used to be picked up for free.

7. City's expensive consultant makes expensive legal mistake causing large expensive to City in legal and environmental consulting fees.

8. City Council votes to pass the costs of these fees on to commercial users, and ultimately on to residential users as well.

9. City Council subsequently votes to "charge" whatever amount necessary to keep the same amount of Franchise fees flowing to the City. (This loose interpretation may very well cause a Proposition 218 challenge resulting in loss of the fees to the City because not voted and approved by 2/3 of the voters. Imposed after Proposition 218, Proposition 62 was enacted). The fee is vague as nobody knows how much it could will be depending on further lawsuits and environmental review that should have been done FIRST!

10. City approves allowing 10 haulers on the streets thereby increasing pollution, gridlock traffic; increase the risk to public safety.

11. Although yet to be seen, the system rejected by Gardena because it failed, was adopted 4-1 in Hawthorne with MARK SCHOENFELD VOTING NO FOR YOUR PROTECTION.

12. New Large Semi-Automatic barrels are very heavy. Complaints from seniors, invalids, difficult to negotiate over curbs following pickup.

13. Residents with children and large families are now forced to purchase larger barrels at greater expense.

14. Elimination of large waste disposal except by previous appointment.

15. Additional new out of town hauler assigned to pick up debris on sidewalks, alleys and streets.  Often, this hauler does not respond until complaints are filed at City Hall. My street is one of them. I call frequently to complain after two or three days of refuse abandoned on the sidewalks.

16. Multi-litigious previous Party always against the City has promised new Proposition 218 lawsuit. Any costs from protracted litigation will be passed on to us. 

Was this smart? It was a windfall for apartment owners and commercial users but how about the hardworking residents of Hawthorne?  YOU BE THE JUDGE!