Jul 242015
 

2 guys killing flies
by Rick Boettger…….

I really like Tony Yaniz. He was the lone Commissioner who fought to get two-way traffic back to North Roosevelt Boulevard, saving desperate local businesses. I know he is always on the job, and believe he always tries to do what is good for his district and the city.

But on returning to twice/week garbage pickup, we respectfully disagree, as in “Tony, you gotta be kiddin’ me!” We met by chance last Wednesday afternoon and I asked if I could get city staff to go out and survey his district for the “stench” and “flies” supposedly thriving because of the once/week pickup. He said waste pickup is Thursday morning, why don’t I do it myself?

So I did. Got out there by 5:15 just ahead of the waste trucks. I surveyed three parts of his wide-spread district, just as I have done twice in my own Old Town district.

The big story is that New Town garbage is even cleaner than Old Town’s. On my Old Town surveys, I saw four flies one time and seven another, plus the outlier that proves there are plenty of flies around if the garbage exists to draw them: a thousand flies were buzzing furiously over a four-pound box of rotting hamburger stuck to the bottom of an emptied bin, filling it with a nightmare cloud (I called Waste Management to handle it).

In a letter to the commissioners, I asked why we should have a second pickup if, say, only one out of fifty bins had a problem. So I decided to check out 100 bins, to see if, say, two had flies. Flies have better senses of smell than we do. A smell we might not notice will attract a fly. Flies mean stinky, and it is easier to spot flies than to go sniffing around every bin.

So I drove around pulling up close enough to the bins to see any flies that might be hanging out. It was warm and calm, perfect stinky weather. But in a half hour of driving around inspecting garbage bins, I saw NOT A SINGLE FLY. After I reached my 100 quota, there were 3 more bins to the end of the street, explaining the 103 in the title.

Tony is trying to sell this as a “health” and “public safety” issue. But the only evidence of any garbage problems is unsupported allegations of “stench” and “maggots.” I say by the evidence of my own eyes that these allegations are false. People in this town know how to put their wet garbage into plastic bags before dumping it in the bin. If someone is dumb enough to dump their fish guts into the bin without being bagged, twice a week won’t make any difference. You could have 7 day/week pickups and those numbskulls’ garbage would still smell.

Only Waste Management will benefit from a cool half million bucks of our money going into their pockets. The extra pickup addresses a problem that simply doesn’t exist, and any stench problem that might affect 1 in 200 (I already tried 100) is not going to be fixed by the extra pickup—the key is packaging your wet garbage in plastic bags.

Worse, to serve the mythical one in 100+ with a self-caused stench problem, we all suffer the clutter of the bins on our streets twice as often, and the traffic congestion caused by the cumbersome trucks and their frequent stops.

Tony, I love ya’, man. You were in the trenches with me on the Boulevard, and you throw your heart and energy every day into working for the public good. I just think you got this one wrong. Let the people at a referendum tell us all whether we need the expense and bother of an extra pickup that addresses an imaginary problem that the second pickup wouldn’t fix.

Uh, People, will you bother to vote?

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Rick Boettger
Rick Boettger had a Top Secret security clearance in the Army and studied nuclear chemistry at MIT and law at Yale before getting a PhD in business at Berkeley. He earned tenure as a business professor at TCU in Fort Worth before going to Moscow as a Fulbright Professor, writing a book on the economy, hosting a semi-national talk radio show, and retiring to Key West in 1996 at the age of 48. Since then he has worked part-time as a tax and financial advisor, and has been doing investigative journalism since he began at the Blue Paper in 2007​. He is very happily married to his superb copy-editor Cynthia Edwards, the former long-time PIO for the Key West Police Department.
 July 24, 2015  Posted by at 12:34 am * Featured Story *, Issue #124, Rick Boettger  Add comments

  6 Responses to “103 Bins, Zero Flies”

  1. Rick,

    It’s an honor and privilege to once again experience your thoughtful, detailed and well-written articles.

    Your exhaustive investigation provides the citizens with a meticulous examination of the data, which will assist city leaders in arriving at a precise determination, as to what course of action to proceed upon.

    Blessings & Respect

  2. you are right Shaquille, what’s not to like about Fat Tony? yes, nothing says “working for the public good” better than complicity in police brutality and murder. but whats that compared to two-way traffic and garbage pickup, right?

    i have no doubt you will sleep like a baby when you drop that ballot into the box.

  3. Well done Rick. I live in Old Town and I have noticed no trash related problems with once a week pick up. You nailed it when talking about the need for people to bag their remains to keep flies and odors manageable. Another thing that people forget is in addition to the congestion of the trucks but also the noise of them at 5am. I prefer to keep my money and continue with the once a week pick up. In fact I often combine my trash with my neighbor since the two of us barely have enough trash after one week, otherwise the trash men have to stop at each of our houses for only a half of a can. With the talks of property taxes and mosquito taxes etc going up, all these things add up to too much money out of my pocket. Control your spending city government, and reduce, reuse and recycle what you can. Be the example and practice what you preach.

  4. Rick, What’s important for me here is to have you back in this publication. It’s good to hear from you again. As for garbage … I’m Post Consumer Man, I make so little garbage it would put me on a Waste Management hit list. I’d also like to say hello to my old bud Fats, a true legend in Key West softball circles and … well, just a true legend in general. ciao, Jerome

  5. Four to five adults on property, lots of home cooking, a reasonably used garbage disposal, plenty of yard waste, most things recycled, but we still never fill the one smaller can we use for regular trash and garbage… As the Aussies say, No flies on me mate!

  6. I do hope your measurements are not based only on number of fly.

    Are other concerns such as rats and roach.