With these haulers competing for customers, the city of Los Angeles has kept waste collection and recycling rates low and service high. Competition is the economic engine that translates into lower rates, better service and innovation in creating markets for new recycled products. For businesses in Los Angeles, the solution under the current competitive waste collection program is simple: If you don’t like the service you are receiving, hire another company. If you think you are paying too much, hire one with a lower rate. Take competition away and city businesses, along with their customers, will face another economic hit.

As Los Angeles moves toward a commercial franchise arrangement, the most important factor is to develop a nonexclusive franchise that keeps competition alive.

We support the city of Los Angeles in setting a level playing field with appropriate environmental and recycling standards for all to meet and then letting industry compete on price and service. We always have, to the great benefit of city businesses.

Take away competition, like the author of the aforementioned editorial advocates, and you dismantle a vital waste industry and launch a tidal wave of negative economic impacts that will roll throughout Los Angeles. Under an exclusive franchise system, businesses are trapped, a competitive service mutates into a utility and you are forced to pay the prescribed rate with no other options. The difference is a business will pass higher costs on to you – the consumer. Does anyone believe that a city-created exclusive monopoly will be good news for the consumer and our city? Don’t let other people’s private agendas, and phony scare tactics, destroy one of the proven best progressive and responsive waste programs in the country.

Ron Saldana is the executive director of the Los Angeles County Disposal Association, which represents solid-waste recyclers, haulers, waste facility owners and operators, and associated companies throughout Southern California.