Ganders & Gangsters.
Rivrdog sent me a link to a news story over the weekend.
A reputed mob boss, a former mayor and the owner of a trash hauling business were among 29 people charged Friday in a federal investigation into the mob’s influence over the region’s trash hauling industry.
The indictment alleges that companies owned by James Galante paid a “mob tax” to Matthew Ianniello, the reputed boss of the Genovese crime family. The payments were part of a scheme in which trash haulers carved out routes and agreed not to steal each other’s customers, according to the indictment.
The mob influence stifled competition “by preventing small independent companies from competing,” the indictment alleges.
I highlighted the end of that snippet of the story for a very important reason:
If the feds are going to indict and prosecute these 29 people for the point of convicting them and sending them to prison, then they need to swing into the Pacific NW and do the exact same thing to the Seattle City Council.
And this is why:
Up until a few years ago, the City of Seattle set only minimum charges for ‘Municiple Solid Waste’ (aka MSW). This was so that one of the large national companies couldn’t step in and undercut the small guy, thereby putting him out of business. The larger companies could afford to take the hit from charging 25% less than the smaller companies and while this minimum wasn’t the best idea as to how to control it, it worked relatively well.
So instead of undercutting the smaller guys, the two largest companies came into town and just bought 90% of them up and combined them into two competing powerhouses. The unions didn’t complain about this one bit. And neither did I because it was the nature of the market for it to happen, AND it put me in a better position to ask for extra monetary compensation for my time spent at ‘work’.
But in the past couple years, the Seattle City Council has gone from mildly socialistic to completely Bolshevic.
The city of Seattle is split into two ‘zones’. Only one of the two largest companies is allowed to pick up ANY trash in that one ‘zone’. The other company is subject to fines if they pick up within the other’s ‘zone’. The charges are set by, billed by and collected by the city. The city then gives the collection/hauling companies their money depending on the amount collected/hauled.
If a customer in one zone wants their MSW to be picked up by the other company, that customer MUST pay a 10% surcharge directly to the city. No ifs, ands or buts allowed.
This is for private commercial MSW only. The residential areas have been divided up into three zones and those are bid out to any company, but because of the lock on the commercial end of the business, only two companies will ever be able to gather the manpower to fulfill the necessary bid.
Also, things like commercial recycling are somewhat open for competition, but if you read my post on how socialists killed the recycling industry, you’d know there isn’t much competition there anymore either.
The minimum price fix is still in place for things like concrete, wood and gypsum recycling as well as construction debris, with some of the smaller companies still being able to compete, so long as the larger companies don’t try too exceptionally hard to run them out of town.
But when it comes to MSW, I see no difference between what the 29 defendants in the Connecitcut story are accused of and what the Seattle City Council has done.
To the Council, competition is “A Bad Thing” that they must have control over.