No-bid garbage contract is rubbish
In the July 29 article titled “Hills council delivers rubbish rate respite, supports undergrounding,” Los Altos Hills City Manager Carl Cahill is quoted as saying that he and his staff did due diligence by circulating a request for proposal (RFP) to invite GreenWaste’s competitors to bid, but none did so.
Mr. Cahill conveniently neglects to mention that the reason competitors did not bid is that the RFP was put out on Feb. 9 with council evaluations starting in April, for service commencing in July. That was too soon for companies to negotiate downstream contracts and equipment. (GreenWaste started its contract discussions a year earlier.)
Portola Valley and Woodside had a competitive process and got better deals.
Mr. Cahill and Councilman Roger Spreen were the stewards of this 15-year $50 million noncompetitive fiasco, with major increases in cost and reductions in service.
Mr. Spreen had the audacity to state, publicly, without evidence, that we could not have gotten a better deal. There’s the rubbish.
Los Altos Hills
Reach codes promote environmental justice
Living in the privileged bubble that is Los Altos, many of us will never experience environmental racism or see the effects of climate change firsthand. We are protected, so to speak, by circumstance.
But if anything, the fact that we are “safe” makes it more crucial to address these injustices in meaningful ways – because the seemingly harmless carbon emissions we produce here will ultimately devastate more vulnerable communities all around the planet.
Recently, we’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of color. These communities, often underprivileged, will also be hit the hardest and earliest by the repercussions of a changing climate. Decades of redlining and socioeconomic inequality have created this phenomenon, perpetuated by systemic racism. Fossil fuel companies have also intentionally placed extraction sites and power plants near underprivileged communities, knowing that they won’t have their voices heard. As a result, these people have spent decades suffering from toxins in their air and water, and will be devastated by the increasing disasters caused by climate change.
The NAACP explains the environmental justice much better than I can. Please reference its online publications, “Fossil Fueled Foolery,” “Power to the People Toolkit” and “Starting Community-Owned Clean Energy Projects.”
Implementing reach codes is a perfect opportunity to strive for environmental justice. These codes are a series of building ordinances requiring new construction to be electric rather than gas – and because our electricity is already 100% carbon-free from Silicon Valley Clean Energy, they will drastically reduce carbon emissions. This will create a healthier community, while reducing our contribution to global warming.
Los Altos must join surrounding communities in adopting reach codes, both to battle the global climate crisis on a local front and to mitigate the social injustices of environmental racism.
Los Altos High School graduate