Trash Wars Update - October 16th, 2021.
The Latest Front In the Battle For South Santa Rosa County, Navarre and Gulf Breeze.
We had another busy day in court with Waste Pro in Santa Rosa County on Friday. Here’s an update.
While Judge Drake did grant Waste Pro a temporary injunction earlier this week bringing our South Santa Rosa service to a halt for the moment – one procedural issue remained; the setting of a bond. (A bond is the amount of money paid by the party seeking the inunction and held by the Court) If the injunction is later removed or overturned as the merits of the case are addressed, the bond can be provided to the enjoined party (Adams) to offset for the damage of being enjoined.
So we headed back to the (virtual) courtroom again with the folks in green and blue in order to have the bond set. We were pretty sure that even Waste Pro doesn’t believe in the arguments that their high-priced, corporate defense lawyers are making. How do we know? Because, when billion-dollar companies make claims they actually believe in, they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and Waste Pro initially proposed a bond amount of $5,000…. 🙄🙄
Basically, they wanted to tie up YOUR right to competitively bid public contracts and YOUR freedom to choose your trash company for a grand total of $5,000.
That’s less than $.20 per household in Navarre and Gulf Breeze.
That’s what they think your freedom is worth, $.20.
The judge settled on a bond of $50,000. (Far below what we argued would be fair, but better than the ridiculous amount Waste Pro initially asked for).
What does this mean for you – our South Santa Rosa County Customer?
It means that the fight continues – and we aren’t backing down.
That being said, if you would like to end service and be refunded, we will refund you for your deposit and delivery fee. Just email our customer service representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All customers will be refunded one half month’s fee for the service we were not able to provide to you.
It also means that October 16th’s pickup will be the last one for a little bit. We are working on alternatives to help us bridge the gap of serving you, while still making sure to stay in compliance with the court. We should have more information as this develops.
It also means, we are asking you to hold on to your cart for a little bit, while we fight this out.
What does illegal mean anyway?
The issue came up during our court hearings this week. Was it illegal for us to pick up trash in South Santa Rosa County without a County permit. Certainly Waste Pro made that argument. We’ll admit that it seems a bit hypocritical to be accused of illegal activity by a Company that was granted illegal exclusivity (as already determined in North Santa Rosa) in an illegal contract that was not competitively bid and violated County rules – in addition to defying common sense and yet, that’s what we are dealing with.
So here’s our argument on that issue (and it is surprisingly simple):
This is America.
That’s really it in a nut shell.
But more specifically, our Constitution makes clear that the power of government derives from the people and that powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the states or the people. As Americans, we opted for a system that does not require us to ask permission from government to undertake activities not expressly prohibited by law. When we wake each day we have the right to do or not do as we please so long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others or violate any properly adopted law. As citizens it is not our job to prove that each action we take is lawful, it is the government’s job to prove an action unlawful.
And so the same here. We believe strongly that we were entitled to a permit and that the permit has been unlawfully withheld by the County in an effort to protect itself from the egregious act of awarding Waste Pro a no-bid contract. And so we believe it is the County’s burden to stop us if the County truly thinks the activity we are undertaking (providing a legitimate and needed service at a fair price to citizens who want it) is illegal. And interestingly, the County made no such attempt, which is telling.
Instead, Waste Pro, who understandably has an economic interest to protect (albeit an illegally acquired one), is serving in the role of attack dog. And clearly they found judicial sympathy at this early stage. But that is ok. The merits of the case have not been decided. We firmly believe that so long as there is someone tenacious and financially solvent enough to fight for it, truth and justice usually prevail.
Christopher Saul is the Chief Marketing Officer for Adams Sanitation. When he isn’t slinging hot garbage from the keyboard – he is spending time with his family. He also likes to watch his SMU Mustangs play football and basketball.
Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners – 2022 On September 8th, Commissioner Dave Piech and the rest of the Santa Rosa County Commission have a big decision to make. The commission could restore your right to pick your trash company – regardless of whether or not you live in north or south Santa Rosa County. We’ve got a stake in this. We admit that! Our business stands to benefit from the restoration of the free market. But this doesn’t mean ending the improper agreement would be the wrong thing to do. Thankfully, Commissioner Piech says he wants to listen to you. That, ultimately, the people should decide. He said as much in a town hall debate earlier this year. Arguments Against Giving Adams A Permit There are a couple of good arguments against ending this improper franchise in south Santa Rosa County. The point has been made that there will be more trash trucks on the roads. Some have argued (we don’t know how many some is, but we’ll entertain it) will lead to overcrowding on the roads and a lower quality of life for south end citizens. Not only that – the county attorney said voting to give us a permit would get Santa Rosa County sued! Those are decent arguments, here are ours. An Adams Sanitation Truck that’s ready to roll into South Santa Rosa County (Again). Arguments For Giving Adams Sanitation A Permit You can ask our legal guy – Nathan – if you put six lawyers in a room, you’ll get six different opinions. More than that, The County Attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the actions of the board – both past and present. He’s the attorney for the commissioners, not the citizens. It means he is responsible for keeping the commissioners and the past and present decisions as risk-free as possible. The attorney is simply doing his job by telling the commissioners that the County might get sued. In reality, the buck stops with the commissioners – not the attorney – they are responsible to you and are empowered by their position to vote their conscience. Additionally, the county attorney has warned voting to end the exclusive contract with Waste Pro means… Waste Pro will sue the county! But, if they vote us down, we’ve proven – at least five times – that we’ll go to court to protect peoples’ rights in Santa Rosa County. So, really, it’s only a matter of who will be suing Santa Rosa County after September 22nd – and if the commission wants to do the right thing for the people of Santa Rosa County. The reality is that no matter what decision gets made, there will likely be more litigation… they don’t call it the trash wars for nothing. If the County is going to get sued, shouldn’t it get sued for doing the right thing on September 22nd? Finally, after we introduced competition into the market – everyone can agree – the quality of service whether from us or from Waste Pro – improved. Competition, whether through a legitimate bidding process – (a step skipped by the County when awarding Waste Pro a new bid franchise), or through the open market, is better and fairer for everyone. Government shouldn’t rip peoples’ rights from them. And if the County is going to close the free market, it has the obligation to replace it with a fair and open competitive bidding process. September 22nd gives the commission a chance to make things right. Ask Commissioner Piech – and all of the commissioners – to do the right thing by sending a note that explains this argument at the link below. We’ll write out the bullet points, but we need your help to ensure justice is served. Click below to email YOUR commissioners – we’ll take care of the rest. September 22nd gives the commission a chance to make things right. Ask Commissioner Piech – and all of the commissioners – to do the right thing by sending a note that explains this argument at the link below. Junior Jumper Beau Boyles picks up the trash at a dump site near Crestview Sign the Petition
The Great Trash Debate Santa Rosa County Commissioners debate the pros and cons of allowing the citizens to pick their own trash company. You know what side Adams Sanitation is on – now you can find out which side the commissioners are on. Hit the play button in order to watch what happens next. If you haven’t done so yet – now is as good a time as any to send the commissioners a form-letter email to the inboxes – letting them know where you stand on the issue. Send Your Elected Officials a Note
this is a big win for the public’s right to public records. Waste Pro’s lawsuits in response to both public records requests were an end-run around Florida’s cherished Sunshine and Public Records laws.