Remember the City of Cleveland’s statement that blames people for contaminating 68% of recycling inputs?
I have a story about that.
I heard that stat and wondered how it could be true, that “68% of recycled materials are contaminated and have to be sent to a regular landfill.” Like, what does that number even mean? If I have 100 barrels of recyclable plastic and put a dead mouse in 68 of them, sure, I can say 68% of my “materials” are contaminated. Or it could mean the barrels on average contain 68% unrecyclable crap.
Or it could mean that when the stuff is all smushed in the recycling truck about 68% of the loads aren’t acceptable to the exporter. I mean that’s a legitimate ambiguity.
That’s not a pointless question. The way to remediate the “one dead mouse” scenario is a lot different from the “68% unrecyclable crap” scenario. And if the problem is happening at the aggregation end maybe we can talk about not aggregating, right?
Darnell Brown said out loud that a lot of people are using their blue recycling carts as a “second trash can.” Which is a whole different thing to solve versus people being a little clueless about what kinds of plastic are acceptable. For example.
In other words, I’m not asking just to be an asshole here. Different problems require different solutions. Failing to distinguish means you are not even beginning to look for solutions. It means you are looking for excuses to fail.
🚨Major point here🚨
We have absolutely zero evidence that Frank, that Darnell Brown, that the Division of Waste Collection have done even an iota of problem solving around recycling. They just started trashing it. They’re working harder on the excuses than on the problem.
So I asked City Council members about this. They were at the meeting where Brown threw out the 68% figure. Nobody knew what he meant. Nobody asked at the time. Nobody chose to follow up and find out. Finally, on the 13th of May, I made a formal Public Records request. I straight up asked the Division of Waste Collection where that 68% number came from, how it was reported, what their source of information was, and what attempts they have made to remediate it.
Here’s where the request stands right now. This is bullshit.
The state law that regulates Public Records requests says that the City is supposed to hand over the information “promptly,” without defining that word precisely; courts have consistently ruled that it means like three or four days. Not a month. State law also provides a remedy for this kind of stonewalling bullshit: I can initiate what is technically sort of a lawsuit against the city on behalf of the state, and it is heard directly by the Ohio Court of Appeals.
Don’t get me wrong, I am totally okay with confronting the @CityofCleveland in appeals court. The last time I did that the City’s lawyer was so humiliated he wouldn’t look at me or shake my hand. Judge Rocco called me “memorable.” I won.
On the other hand, I’m busy af here. I’m launching an important new enterprise tech product, by myself, that has nothing to do with any of this. I recently took over an existing networking group for IT managers. I’m part of the Cleveland Pandemic Response organizer group. And people are coalescing around my campaign to be Your Next Mayor of Cleveland.
So it’s a distracting pain in the ass to have to become familiar with “relator actions” and the “Ohio” Sunshine Law and all that just to get one goddman simple question answered. But here we fucking are. The fucking Division of Waste Collection thinks it’s too good to share ordinary information that should be easily accessible to everyone. You’d think I was asking for the nuclear codes here. Just send the damn emails over like you’re supposed to.
My point, and I do have one, is that I’m a relatively educated person who sort of knows how the system works. I ask good questions and refuse to accept bullshit answers. And it’s taking an entire gerfershtunken month to get information about waste collection.
So today, I’m spending $175 out of my own pocket (sigh) and burning most of the day (when I already have three important meetings scheduled) to get the second highest court in “Ohio” to tell the City of Cleveland to, you know, not be crooks. This is exactly how the police consent decree is going. This is exactly how the Q Deal went down. This is exactly why normal people (who unlike me don’t think appeals court is fun) give up on engaging with the City’s rulers.
The stonewalling, fake answers, and carefully structured bullshit will have to stop.
As Your Next Mayor, I will reverse Frank’s standing order to City departments to dig in, drag ass, and stonewall requests for information. My administration will tell you what’s up, answer your questions, provide relevant documents, and (holy shit no really) comply with state laws on open meetings and open records. Sometimes the answer will be no. You won’t always get what you want, but you will get a straight answer and not have to sue us for it.
I can’t believe I have to sue the City to find out what’s up with recycling, but then again I didn’t think I’d have to run for Mayor just to #CleanUpThisButthole.