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Letter to the Editor: Shafter, our city

To the Editor:

There are few things that keep me awake at night, but the recent decision by our City Council to move all trash pickup to the curb is one. The many years I served on the City Council, being a Rotarian, I tried to base decisions on the Rotary 4-Way Test.

1) Is it the truth? Impacted citizens in our community were not involved in the process to determine the final, best and most economic location for our trash service pickup. We were told the three-bin individual home pickup is state mandated. That part was true, but the location of the pickup was not state mandated; that was a decision made by the City Council. In many cases this will incur a needless and unnecessary economic impact on citizens of our community and lead to an unfunded mandate, for no logical reason, when alley pickup will work in the majority of the alleys.

2) Is it fair for all concerned? Those who have alley service now have a reasonable expectation that is where trash pickup service will be performed. Houses were built and landscaped upon that premise, leaving many with no way to roll trash bins to the curb in front.

3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Not involving people in a decision process that impacts them and imposing a mandate unilaterally certainly does not build goodwill. In past years, Shafter was in the forefront of involving the citizens and seeking their input for their vision for the city.

4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned? I think not. Those who built their homes with alley access will not be equally impacted as those who do not have alleys and who built or bought their homes with the infrastructure to accommodate curbside services.

The Four-Way Test is about fellowship, community, empathy, accountability and trust. The new curbside only trash service pickup mandate does not accomplish any of these goals. The purpose of a city council should be to represent and listen to its citizens and, unfortunately, there are many of us who feel unrepresented and unheard.

Former City Council member, mayor and current Rotarian,

Garry Nelson


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