The San Diego City Council took the first step in what is likely to be a lengthy process of repealing the 103-year-old “People’s Ordinance,” which prohibits the city from charging for trash pickup for single family households. The council voted 8-1 to allow the city’s management team for labor relations to engage in the “meet and confer” process for labor bargaining related to a proposed ballot measure to change that particular quirk in San Diego’s municipal code. Councilman Chris Cate was the sole no vote.
Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilman Joe LaCava proposed the ballot measure for this November, which — if passed — would allow for the city to collect a fee for solid waste collection, transport, disposal and recycling, include the cost of bins and force short-term vacation rentals, accessory dwelling units and “mini-dorms” currently receiving city trash pickup to pay for the services.
The ordinance has been criticized for years by activists for being inequitable and not incentivizing residents to reduce, reuse and recycle. In 2009, a San Diego County grand jury concluded that the ordinance had “outlived its usefulness in a 21st Century society.” It will cost the city an estimated $43.2 million in fiscal year 2022 and is expected to cost at least $234.7 million between fiscal year 2023 and 2027 if not changed, according to city documents.