Utilitiies, Refuse & Recycling

UtilitiesI support:

  • Bringing all utilities in public municipal ownership
  • Delivering water and electricity service at cost
  • Bringing refuse and recycling collection into public ownership

I’m proud of my socialist values and have been involved with the Democratic Socialists of America for many years – including a stint on the Metro DC chapter’s steering committee. These values inform my commitment to bringing DC’s utilities provision, refuse collection and recycling into public municipal ownership. Both Republicans and Democrats harp on about how privatization somehow leads to “greater efficiency.” They have this completely the wrong way round; the reality is that certain industries have been proven to function better in the public sector. Many European counties successfully run their water and electricity provision in this way. The result has overwhelmingly been better service at a lower cost. The reason for this is quite straightforward – whereas private companies pay dividends to shareholders and often outrageously inflated salaries to CEOs, public ownership eliminates this overhead. As a result, the endless price gouging of the private system can be eliminated by delivering services at cost – that is, at no greater a price that it costs to produce them.

Refuse collection and recycling are also natural monopolies that are better off in the public sector. The current situation in which each house or apartment building has to sign a contract with a private refuse and recycling collector is, in my view, completely ridiculous. Like the fire brigade, these are natural monopolies that could easily be brought into public ownership. As a Statehood Green, if elected I would constantly be looking out for new and better ways to dispose of waste and promote recycling. There are many lessens that DC could learn from other countries and even other jurisdictions within the United States.