But Gavrich hopes history doesn't repeat itself and that Chiu shows some leadership on the garbage contract hornet's nest. "There are so many compelling reasons and benefits for the city — but that hasn't stopped the city from doing the wrong thing in the past," Gavrich said. Gavrich pointed to 2007, when all members of the board except Sup. Chris Daly voted to give the sewage sludge contract to Recology even though its bid was $3 million higher than the competitor, S&S Trucking.
A Dec. 14 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article by Robert Selna quoted Mirkarimi as saying that a key reason for awarding the contract to Recology was that it was a union company. "That's the elephant in the room," Mirkarimi said, framing the board's decision to go with Recology as being about "the devil we know." Selna recently left the Chronicle to work as Mirkarimi's legislative aide.
Mirkarimi's recent suggestion that LAFCO explore barging recyclables as a pilot program has Gavrich worried. "Saying let's explore simply barging recyclables makes no sense. It's a fraction of what makes barge/rail haul economically viable." Gavrich said. "It would put a greater burden on the ratepayer than the economic and environmentally inefficient system they have in place at Pier 96. The port should get the deal. It would be a cash cow."