More recycling fallout

Small businesses gird for high fees after HANC closure

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Losing the HANC reyling center will hurt Haight Street businesses

The unintended consequences of closing the Haight Ashbury's only recycling center are about to ripple through small businesses in the neighborhood. As the recycling center's final days loom, merchants are gearing up to face new fees — as much as $100 a day.

But they may get a reprieve sooner than they think.

State law requires stores that sell beverages in cans and bottles to take them back for recycling -- unless there's a functioning recycling center within a half-mile radius.

With the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council recycling center gone, Whole Foods supermarket, the largest purveyor of beverages on Haight Street, will be faced with a decision — provide bottle and can buy-back services, or pay a $100 a day fee instead. If Whole Foods decides to pay the fee and not provide recycling in the area, small businesses in the Haight will be forced to make the same choice -- only they won't be able to afford the $36,500 a year fee.

San Francisco's Department of the Environment doesn't enforce those fees, but does provide oversight on recycling in San Francisco. Guillermo Rodriguez, spokesperson for the department, said that his office is in the planning stages of creating a mobile recycling center, which could roll out in early 2013.

"Certainly it's not in our interest to have those businesses pack up and move out," Rodriguez said. The mobile recycling center gives the neighborhood a new option.

If a recycling center serves the Haight neighborhood, the small businesses in the area could avoid paying the steep fees, and from having to go through the trouble of seeking exemption.

"Its similar to food trucks," Rodriguez said. "After they finish for the day, they leave. But they'd set up at a usual time in a usual spot."

San Francisco Supervisor Christina Olague, whose district includes the Haight Ashbury, said she was working on a way for HANC to turn into a mobile recycling center. Though she said that those talks had since stalled, Rodriguez said that if HANC wanted to be a partner in the new mobile center, the Department of the Environment would be open to it.

Why does the state of California expect small businesses to provide a can and bottle buy-back program on site, or face fees in the first place?

Rodriguez explained that the laws weren't necessarily made with San Francisco in mind.

"When the rules were drafted, San Francisco was the exception, as we are for a lot of things," Rodriguez told us. "The law was written for the suburbs, where small businesses generally have parking lots where recycling can easily be handled."

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks department has long pushed for the Haight recycling center's ouster. Sarah Ballard, spokesperson for the department, said the recycling fees and regulations that will hit local businesses aren't Rec-Park's problem.

"HANC has been on a month to month lease for over a decade," she said. "The Parks Department have never sought to stop them from seeking non-park property to continue to run their business."

Basically, HANC can operate wherever it wants to — just not in Golden Gate Park. And there aren't a whole lot of other low-cost open spaces where the center can set up shop.

Small businesses we've talked to say they don't have the space, staff, or ability to handle buying back recyclables. Fred Kazzouh, owner of "Fred's New Lite Supermarket" on Haight and Masonic streets, doubted he'd get a reprieve from the fee.

"I mean if we all apply for an exemption, there'll be half a mile radius without a recycling center," Kazzouh said. "I saw recycling centers on Safeway on Webster (street) and I don't see why Whole Foods can't do it."

Kazzouh's store has been in the Haight neighborhood since 1995. The Haight has long been known as a place that draws alternative people, he said. And that's the way he likes it.

Comments

Thanks to Ms. Ballard for putting Rec and Park's attitude in completely understandable terms:

"The San Francisco Recreation and Parks department has long pushed for the Haight recycling center's ouster. Sarah Ballard, spokesperson for the department, said the recycling fees and regulations that will hit local businesses aren't Rec-Park's problem.

"HANC has been on a month to month lease for over a decade," she said. "The Parks Department have never sought to stop them from seeking non-park property to continue to run their business."

Not since the days of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire has there been such an Imperialium as Rec and Park, which apparently does not see itself as part of the city or even as part of the community where it is located.

If the tens of thousands of dollars in free tickets to ball games and performances scarfed up by the likes of Ms. Ballard, Rec and Park officials and the Executive Director, perhaps they could have funds for an outreach and community effort to support their neighborhood.

One senses they hope for an era where only they and their friends use the parks. Oh, wait, that's already their policy, witness the increase in fees for average people.

Posted by CitiReport on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

It's really a very simple concept.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

What part of negotiated service in the Parks Master Plan to manage all recycling services that Gin$burg and his cronies failed to start until this year don't YOU get?

Posted by MistOfTheCity on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

What part of being included HANC into the parks Master Plan to manage all recycling service that Rec&Park's Gin$burg failed to enact his entire career until this year don't YOU get? It was their idea. So, instead of complying with a known fact, they and YOU, Guest, divert the real focus onto something simply trivial.

It's the worst case of spin I have ever seen. I have to go to the bathroom now.

Posted by MistOfTheCity on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

HANC is in the Park.

Ergo, HANC must go. The courts have agreed, It's a non-issue.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 8:28 am

Tell that to the Zoo, which lacked a lease for years. Or tell it to the Stowe Lake boathouse, or, for that matter, tell it to the marines because Rec and Park has a dismal record of maintaining its leases plus setting absurd low prices for favored friends. It is over ripe for a full audit.

Posted by CitiReport on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:34 am

discretion of Rec & Parks, and it is solely their decision whether to allow HANC to remain there or not.

HANC could have taken steps to acquire a longer-term lease elsewhere but has failed to do so. HANC had a good run but it's past it's sell-by date.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:45 am

Agreed.

Posted by MistOfTheCity on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 11:46 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 8:31 am

She's out of a job, and out of relevance.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

Great idea. Why doesn't Guest call London Breed? Oh, that's right. She's shown zero interest in it. Guess that's the whole idea. So much for small business. She was backed by big business.

Posted by CitiReport on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

The law has decided that HANC has to go. Breed cannot stop it.

What private businesses decide to do re recycling is a commercial decision. As long as they abide by the rules, it's a non-issue for Breed.

I was just laughing at Olague thinking she's still important. If she'd wanted relevance, she would have voted differently on RossGate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

You're being an ass. The law doesn't say anything that HANC "has" to go. It's Rec&Park that desires it despite hurting everyone around them. Rec&Park's Gin$burg doesn't care one bit because the parks system lives outside of every taxpayer in the city. They are a special animal called an "enterprise agency". Look it up.

The economy of the city is Breed's concern if she wants to keep her job. People are chomping at the bit to recall someone. It ain't gonna be that Sheriff so it'll either be her or her champion, Mayor Edwin Lee.

Posted by MistOfTheCity on Dec. 26, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

Lee has 70% approval ratings and just won a landslide election.

Breed hasn't even taken office yet!

Olague self-destructed.

HANC has to leave because a court has approved the Park's petition to remove a commercial entity from the Park, as per their master plan.

End of story.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 8:30 am

You're a little out of touch. Lee had 70 percent approval in February. After six months of his behavior toward Mirkarimi, it dropped more than 20 points to under 50%. Worse drop off I've ever seen short of Richard Nixon.

Posted by CitiReport on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:36 am

The only poll I've seen is the one Randy Shaw cited in his 2012 review piece recently - showing Lee with a 70% approval rating. Since about 70% of SF'ers wanted Ross gone, it is unlikely the approval rating would have gone done because of the handling of Ross's crimes and abuse.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:47 am

Yeah, Randy Shaw is a "reliable source." What part about corruption and reliance on public contracts makes Randy Shaw an ethical spokesperson for anyone but his own direct financial interests and the kibbles and bits that he feeds to his lapdog?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:51 am

Shaw is actually out there in the real world doing things regardless of whether you personally approve of them.

Redmond (and you) just whins and carp from the sidelines, achieving nothing and helping nobody.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:14 am

Yeah, in the real world with public dollars guaranteeing his ventures.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:36 am

But if the citizens of SF were polled on who has helped the homeless the most, Shaw would win by a landslide over armchair critics like you and Redmond.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:43 am

Yes, the homeless problem is solved, Randy retreats to his Oakland Hills mansion every night and Ed Lee has progressive cover.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:50 am

services for the poor and homeless.

What have you created?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 11:23 am

A steady stream of San Francisco property tax checks that don't bounce?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 11:49 am

you get a break in Prop 13.

Only a few get out from behind their desks and actually try and do something to help.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

I've done more to try to help than most who don't get paid to do this kind of stuff, and at every turn, those who are paid to allegedly do this stuff ended up undercutting and selling out for a cheap chunk of city cash.

All the while, the circumstances of the poor continue to deteriorate in San Francisco yet they still get paid. What's with that shit?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

cannot turn SF from a vibrant, prosperous place into a cheap, nasty dump like Detroit just so a few poor people are happier. WE can't drag everyone down to that level.

At some point, many of these poor should maybe consider how appropriate it is to live in the most affluent zipcodes. There aren't many poor people in Aspen or Maui either.

But perhaps, by attracting enough business, development and prosperity here, we can afford to help at least some of the poor, if they really cannot just move to Oakland.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

Concern troll.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

starts using the "troll" attribute, rather than address the argument.

Not everyone can afford to live in SF. It's really that simple.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

No, you're a concern troll when you pimp a corporate agenda and then sentimentally proclaim that doing more of that will help some of the most vulnerable poor.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

tax base and revenue take might help those who most need city services?

Then I guess everyone is a "troll".

If you really don't have a counter-argument, then be man enough to admit it rather than throwing out vacuous labels and lame insults.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

All hail our economic superiors who grace us with their beneficence and maybe even a job!

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

Ever stop to consider that? Take your time.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

debate the real issues honestly?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

Again, you reinforce the notion that public policy is only to be decided by those with a direct financial interest in public policy. That is the end of ethics and the beginning of the inevitable decline that such blatant self dealing entails.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

political reality. Those who merely consider ideology never have their ideas tested in the real world and can somehow believe that their way is better. But, when elected, and when faced with reality, those in charge always moderate their ideology and work with all factions to create compromises.

Public policy, in the end, is decided by the public. And when SF's public voted for Lee 60-40 over the obstructionist NIMBY Avalos, that same public expressed their desire for more growth, development, business, jobs and prosperity.

Your "tax the rich" and "build nothing" ideology cannot win over the average hard-working, tax-paying voter. And never could. You're in an ideological vaccuum, swatting at imaginary flies and epitomizing the intellectual bankruptcy and irrelevance of the left in a post-industrial, post-union America.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

Right, we are to pay taxes and then shut the fuck up while those with claims on public resources and entitlements arrange how they will be redistributed upwards and away from anything resembling honest delivery of public services.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

Municipalities pay a dollar to get two dollars back. Tax breaks to enterprises can more than pay for themselves thru increased indirect taxes and benefits. you really should study these issues more, rather than just repeat vacuous cliches.

Not all tax breaks work out, but not all fail either. You have to get into the dirty details rather than mutter high-level mantra's.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

Argument by the waving of hands that have just pulled loads of craptacularism out of your ass are no substitute for empirical evidence which does not exist. Just as yelling cannot overcome a language barrier, endless recitations of catechism do not suffice for empirical data.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

I'm an iconoclastic heretic more so than a naive Randian economist.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

inversely proportional to the amount you post.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

Yes, it is all one grand competition to see who has the most influence and who can command public resources for private ends.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 5:22 pm
Posted by anonymous on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

But in politics, San Franciscans always lose and the commuter nonprofit corps and the developers always seem to win no matter what the outcome of elections.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

if you can

Posted by guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:08 am

Make your point

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:26 am

Enrique Pearce ran Christina's campaign into the ground.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:49 am

Although she probably would have lost anyway. Davis self-destructed as well, Rizzo didn't really want the job and the rest were no-hopers. Easy win for Breed.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 9:58 am

Olague was just doing as instructed by Pearce. You don't think that Christina wrote that legalese that she read, do you? Olague was a vehicle by which Lee obtained progressive cover, placating the nonprofit tribes, after which she was dispensed and flushed like toilet paper. But Enrique got paid, yes he did!

Posted by marcos on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:08 am

A stronger candidate would not have been so easily manipulated.

Perhaps Lee told her to support Ross, to further undermine her re-election hopes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:28 am

she'd voted with the mayor on Mirkarimi. Ross still has widespread and profound support in his former district and Olague's weakest point was the perception that she was in Lee's pocket.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

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