Monday, July 07, 2008

Interesting Coincidence

Probably not.

I saw a Richards Disposal (RDI) commercial for the first time over the weekend and was struck by the fact that the whole point of the commercial was what a wonderful company and good corporate citizen RDI is. It might have even used the phrase "good corporate citizen;" it certainly told us about the donations that RDI makes to local schools, but made no effort to pitch RDI's services. I've always assumed that there was some political intent behind the commercials that I've seen for SDT and Metro Disposal, but those two companies do make a pitch for more business. The RDI commercial seemed much more like a commercial for a local utility; Entergy doesn't advertise to get you to use more electricity, it advertises to keep local residents from becoming unhappy with its contract. It's an entirely subjective impression, but the RDI commercial didn't even seem like a Coke commercial, designed to give potential customers a warm, fuzzy feeling about the company so that they'll buy Coke instead of Pepsi, it seemed much more a utility commercial designed to keep voters from writing their city council representatives or PSC members. I wondered why RDI would bother paying for such a commercial since I haven't heard anything about renegotiating the sanitation contracts in months. To renegotiate the contracts, the city council would probably need to amend the foolishly* rewritten sanitation ordinance, show that it's prepared to hold Richards and Metro to all of of the terms of their contracts, and make the companies beg to renegotiate, IMO.

At any rate, I hadn't heard any talk of revisiting the contracts, so I wondered about the commercial. Well, the City Council may have been willing to let the contracts stand, but in today's Picayune, Gordon Russell reminds us that the entire deal needs to be re-examined. I'll have more on this soon, in the mean time be sure to read that Picayune article and put the pressure on the City Council. I wonder if James Eaton will turn out to be a home grown businessman.

*Very foolishly:
Mayor Ray Nagin on Thursday said he is poised to spend $1.5 million to rid New Orleans of heaps of construction debris, even though it appears taxpayers already are paying for the task under a pair of expensive city sanitation contracts that cost a combined $24.5 million per year.

The announcement came on the heels of revelations that city officials are not requiring the vendors, Richard's Disposal and Metro Disposal, to collect debris discarded from gutting and rebuilding projects. The firms' contracts call for collection of "unlimited" bulky waste, including "demolition material," from homes and small businesses.

In explaining their reasoning, city officials have pointed to the building code and an ordinance adopted by the City Council in April -- five months after the contracts were signed -- that saddle residents with the tedious, expensive chore of hauling away all but the most piddling piles of debris.

Council members talked about amending the ordinance, or renegotiating the contracts, when that article came out last November.

Scoping is the part of a project in which you determine what you are going to do (and what you are specifically not going to do). I do IT stuff, not construction, so there may be some aspects of scoping in projects of this sort I am missing. A reasonable guess is they're trying to figure out what can be done at what cost. Scoping is closely tied to estimating. If they're still figuring out what to do with X amount of money, then we're pretty far away from loading up the nail guns (or calling in the demolition team).

Of course Milne Boys Home is where someone once handed a guy named Louis Armstrong a trumpet. For that reason alone it will be share to see it fall from neglect.
I love the phrase "tactical trash force" It conjures up visions of highly trained sanitation workers chasing down fugitive trash on television. Maybe even with trained dogs.
I have see the recent very emotive ads for the NOPD and wonder who is related to that contract.
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