Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham has a long history of responding to constituent e-mail, something not all Council members regularly do. His responses tend to be short, crisp and to the point. This can elicit a positive or negative review from the recipient, typically depending on whether or not they have truly done their homework on the issue for which they spoke up. Recently, Waste Management undertook a stealth campaign using a group called “Honorthecontract.com.” What is perhaps most amusing about this group is its name. The City has expressed no interest in canceling its current contract with Waste Management—it is simply making a decision in regards to what will happen at the conclusion of that contract. Waste Management, of course, holds to the belief that the contract will not end in 7 years, but legal experts and the City’s Office of General Counsel have stated that their argument is futile.
That hasn’t stopped Waste Management; however, from an ongoing campaign that cherry picks what information they would like to dispense. In their latest mass mailing, Honorthecontract.com asked citizens to contact their Council members to tell them to “honor the contract.” The e-mails are short and cryptic, telling of someone who hasn’t even bothered to educate themselves on an issue, but feels a need to e-mail. In their advertisements, Waste Management has included the section where the Council’s Auditor discusses the savings the new contract would present over the current one. Waste Management, of course, fails to tell citizens that this would actually be a new contract and also fails to mention that the Auditor recommends that the contract be bid.
Art Graham, in a two-sentence response to one of these e-mails, asked a very simply question:
I just have one question – you quoted the numbers from our auditor Kirk Sherman, but you failed to mention that Kirk recommends we bid the contact. Why is that?
Perhaps we can put that question to Waste Management. Why have you engaged in an ongoing campaign of partial facts, hidden behind friendly-sounding “citizen groups?” The City Council’s Auditor recommends that the contract be bid. If you are going to quote from his report, why don’t you go ahead and share his actual findings and recommendations with the citizens of Jacksonville?