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Thread: Recycling

  1. #1

    Default Recycling

    March 4, 2004

    City to Resume Glass Recycling and Weekly Collection in April

    By ANTHONY DePALMA

    Got glass?

    Think twice before tossing it into the trash.

    Now that the city is on track to resume its full recycling schedule on April 1, New Yorkers will once again have to get used to rinsing out mayonnaise jars and soda bottles and putting them aside the way they used to before glass recycling was suspended two years ago.

    And the alternate-week pickup schedule the city imposed last year? Forget that, too. Starting April 1, the recycling truck will show up every week.

    The Sanitation Department has put the new recycling rules on its Web site ( www.nyc.gov/sanitation ) and plans to mail brochures to all residents, owners and building managers later this month, said John J. Doherty, the commissioner.

    The return of full recycling comes just as New Yorkers seemed to be getting used to last year's set of rules. City officials said yesterday that they expect widespread confusion, and acknowledged uncertainty over the program's cost and whether it will even work.

    The Bloomberg administration first cut into the recycling program in 2002, and fiddled with it again last year. But then as the budget picture improved and environmental and community groups mounted stronger objections, the mayor promised to restore the recycling program.

    Some questions over the costs of recycling stemmed from a report last month by the Independent Budget Office, which tried to clarify its position yesterday.

    After analyzing Sanitation Department spending, the budget office asserted that recycling costs taxpayers roughly $34 million a year more than simply throwing everything away.

    The real message of the report, said Preston Niblack, the deputy director, was that the incremental cost of recycling has been falling steadily. Increased rates of recycling, he said, would reduce costs even further.

    But because so many New Yorkers are concerned about the environment, he said, "cost alone should not be the only grounds on which we evaluate the recycling program."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

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    March 5, 2004

    Sorting Refuse Would Be a Snap if Only They Could Sort the Rules

    By ANDY NEWMAN

    It seems that you can't please anyone in New York City. People complained for years about having to recycle their trash. Then they complained when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg canceled most recycling to save the city money. And they positively howled in confusion when he restored some recycling but cut collections to every other week.

    So it should not be surprising that many New Yorkers greeted the news that full weekly recycling of glass, plastic, metal and paper would resume in four weeks less than enthusiastically.

    "Now we're going to have to worry about the glass?" Mary Owens, the superintendent of an apartment building overlooking Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, said yesterday. "The people in the building won't recycle glass unless a miracle happens."

    City officials say the new schedule, beginning April 1, should clear up any confusion that crept in as the city lurched in recent years from one recycling regimen to the next.

    But the fact is that many New Yorkers never quite got the hang of it to begin with. A Marist College poll in 2001 - before the gutting of the recycling program - found most New Yorkers scoring below 50 percent on a pop quiz about whether 12 common household items could be recycled. (Only 3 out of 918 respondents got all 12 answers right.)

    A partial tour of the city yesterday found that even in two community districts, one encompassing much of brownstone Brooklyn and one in the northeast Bronx - where recycling participation was once high but fell by more than a third during the dark years - confusion was still prevalent.

    "It's still very unclear in my mind," said Jon Naiman, 38, a photographer in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. "I don't see other households are getting it either. My impression is I'm a fairly attuned person and I can't figure it out."

    For example, Mr. Naiman said, "I don't think you're supposed to mix cardboard and paper." In fact, you can.

    "And,'' he asked, "what about laundry detergent jugs? Are they recyclable?" Indeed they are, as are all narrow-necked plastic bottles with the little "1" or "2" inside the triangular recycling logo at the base.

    In Woodlawn in the Bronx, Anne Marie Weyrauch, it turns out, had the rules wrong. "Now glass is going in with the regular garbage?" she asked. No, she was told, glass will now be recycled.

    "That's funny," said Ms. Weyrauch, 33. "I just left the glass in the clear bag today and put it out to be recycled."

    Ms. Weyrauch is no slouch when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy. She works for a car dealership and said she had no problem navigating the complexities of obtaining registrations and license plates for customers' cars. But there is something about recycling policies that seems to short-circuit some people's brains. "I remember they posted signs that they're not recycling something," she said. "But I forgot what it is."

    For the record, here are some things that may be recycled: pizza boxes, envelopes with windows, aerosol cans and toasters.

    Here are some things that may not be recycled: plastic shopping bags, clamshell deli containers, mirrors and light bulbs.

    The city will be sending households a flier explaining all this in the coming weeks. Don't recycle it.

    What will it take to get people to toe the line on recycling? Corporal punishment, or the threat thereof, was cited by several subjects. Ms. Owens in the Bronx said she recycled assiduously because her husband hits her in the head if she doesn't.

    In Park Slope, Brooklyn, Joe Taverney, 28, recalled that not long ago, "I put out some glass, but my landlord threatened me and then I remembered."

    Philip Ameduri, a landlord of two buildings in Carroll Gardens, said his tenants seldom slipped up. "If I see something wrong, I tell them how to do it," Mr. Ameduri said. "It's my way or the highway."

    Mr. Ameduri, retired from a job on Wall Street, had no patience with recycling know-nothings. "If you look at the pictures on the sign, it's not hard," he said, adding that his motto, "When in doubt, recycle it," had never steered him wrong.

    Then there are parts of the city where the latest developments in the recycling policy are likely to be just as widely ignored as previous ones.

    "I don't do it," said Anna Anglero, 44, who lives in the Red Hook West city housing complex in Brooklyn. "We have the incinerators right there so I just throw everything in it."

    Some New Yorkers rejoiced to hear of recycling's return.

    "That's excellent," said William Imboden, 42, a television producer in Park Slope. "We've been up to our eyeballs in recycling, and when the snows came they missed us and we had stuff all over the stoop."

    "And it smells," chimed in his wife, Fiona Imboden, 38.

    "It costs money, but it seems like a cost worth paying," Mr. Imboden said.

    "We have to be environmentally conscious," Ms. Imboden added.

    But even some steadfast recycling supporters harbored doubts.

    "How long is this going to last, six months?" asked Greg Grogan, the superintendent of an apartment building on Grand Concourse in the Bronx. "He should make a law and stick with it."

    Ann Farmer and Howard O. Stier contributed reporting for this article.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #3

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    March 7, 2004

    Bring Back Composting

    To the Editor:

    Re "City to Resume Full Recycling but Expects Some Confusion" (news article, March 4):

    When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suspended recycling in 2002, the citywide composting program was eliminated. Composting is the purest form of waste prevention and recycling. Although it costs the city, as do other recycling programs, composting of the city's 19,000 tons of leaves results in a valuable product and avoids trucking it to out-of-state landfills or incinerators.

    This black gold was distributed throughout the five boroughs to community gardens, schools and churches as well as to individual residents for no charge. Why is there no mention of composting coming back to the city?

    PATTY KLEINBERG
    Douglaston, Queens, March 4, 2004
    The writer is director of education at Queens Botanical Garden.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  4. #4

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    March 23, 2004

    Back to Recycling

    Recycling in New York City didn't entirely go away in the last two years. But it got as confusing as a game of Twister. First, in the summer of 2002, the programs for glass and plastic were suspended. Metal and paper recycling continued. Then plastic came back last summer, but not glass, which still had to be tossed in with regular trash. A further complication was a switch in recycling collections to every other week, instead of weekly. It all left city residents puzzling over their garbage, Hamlet-style: to recycle or not to recycle, that is the question.

    While the city may have had the best of intentions in suspending parts of the recycling program, the experiment did not produce the savings predicted. All those items that could have been recycled were trucked to increasingly expensive landfills, part of the city's 12,000 tons of daily residential and institutional trash. And what wasn't factored into the cost-benefit analysis was the psychological effect on New Yorkers, who had just started internalizing the recycling routine. In 1989, fewer than 1 percent of city residents sorted their newspapers, cans and cartons. By 2002, about 20 percent had the habit. Recycling takes effort, but residents were coming around to seeing it like daily exercise: not always enjoyable, but good for them.

    For confirmed recyclers, tossing bottles in the trash again brought a certain trauma, or a thrill of rule-flouting. Then some got used to promiscuous trash-tossing, and their garbage bags took on the look of a slacker, with unsightly bulges. Reasserting rubbish discipline may not be easy. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental nonprofit group, has helped by paying for subway ads promoting recycling. The city's own re-education campaign includes instructive fliers in newspapers, but cries out for more fanfare. It's up to the city and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in particular to send strong signals that recycling is back for good and that the city takes it very seriously.

    When the mayor cut back, he promised to study the recycling issue, so he deserves credit for following through and reinstating the entire program. Now it's time for Mr. Bloomberg to use his considerable sales skills to persuade New Yorkers to get back on the wagon.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #5

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    April 1, 2004

    New York Returns to Recycling

    By ANTHONY DePALMA

    Full recycling of glass, plastic, metal and paper in New York City will resume this morning after a disruption of almost two years, and if that comes as a surprise, do not be alarmed. Plenty of New Yorkers are unprepared.

    Although the Department of Sanitation put fliers in Sunday newspapers last weekend and has run some advertisements announcing the restoration of glass pickups and the return of weekly collections, environmentalists fear that the city has not done enough to make residents aware of the big changes that are taking place.

    "We need a turbo-charged public education program that can help revitalize recycling in the city," said Mark A. Izeman, a senior lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which tried to promote the effort with its own advertisements earlier this year. "But so far, not much has happened."

    There are two big changes in the program. One is that glass jars and bottles can now be placed in the same container as plastic and metal items. They should be rinsed to avoid attracting pests. Paper and cardboard should be bundled separately from the glass, plastic and metal.

    The other big change is the return to pickups every week. An easy rule for most residents to remember is that they should continue to put out recycling on the same day on which it has been collected for the last year.

    The Sanitation Department is hiring 410 extra workers to help handle the new recycling duties. About 135 are in training and will start working in a few weeks. The others will not be on the job until June.

    While support for recycling remains high in the city, confusion abounds. Experience has shown that consistency and adequate information are two of the most important factors in a recycling program's success.

    But New York's recycling efforts have never had a surplus of either. The program has undergone many changes since it was begun in the early 1990's, and each one seemed to add to the confusion. A budget crisis in 2002 led to the greatest disruption when, to cut costs, the city stopped collecting plastic and glass containers altogether.

    The city resumed collecting plastic last year, but recycling was put on an every-other-week collection schedule.

    Sanitation officials believe it will now be easier for most residents to remember when to put out recyclables.

    "The old schedule was really confusing because people had to check on whether they were on an A-week schedule or a B-week schedule," said Vito A. Turso, deputy commissioner of the Sanitation Department. "Now the answer is, 'You're every week.' "

    Mr. Turso said there was bound to be confusion about what types of glass should be recycled, and what should be thrown out, just as there was before the schedule was changed.

    Residents with questions can check the department's Web site, www.nyc.gov/sanitation , or call 311, the city services hot line. If doubts remain about whether things like broken light bulbs or cracked dishes can be recycled (they cannot), Mr. Turso said, residents should just throw those items in the trash. Putting the wrong items in the recycling container makes it harder to sort and sometimes contaminates a whole batch left for collection.

    Mistakes about where to put glass will be forgiven for at least 60 days. After that, the city expects New Yorkers to live by the new recycling rules.



    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #6

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    April 8, 2004

    Recycling Costs Less

    To the Editor:

    Full weekly recycling is back in New York City (news article, April 1), and it is better than ever.

    Glass and weekly recycling pickups resumed April 1 after brief suspensions prompted by the city's fiscal challenges. I am now confident that New Yorkers can enjoy an even stronger and more efficient recycling program.

    One of the reasons is that recycling vendors, spurred by the suspensions, came forward with more favorable processing fees.

    Two years ago, we faced onerous fees of more than $100 per ton for metal, plastic and glass. Today, these costs are down to about $50 per ton, or half of what they would have been.

    If New Yorkers have any questions about recycling, they should look at the informational brochure we mailed to every household, visit our Web site or simply call 311.

    JOHN J. DOHERTY
    Commissioner, Dept. of Sanitation
    New York, April 7, 2004

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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  8. #8

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    April 11, 2004

    THE VOICE

    As the Glass Shatters, a Super Talks Recycling

    As TOLD to SETH KUGEL

    Danilo Ramos, a building superintendent on the Grand Concourse in Bedford Park in the Bronx, has two words to describe the city's more rigorous recycling law, which went into effect April 1: "Big problem." Mr. Ramos, 46, has worked as a porter, handyman and super since arriving here from the Dominican Republic in 1989. Unlike many New Yorkers, he paid attention when the city made it mandatory for residents to recycle not only metal and paper but also, as in the past, glass.

    Tenants don't like to recycle. They get the city's notices, and the super finds them in the trash the next day. Most people are too lazy to have two trash cans in their house, one for regular garbage and the other for recycling. They say that it attracts cockroaches, that old cans start to stink after a few days. But they also don't want to rinse them out.

    The superintendent stands between the landlord and the tenant. He has to absorb all the blows: the pressure from the building owner to recycle and not to get fines, and the pressure from the tenant who doesn't want to recycle. It's like a sandwich. And the ham is the super.

    Many landlords charge the super for the fines. He ends up as the scapegoat. But the trash comes straight from the tenant's apartment, full of filth and rot.

    Glass recycling is a double problem. Why? Because with glass, it is obvious if a bottle is in the bag. When you throw that black bag, you hear the glass. Once it makes a noise, no need to open it. That's a fine. Glass betrays you.

    I respect my job. When I can see recycling in the bags, I take it out. But you can't always do that. In this building, about 45 percent recycle. Imagine, with the rest not recycling, if I had to open all those bags? You'd need another worker just for that.

    There are fines for the tenants, but the super is the one who has to show the sanitation supervisor that this bag of trash came from such-and-such apartment. That leads to a problem for the super, because the tenant becomes his enemy.

    Where there are two people in an apartment, or one, it's easy. That person recycles. When there is a big family, with children, teenagers, they never recycle. It's universal. They throw everything out together.

    When tenants don't recycle, they're being inconsiderate to the super. It's abuse. It's a lack of respect. And it's also breaking a legal obligation. It leaves the super with work that really is their responsibility.

    As told to Seth Kugel, who translated from the Spanish.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  9. #9

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    April 20, 2004

    City Gets List of Proposals for Cost-Effective Recycling

    By ANTHONY DePALMA

    Full resumption of recycling in New York City this month was an important step toward getting the program back on track, but substantial changes must be made if recycling is to be as cost-effective as promised, according to a new report by a coalition of environmental groups.

    The report does not recommend changing the material collected or pickup schedules, subjects that have already caused substantial confusion in New York. Instead, the focus is on new approaches to what have until now been behind-the-scenes aspects of the recycling program - like who runs it and what happens to the collected material - that have a substantial impact on whether it costs more to recycle than to simply throw bottles, cans and plastic in the trash.

    It was the higher cost of collecting the recyclable materials, and the limited market for selling what the city picked up at curbside, that led Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to eliminate glass and plastics from the program in 2002. The percentage of the city's trash that is recycled has since dropped to 11 percent, from 20.3 percent in 2002.

    "Although we may have disagreed with the mayor's idea to suspend recycling, now that we're bringing it back, there are incredible opportunities to upgrade it," Timothy J. W. Logan, a coordinator with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, one of the groups that contributed to the report, said yesterday. "And this is the time to do it."

    With the resumption of full recycling, glass and plastics are again being collected weekly, along with metal and paper.

    The report, to be released today, makes 10 recommendations that it says will help recycling recover lost ground and become more cost-effective. Foremost among them is creating a powerful office of recycling, which would be more business-oriented and have more influence in determining what is done with recycled material after it is collected.

    "The current structure of the city's recycling program significantly hampers its ability to put cost-saving strategies in place," said the report. Currently, the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling is a comparatively small office of 24 people within the Department of Sanitation. Its director, Robert Lange, is basically in charge of planning, while the department's operations officials actually run it.

    At hearings before the City Council last month on the restoration of full recycling, Mr. Lange was not asked to speak, nor did he sit at the table with Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty during a long discussion of the merits of recycling.

    Mr. Lange defended his office. "There are always improvements that can be made to make work move more smoothly, but you work with what you have," he said.

    Unless the recycling office is given more authority, the report said, New York will be unable to develop strong markets for recyclable materials or deal with handlers as efficiently as San Francisco, Toronto and other cities with strong recycling offices.

    Marcia Bystryn, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters and a contributor to the report, agreed that the recycling office should be more powerful. She headed the city's recycling program for three years in the early 1990's, when she was an assistant commissioner in the Sanitation Department.

    "Simply by virtue of being assistant commissioner, one has greater visibility within the department, which gives you the ability to work more effectively within the department and gives you greater credibility with other departments," she said.

    Ms. Bystryn said the entrepreneurial nature of recycling did not fit well within the Sanitation Department's traditional responsibilities of collecting and cleaning.

    The report raises the possibility of moving the recycling office out of the Sanitation Department and into a more entrepreneurial part of city government, like the Economic Development Corporation, which later this year will help the recycling company that wins the city's first 20-year contract build a modern processing plant.

    The report's other recommendations include expanding the types of bottles covered by New York's bottle bill, and streamlining recyclable collections by picking up glass, plastics, metal and paper all in a single truck.

    Collection accounts for 85 percent of costs, and it would be less expensive to separate the items at a specialized plant than to pick them up with separate trucks, the report says.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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  11. #11
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Geez, this is going to be difficult.

    i am here at work, and for some reason the guys here cant seem to understand that the blue bin is for cans and bottles. I go in there and they treat anything that is a garbage looking container as garbage.

    My bets are that they are people who were never raised in the "recycling era".

    One thing I have to admit though. I am a mixer. 90% of my stuff is put in the appropriate recycle bin, but sometimes you just don't want to have to wash out that container of moldy mayo or spaghetti sauce......

    And collection schedules are a PITA. Coming from Hoboken, they do not want you to put your garbage out before 9PM. Most of the time, if I am not OUT, I am IN for the night by 9PM..... Getting dressed to take the garbage out is a PITA, you know? And timing your recycling for a once-weekly pickup is another PITA.

    man my A is sore... (PS, don't go there!!!! )

  12. #12

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    January 9, 2005

    THE CITY

    About That Old Computer...

    Now that the holidays are over, we find ourselves wondering what the happy owners of new computers and televisions did with their old models. This is not idle curiosity. Unless these electronic devices are redeployed as coffee tables, they might wind up as trash on the streets of New York. That is not illegal - although it should be. E-waste, as it is known, is toxic. It is also the next big challenge in managing the city's mountain of garbage.

    A computer monitor or TV can contain seven pounds of lead, buried beneath the screen. Usually there are various amounts of two other heavy metals, mercury and cadmium, in the cathode ray tube or in components like circuit boards. Cellphone batteries contain some of the same pollutants.

    Many discarded electronic devices end up with the regular trash at an incinerator in New Jersey, where they can produce toxic fumes. Or they are taken to a landfill, where pollutants leach into the soil. Within two years, there may be 500 million obsolete computers in the United States, many of them here. Add to that the televisions orphaned with the proliferation of flat-screen models, and you begin to get the picture.

    The city has addressed the problem in a limited way, by, for example, sponsoring recycling events with equipment makers Dell and Lexmark. One event on Staten Island last fall retrieved five tons of electronics. But by one estimate, there are more than 75,000 tons of personal computers discarded yearly in the city and that doesn't count those stored by owners who would like to get rid of them. A bigger push is needed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed to acknowledge that when he called for an initiative for electronics recycling in his solid waste management plan last year, a good first step, especially coming on the heels of the example the mayor has set on other recyclables. His decision to restore programs to recycle glass, plastics and metals was good for both the environment and the economy.

    The City Council is taking its own lead on e-waste and is working on recycling legislation that may call on the Department of Sanitation to schedule several special pickup days for electronics. That promises to be a useful element in a wider solution.

    New York can learn what not to do by studying California's struggles with an e-waste recycling program, which it finances with an upfront fee of as much as $10 on the purchase of televisions, PC's and other devices. The program has created a whole new bureaucracy and a process so inconvenient it may be discouraging participation.

    A better approach may be to hold manufacturers responsible for the products they produce. Some companies do have programs to take back computers, although they charge the consumer. Maine - taking a cue from European countries and Canada - requires municipalities to help collect the items for delivery to a consolidator, who manages the recycling and bills the manufacturers. Besides providing a way to keep poisons from the air, soil and water, this system might also encourage a more intelligent and less toxic design of our machines.

    E-waste deserves urgent attention. In the meantime, New Yorkers need to do their part and resist the urge to just dump stuff on the street. We recommend that consumers explore recycling options. One way is to go to www.nycwasteless.org and examine its lists of manufacturers' take-back programs for old computers.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  13. #13
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Battery Recycling: NEW Law @ 12.01.2006

    Law Requiring New Yorkers To Recycle Certain Batteries
    Goes Into Effect Friday

    ny1.com
    November 30, 2006

    A new law goes into effect Friday that both requires, and makes it easier, for New Yorkers to properly dispose of certain batteries that are no longer good. NY1’s tech beat reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

    As of Friday, there is a brand new, New York City law; you are no longer allowed to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash.

    “You know these little batteries we have that look very innocuous are actually little toxic time bombs, if you will, because when they end up in landfills, they contain heavy metals, cadmium, nickel, lead, mercury, and when they go into landfills and open up those materials leak into the ground and cause very bad pollution,” explained City Councilman Michael McMahon.

    Any retailer in the city that sells batteries will be required to stick boxes somewhere in the store for consumers to stick any used rechargeable batteries inside, including phone batteries, computer batteries, and camera batteries. At no cost to the store, the non-profit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation will then dispose of them or help redistribute the components.

    “The battery in a cordless phone is typically a nickel cadmium battery so there's nickel and cadmium,” said Ralph Millard of www.call2recycle.org. “The nickel can be recovered from the battery and used to make stainless steel. The cadmium is used to make new batteries.”

    What happens to New Yorkers who decide not to recycle? Well at first there is a six month grace period, after which, if a recyclable battery is found in your trash, you could be fined up to $50 for each battery.

    The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation says last year in the U.S., more than 5 million pounds of batteries were recycled voluntarily. It says thanks to the new law, it expects several hundreds of thousands of pounds more from New York City alone.

    Copyright © 2006 NY1 News.

  14. #14
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    Am I missing something or does recycling rechargable batteries not fix anything? I would guess that people use regular, non-rechargable batteries 10 to 1 over rechargable ones. And, the people who actually do use rechargable batteries rarely throw them out (duh..they're rechargable). Baffling.

  15. #15
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    That's the City Council for you.

    You folks elected them.

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