Victoria Smith will be leaving the Orinda City Council in December 2016.
In August, Ms. Smith decided not to seek re-election to a fourth consecutive term on the city council.
What will not be leaving along with her are the very high, garbage-collection fees that Orindans pay.
In her 2012 campaign for the city council, Ms. Smith received contributions from special interests associated with garbage collection.
Ms. Smith was elected to the city council in November 2004 and took office the following month. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.
On Feb. 28, 2005, the typical Orinda garbage bill was $59.46.
By August 31, 2016, that bill was $109.71 — an 85 percent increase.
Orinda’s garbage rates are set by the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority. Currently, Ms. Smith is a member of the board of directors of the Authority. Also, Amy Worth, another member of the city council, is an Authority director. Worth has served on the city council continually since 1998.
According to the Solid Waste Authority, Ms. Smith was appointed to be an Authority director on Jan. 27, 2005, and is still a member. Ms. Worth, was an authority director in 2007-2008, left the Authority, and was appointed again on Jan. 27, 2014.
On a form — California Form 460 — released by the Orinda city clerk’s office, Ms. Smith received $14,476.13 in donations for her 2012 city-council campaign.
According to Form 460, Ms. Smith, on Sept. 14, 2012, received $250 from Republic Services. According to the website of Republic Services, “We are committed to providing reliable and responsible recycling and waste disposal services . . .”
Republic Services is the company that currently collect Orinda’s garbage.
Also, on Sept. 14, 2012, Allied Waste contributed $250 to Ms. Smith’s campaign. From June 2005 to March 2015, Orinda residents sent their garbage bills to Allied Waste.
On October 12, 2012, Ms. Smith received $250 from Sil Garaventa, a person affiliated with Concord Disposal Services, the company which collects the garbage in Concord, California.
Why did Orinda’s garbage rates up so much since 2004? No one seems to know, and Ms. Smith and Ms. Worth are not talking. Neither council member responded to repeated inquiries for more information.
So, Ms. Smith will be leaving the city council.
But don’t expect any relief in the price of garbage collection.
# # #