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August 1, 2016

To sue or not to sue, that is the question!

Guest Columnist

Kirby Delauter


You may be familiar with the J&J trash issue that was recently debated in the County Council meetings. I wrote recently about how I felt this local business was being targeted in how they use the county landfill/transfer station. Their business is trash; they are a local trash/refuse hauler and the landfill/transfer station is well within their business model.


Again, since March, I have been asking to get J&J's issue on an agenda for discussion. I finally was allowed to have a "landfill/solid waste" discussion a few weeks ago. I sent an email to staff requesting that J&J be allowed to speak at such a meeting. The meeting was held; we have a "landfill/solid waste" briefing by county staff, a "briefing" we didn't ask for but received anyway.


After the staff completed its briefing, I requested that J&J be able to address the staff members and resolve the issue with its business. This request was denied by Council President Bud Otis.


Here we have a constituent of mine that has a problem. Representatives of that firm are in the room with the staff members, who can explain why the issue can or cannot be resolved, and we have Council President Otis disallowing any discussion on the subject matter. That is wrong and unacceptable!


I requested again after that meeting to have a meeting between staff and J&J and the request was denied.


Since Council President Otis does not want to hear from constituents or business owners, I decided there is more than one way to be heard. I sent an email to J&J asking them to sue the county. I went so far as to let them know I would testify on their behalf in the suit.


Now, you may say, hey Delauter, why would you encourage a business to sue the county?


My answer is simple. We are elected to represent county citizens, all of them. When a constituent can't be heard by an arrogant council president, and I feel they have a cause/issue worth hearing, I am going to encourage every means possible to have them heard. If a lawsuit is what it takes, so be it.


I will stand up for taxpayers, businesses and any other entity and say that I am to represent in this council position. I will go to whatever length, whatever means necessary to right a wrong. For me to say "there is nothing else we can do, or "I give up," is not an option.


I think once the county heard J&J was preparing to sue and I would be willing as a council member to testify on its behalf, the internal discussions began within the county. It was brought to my attention that a legislative bill may be the answer to this situation.


While I totally disagree that making a new law/ordinance to add to an existing "sufficient" law/ordinance is totally ridiculous and unnecessary. However, if that's what will right this wrong, that's what I may have to do.


So, long and short, under the (lack of) leadership from Council President Otis, we can't simply sit down and discuss issues with taxpayers and business owners. We need to create unnecessary laws because we can't interpret the meaning of simple sentences that are written in basic English. We allow staff members to abuse taxpayers by using slick language and interpretation to read something any way they want.


The sad part I've found out in my six years in local politics is that most people don't give a rat's fanny about their neighbors’ plight until they themselves have an issue that effects them.


Get involved in local politics, pay attention and hold those who are elected accountable to what is right and just at all times.


Politicians come and go but staff members are the ones who typically make policy; and, in most cases, they make policy that makes it easier on themselves and harder on those who dare to challenge them.


It is important who we elect because with 45 years of incremental degradation of our rights and our freedoms, if we continue on that path, at some point you may not be given the option to choose. Ask the owners of J&J Trash service how important it is to have the right person representing you.


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