Trash Talk We’re Sherf Of

There’s a member of the Town Council in Paradise Valley named David Sherf.  A successful hotel consultant he’s the kind of person who exudes ethics when you meet him. The kind of person any community from Buckeye to Arizona’s toniest town would want to have on its governing body.

Sherf didn’t find politics.  It found him.  Originally appointed to the Town Council he went outside his comfort zone to run and win election to the post to which he was appointed.

He didn’t long to stay, instead deciding not to seek re-election.  But then Maria Syms resigned her council spot after an impressive run for the Arizona House of Representatives.  Sherf became a logical replacement, even though a well-known politician named Andy Kunasek wanted the gig.  But we’ll get to that relevancy later on.

Sherf again offered himself for service, gaining the appointment over Kunasek.

Not bound by the standard calculus of a politician, Sherf set off on an emancipated path, including solving, finally solving, the only thing Paradise Valley doesn’t organize real well:  trash service.

Anyone would and should feel grateful to live in 85253, until one has to experience the orgy of trucks and trash that flail away at the community’s quality of life, day in day out, morning after morning.

It’s not just a comedy of errors. It’s an erratic and highly unusual approach to local governance not shared by the vast majority of communities in Arizona, or America.

Noise.  Pollution.  Higher costs.  Ripped up roads.  More accidents.  Libertarians love it in much the same way they argue for lackadaisical anything.

But not Sherf.  He, and other councilmembers, have brought forth a proposal to end the mayhem with a semblance of community order.

But vested special interests don’t like it.  The companies and beneficiaries of the chaos have engaged in a deceitful campaign designed to spook Sherf and others from abandoning their interest in bringing some order to the galaxy. Fortunately, Sherf has stood tall and stood on the side of the taxpayer and quality of life.  He’s stood on the side of a proposal that would see the Road Warrior-like system of gas guzzling vehicles in town reduced to a single provider.  A single provider the town negotiated with through a competitively bid process to ensure that the vast majority of residents see their rates drop from an average of about $50 per year, with some even seeing rate cuts of 50% of more.  And few if any would see rates increases including HOAs or individuals as the winning bidder has pledged to honor existing rates or better deals for the life of its contract with the Town.   Additionally, ates are set for seven years with only a 3.5% annual increase.  So much for the monopoly means higher rates argument.

This exact same debate happened in Fountain Hills in 2011.  There, rancor reigned but the Council voted to reform the ridiculous system.  Seven years later Fountain Hills voters overwhelming prefer the new system with lower costs, less noise and less pollution.  Indeed, Fountain Hills Councilmember Cecil Yates, having successfully run as a candidate in support of trash reform is now the leading candidate for Mayor.

Fearing this, knowing this, former Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek, a Paradise Valley resident, a commander of a current Paradise Valley councilman and frequent dabbler in the landfill business while serving in office, appears to be leading the opposition campaign to Sherf’s proposal. We don’t yet know all the reasons why, or if he harbors a grudge versus Sherf for gaining the Town Council appointment he wanted.  But Kunasek is wrong, on all fronts.

Simply put, Kunasek has some explaining to do because when Sherf’s proposal is explained and understood its merits are so obvious.

Lacking arguments to reduce noise, cost and pollution Kunasek has instead resorted to mailers and a campaign of philosophy.  Namingly, should government be able to tell you who can collect your trash?  Funny, we don’t recall too many people in Phoenix, Scottsdale or basically anywhere getting too exercised about the matter.  Or upset when government says you can’t make noise after a certain hour?  Or have to use a single towing company if you get in an accident?  Or a single photographer if you speed in town?  Or a single ambulance company?  We could go on.  But you get the point.

As former Paradise Valley Police John Wintersteen has observed the Town has wrestled with this quality of life issue for decades.  Some on the Town Council are showing the leadership to resolve it now.  Some are not.  But history will not treat kindly those who stood on the side of more cost, more pollution and more noise.  We’re Sherf of that.