Don’t Count Alligator Ron Out Of The Garbage Business Yet

26 May

Land baron and developer Ron Bergeron’s plan to open a garbage transfer/recycling station at his industrial park on the edge of the Everglades isn’t dead yet.

The politically connected, cowboy-attired Bergeron two weeks ago withdrew his application for a zoning change to allow him to build the transfer station in Pembroke Pines commission meeting, but Bergeron has already made changes to the plan that could make it more palatable to nearby residents who don’t like the idea of a garbage dump — or the garbage trucks it will attract — near their neighborhoods.

Bergeron

He’s moved the proposed site farther away (to a half-mile) from the neighborhoods affected and he’s trying to make sure all those trucks are routed on U.S. 27 to reduce the traffic and noise impact on those same neighborhoods. And he’s honed his sales pitch. This isn’t about the garbage business anymore, it’s about the very survival of the United States, both in terms of the environment and competition.

“America was built by small business and competition,” Bergeron told me this morning, referring to the near monopoly enjoyed by Waste Management at this point. “I don’t believe in monopolies — do you? And I don’t think our environment can stand the cost involved in burying the bulk of our resources that can be used. Recycling is the answer. The governor (Charlie Crist) said he had a goal of having 75 percent of our waste recycled by 2020 and this is going to help make that happen.”

Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris Siple doesn’t quite see it that way.

“I do not think it’s good for my city or my residents,” she said. “My residents are taken care of by a garbage contract for the next ten years. Why would I want to bring in garbage from other cities?”

This is looking a whole lot like a “Green Now” rerun from Sunrise, when a similar plan by garbage company owner Jim Feeley (who was backed by his good friend, then-Sunrise Mayor Roger Wishner) went down in flames.  Taking the lead in that fight were Commissioner Sheila Alu and a lawyer named Mike Ryan. Today Ryan is the Sunrise mayor and Wishner is working solely  in the private sector. That may not be a coincidence.

To be fair, Bergeron’s project has been the victim of a misinformation campaign. Flyers have been, yes, flying around the nearby neighborhoods claiming that the garbage will be incinerated (it won’t). But even if it’s a good idea in general terms (and it might be) it looks to be a hard sell in the Pines for the reasons outlined by Siple.

Bergeron has put in a lot of time on this effort, creating a company, Bergeron Environmental and Recycling LLC, and employing his girlfriend/lobbyist Ali Waldman and son Lonnie  to try to persuade politicians to back the plan. Between them they’ve visited Sue Gunzburger, J0hn Rodstrom, Chip LaMarca, Dale Holness, and Kristin Jacobs regarding the matter. Most recently, Waldman met with Stacy Ritter, though the reason was listed as “personal.”

Still, Bergeron says he’s not sure he’s going to keep pushing the garbage proposal.

“This isn’t life or death for me,” he said. “I’m so busy I’m like a one-legged cowboy in an ass-kicking contest. I got so much going on. I’ve got to evaluate whether I’m going to go forward.”

Siple’s not buying it.

“He’s coming back with it, you better believe it,” she says. “He’s just circling the wagons.”

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26 Responses to “Don’t Count Alligator Ron Out Of The Garbage Business Yet”

  1. Christy May 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Someone needs to be hogged-tied.

    • brow May 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      or perhaps ‘ blogged tied’ Christy

    • MARY STEPHENS June 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      I PREFER THAT BERGERON BUILD HIS MEGA DUMP IN ANOTHER STATE!
      OR ELSEWISE MAKE MONEY IN AN AREA THAT IS MORE THAN 5 MILES FROM THE LOCAL RESIDENTS…FL HAS A LOT OF “EMPTY LAND” HE CAN USE…

  2. Patti Lynn May 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Someone in this county needs to explain how we got into this mess…and how to get out of it. For Waste Management to OWN tax payer funded facilities, (WHICH County Commissioners gave them THAT gift????), and to get paid for the trash…and paid if we don’t bring enough trash is one of those things that gave us the name, FloriDUH.

    More than 15 years ago, Oakland Park instituted the first “Pay for what you use” method of trash collection. The condo that I lived in at that time saved thousands upon thousands of dollars. But, that was a municipally controlled waste system.

    We have placed control of our dollars into the hands of the greedy, politically well connected, business folks who are looking out for themselves, not the communities that they are supposed to serve.

    The new ethics law addresses lobbying by elected officials. Maybe that’s a step on the right direction. Every individual should start understanding that by monitoring their elected officials, it’s just as if they were monitoring the spending habits of their own families. When lobbyists enter the picture, that’s just another few percent points of your money that is going to someone NOT attached to the solution of the problem.

    Accountability. Make them accountable and don’t listen to the silly explanations being made. “How much do YOU stand to gain from this project?” should be the first question.

    We are being nickled and dimed into bankruptcy.

  3. anon May 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Does anyone trust Otiz and Castillo not to suck his dick. This smells bad and is probably a done deal. More Broward hack pols caving in.

  4. Judge Roy Bean May 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    He and Miss Alley are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. Funny how the same names keep poping up.

  5. All That Glitters..... May 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    This smells bad is right! In my opinion, this “Well Connected” man has every intention of going forward with his dump. I wouldn’t believe the garbage he’s spewing.

  6. TK421 May 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Heh, Bergeron trying to use the “green” angle is comical considering everybody at the I-595 office would get belly laughs from his uber-tacky, nouveau-riche gold -trimmed hummer. Seriously, that thing is like a riding caricature!

    Laughable.

    • Christy May 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Maybe Money “green”.

  7. Virgil Starkwell May 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    The only “green” I think of when I see Bergeron is Lorne Greene. Hey, where’s little Joe?

    • Hellvis May 27, 2011 at 2:28 am #

      I think he looks good, at least he has character and style. Beats the requisite south Florida sloppy flip flips, Guy Harvey Tshirt and shorts look. I bet he has a Nudie suit.

      • Virgil Starkwell May 27, 2011 at 10:37 am #

        I agree. I like characters as well, but that never stopped me from busting someone’s balls.

  8. Fact Check May 27, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Bob a little research might be informative.
    There are many people who support efforts to break this monopoly that has the County bent over at the expen$e of our environment and our available budgets.

    Here are the environmental facts folks:
    The most recent figures from FDEP state that in 2009 Broward County recycled ONLY 24% of our waste, 43% of it was landfilled, and 33% of it was combusted out of a total of 2,217,229 tons of Waste.

    Our current level of recycling is an embarrassment considering our community is squeezed between two of the most precious environmental resources, The Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades.

    We need to do a better job of Recycling in Broward, and Transfer stations MUST be part of the solution.

    2009 Broward Recycling Rates
    MSW Collected & Recycled Collected Recycled
    (tons) (%)
    1. Newspaper 130,026 44%
    2. Glass 72,481 21%
    3. Aluminum Cans 8,005 16%
    4. Plastic Bottles 38,371 12%
    5. Steel Cans 10,454 10%
    6. Cardboard 233,041 37%
    7. Office Paper 31,599 25%
    8. Yard Trash 347,025 26%
    9. C&D Debris 505,476 18%
    10. White Goods 28,757 1%
    11. Tires 5,417 7%
    12. Process Fuel 0 0%

    1. Single-family Curbside 341,998 58%
    2. Multi-family Curbside 322,075 24%
    3. Commercial 55,804
    a) Scheduled collection 25%
    b) On call collection 0%
    http://appprod.dep.state.fl.us/www_rcra/reports/WR/Recycling/2009AnnualReport/AppendixG/Broward.pdf

    Broward Must do Better.
    Having only one contract with a company that thinks the solution to waste is burning it and creating more pollution and a toxic byproduct is Absurd.
    Technology exists that will allow us to raise our recycling rates but that is not part of Waste Management’s current business plan.
    And I wont get into their unwillingness to provide a fair and equitable rate for Broward County.

  9. Pines Resident May 28, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Without a competing transfer station in ten years Pembroke Pines will face the same dilemma 22 Broward cities face today. Waste Management’s garbage monopoly will present Pines with a renewal rate too expensive to swallow. That’s how monopolies work. Siple is playing into Waste Management’s hands. She does not realize how serious a problem Waste has become. 22 Broward cities face a garbage crisis because they cannot afford to renew their incinerator agreement with Waste. They may need to join together and force the county to reopen that landfill in Siple’s backyard. That would be terrible for Pembroke Pines. Transfer stations offer a clean alternative. They are run without disruption to residential neighborhoods all the time and provide the competition that Pines and Broward cities will need.

    • Concerned West Pines Resident May 31, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      How much would your house be worth if they put this in your backyard??

      • Simple Answer May 31, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

        How much is it worth now? Waste has been operating a transfer station on Pembroke Road and 208th for over 20 years. Few people living out there even know it’s there. No smell, no noise, no problem.

      • Concerned West Pines Resident June 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

        “How much is it worth now? Waste has been operating a transfer station on Pembroke Road and 208th for over 20 years. Few people living out there even know it’s there. No smell, no noise, no problem.”

        Yes, but that is Far Away compared to being in my backyard on 196th. Just because you have money coming out your ears, it doesn’t give you the right to take away our equity from our homes! We are trying to hold on to what little equity we have now in this terrible economy. What would you do if you were in our shoes?? There are implications for everyone that lives near here. We came out here to be away from the smog and hustle/traffic of the city but you’d be bringing all those trucks here and making it like we are in a big city and breathing problems will increase. There is NO thought of the “little” people that surround this monstrosity!

  10. Seriously Concerned West Pines Resident June 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    If you have ever been to the transfer station on Pembroke Rd. and 208th Ave.(also known as Reuters)you would know that on a daily basis there is a line of garbage trucks, up to a mile long, waiting to get into the weigh station. These trucks are running for hours creating noise, fumes, and congestion. The new site Bergeron is thinking of using is now off of Stirling Rd. Well how will the trucks get from the east to US 27 and then to Stirling Rd.? They’ll have to use Sheridan St., Griffin Rd., Pines Blvd., right? Where will all of these trucks line up to wait to enter the tranfer station? They can’t wait on US 27, so they’ll have to be on Stirling Rd. coming off of US 27 and on 196th Ave. coming off Sheridan St. Still doesn’t sound like a good situation for West Pines home owners. The trucks that now go to Reuters already use these roads, so we can expect a huge increase of garbage truck traffic in West Pines if this is allowed to go through. Just a thought Mr. Bergeron, instead of getting into the garbage business, why not get into the golf course business!!

  11. Seriously Concerned West Pines Resident June 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Golf Course Architect, I guess you don’t know a joke when you see one. I also find it very hard to believe that you live less than 1/2 mile from the proposed site and have no problem with it.I tend to think you’re a Bergeron employee and acting like a resident. Don’t bother, no one is buying it.

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