Tag Archives: values

VDT should dig deeper into county trash

The VDT should dig deeper into the finances of Lowndes County trash collection. Nobody has ever seen an accounting of where where the money went for the county’s former waste collection sites, so nobody knows whether the county was really losing money or how much, and the county’s version of how those sites had to be paid for doesn’t match state law.. Sure, Bill Slaughter defending a decision made when Ashley Paulk was chair is amusing, but instead of transcribing what county officials tell it, the VDT could find lots more under the county’s garbage with a little digging.

Jason Schaefer write for the VDT Thursday, Concerns continue over garbage agreement: Business owner argues case against County

The County is not required under Georgia law to issue RFPs to any company for waste disposal services, according to Slaughter. That decision was made in a good-faith effort to find the lowest possible rate for garbage service for the citizens of Lowndes County, he said Tuesday.

Is that the point of county government, to act like Wal-Mart? Is money the only value the county government can name? Everyone I talked to about the trash issue in 2012 who already had a waste collection card said they’d be willing to pay more to keep the sites open. Maybe if the county had held public hearings they would have learned that.

And does anyone believe ADS’s rates are going to stay that low? Look at Wakulla, Florida, where it’s $196/year. But the bigger question is why did the county privatize trash collection anyway?

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The backfire effect, and how to leapfrog it

If you have evidence against something that will harm public health or waste money, just tell everybody and they’ll understand and stop it, right? Nope, humans don’t work that way. More likely you’ll provoke the backfire effect, reinforcing beliefs in the bad information that caused the problem in the first place. Here are some ways to jump over that effect to get at solutions to the problem.

Shankar Vedantam wrote in the Washington Post 15 Sep 2008 about The Power of Political Misinformation, illustrating with a couple of well-known examples of misinformation (you’ll recognize them), and continuing:

Nearly all these efforts rest on the assumption that good information is the antidote to misinformation.

But a series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people’s minds after it has been debunked — even among people who recognize it as misinformation.

Countering bad information directly just reinforces it.

Chris Mooney wrote more about why that is in Mother Jones 18 April 2011, The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science: Continue reading