New trash lawsuit to announce

Today Tulsans United for Fairness (TUFF) will announce a lawsuit against the City of Tulsa over trash service and procedures.

In December of 2011, the Tulsa City Council was seated and subsequently informed by the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy (TARE) Board of their intentions to institute a new policy concerning waste removal in Tulsa.

This TARE policy included three main changes.  The first change was that residents receiving waste-removal services will be required to purchase and use special bins.  The second change was that these bins must be moved to within a certain number of feet from the road for pick-up.  The third change was that the waste pick-up would only occur once a week, instead of twice.

In late February, Ken Walker was walking knocking on doors to speak with people as he campaigned for Oklahoma House District 70.  He had heard several issues voiced multiple times.  Eventually, one person struck up a conversation concerning the new waste-removal policies that were to be enacted.  This person (who wishes to remain unnamed) invited Walker to become involved in her organization, which later became Tulsans United for Fairness (TUFF) which seeks to halt the progression of these new ordinances and maintain the current waste-removal system. 

TUFF plans to file a lawsuit against the City of Tulsa and the TARE Board.  The plaintiffs named are the president of TUFF, Dr. Judith Adams, the vice-president, Joanna Francisco, and the treasurer, Dr. G. Erik Zoellner.  Dr. Adams and the TUFF organization are seeking an injunction and requesting two things. First they request the City of Tulsa hold a referendum on whether or not to institute the new waste-removal policies.  Second is for the new waste-removal service contract to be offered for competitive bid. 

They believe the initial method of choosing the people to operate the services was improper and that the decision of who should conduct the services, if approved, should be made by the city council, not the TARE Board, and it should be a public affair. 

The injunction is scheduled to be filed within three to four days, and a hearing should be held two to three days following that.

The TUFF organization has been working for a significant amount of time to structure a complaint that was congruent to popular public opinion.  Walker described his role in this operation as being the “boots on the ground.”  When asked why he became involved in this cause, Walker said he “readily accepted [the offer to become involved] because [he] kept hearing every single day by citizens in [his] district that they were not in favor of the TARE Board decisions.” 

The TUFF organization today (April 5) sent a letter of notification to the City of Tulsa of their intent to file a law suit and they will hold a 2:00 PM press conference scheduled to further detail their endeavor.  Attorney George Gibbs will represent the group which has established a web site: to raise money and promote their cause.

The City of Tulsa provides this issue overview:
To prepare for the conclusion of the City of Tulsa’s existing 32-year collections contract, the Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy (TARE), the trust responsible for managing solid waste in Tulsa, was tasked by the mayor and Tulsa City Council to research and recommend a new residential solid-waste collection system to meet the current and emerging refuse needs of the citizens of Tulsa. This comprehensive new system was designed to meet three objectives:

1.To have a uniform residential collection system implemented throughout the City of Tulsa.
2.To have a rate structure that is consistent and fair for both small and large waste generators.
3.To encourage recycling and yard waste reuse.

After more than four years of extensive research, input from residents from each city council district, plus guidance from solid-waste industry experts, TARE recommended a cart-based, "pay-as-you-throw" system.

This volume-based system is modeled after other utilities-such as water, electricity or gas-in that the more you use, the more you pay. In the case of trash and recycling, the more you recycle, the less waste you generate and, as a result, the less you pay.

To research more from the city, click here for


About the author: Kai Vincent Turley Good, a student at Oral Roberts
University, moved from Maine to Oklahoma in 2009. Good has authored two
books, Excellence Body, Mind, and Spirit and A Jewel of the
, and currently sits on the board of directors for the Foundation for
the Preservation of American Values. As a member of the United States Martial
Arts Hall of Fame, Good has taught self-defense at New Mission Self Defense, a
studio he co-founded with his father in 2005. He hosts At Issue, a
political television talk show for ORU, and when returning to Maine for visits,
he frequently appears on radio programs for Fox News WLOB.