"Desperate times call for desperate measures." No matter which side of the trash debate you fall on, both sides are fighting with extraordinary tactics.
Thursday morning, Mayor Ashley Swearengin was scolded by union leaders for spending tax payer money on a large ad campaign supporting the deal with Mid-Valley Disposal. Now, opponents of the plan are making their own political moves.
Four drive-thru petition signing locations were set up in Fresno Thursday night. Volunteers are trying to get about 22,000 signatures before next Friday.
If they succeed, the focus shifts back to the city council. They'll have a fourth opportunity to rescind their support for dissolving city-run waste management.
If a few changes in seats don't amount to a change of heart, a special election will likely be held. The cost to the city could run around $1 million.
That hampers the city's ability to balance the budget, and could move Fresno closer to bankruptcy. However the fight is becoming less financial and more personal.
The head of the local sanitation union sent a letter to the California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, asking her to investigate the Mayor's use of tax payer money. Approximately 150 of that union's members could lose their job after one year if privatization survives this latest challenge.
If privatization fails, the Mayor says a list of about 50 city employees from other departments will be the alternate victims. Throughout this process both sides have made it clear it's a decision they don't want to face.
Eventually, by city leaders or registered voters, a winner will be chosen, even if it's apparent that everyone will lose.