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60 9 The Revolution Preamble to the Revolution As noted earlier, Joseph D. Molinari became president of Sunset Scavenger in 1952. Like all board members, Molinari worked on the trucks and became a Boss Scavenger in 1930. In 1934, he was assigned to Truck 44 in the Richmond District, on the route where he and his family lived at 12th Avenue and Balboa Street. From what I have been told by the few people who are still around, Joseph Molinari was born in 1918 and went to work for Sunset at age sixteen in 1934, the same year my fatherin -law Guido became a Boss Scavenger. Nicknamed “JD” and “Nin,” Molinari was appointed to the board of directors in 1940 because of the retirement of one of the board members. When the company officially relocated its corporate offices to 412 Hampshire Street in the Mission District in 1926, the board of directors’ room was located on the top floor. When any Boss Scavenger was called before the board, he often said, “Shit, I am being called to the thirteen steps.” There were exactly thirteen steps from the main office to the dreaded and infamous boardroom. Clouds Gather for the Revolution As history dictates, communistic societies are subject to revolution . Since Sunset Scavenger Company did in fact operate like a communistic society, it was surely eligible for such an event after 50 years. The company’s record at first was commendable. Over the years, the company’s management refused to recognize the need to change, and it was just a matter of time before an incident would occur to trigger some kind of revolution. The board of directors and the corporation bylaws governed the company. One key and unique component of the bylaws was that everybody was paid “absolutely alike, regardless of office position or responsibility.” Whether you were a truck boss, driver, mechanic, officer, or light-duty worker, you made the same amount of money as everyone else. 61 The Revolution At the end of the year (barring some extraordinary overtime or unused vacation pay), the base compensation of roughly $9,200 a year in 1965 was uniform and consistent throughout the company . The president had some perks, such as a company car (a 1962 Ford) and a minimal expense account, but otherwise even the president made the same amount of money. As I have noted, in my early years at Sunset Scavenger I embarked upon two ventures aside from the garbage business. I took classes at the University of San Francisco, and I attended Golden Gate College, applying for and receiving a license to sell comprehensive general liability auto insurance. My initial efforts in sales were slow. After all, I had no reputation and I was a scavenger, not an insurance agent. But in less than two years my insurance business began to grow. In addition to my connection with the scavengers, I began picking up some commercial accounts. In 1965, I was making as much money in insurance—even on a split-commission basis—as I was making as a Boss Scavenger at Sunset Scavenger. In May of 1965, I attended an Elks State Convention in San Diego with my close friend and insurance man, Joe Picetti. At that time, Joe suggested that I quit the garbage business and work for him fulltime on a salary basis (plus commission), which would have put me in the area of $25,000 a year, a significant offer and worthy of consideration. The decision clearly made logistical and economic sense, especially because I was only thirty-one years old, and it would almost triple what I made as a scavenger. Plus, I would no longer have to carry garbage. After some thought and serious consideration, I reluctantly accepted the offer. I decided that, as soon as I got home and back on the job, I would prepare to sell my Sunset Scavenger Company shares. But as fate would have it, I picked up the San Francisco News when I arrived at the airport for the return home. On the front page, in a section at the bottom, a headline read: “Scavenger Presi­ dent Increases Salary 200%.” The article went on to quote Gal Campi, my wife’s cousin and the corporation’s secretary, who said the company was removing the president from the garbagecollector ranks, placing him into the prestigious rank of executive officers, and setting his compensation at $30,000 a year. 62 The Revolution From my personal knowledge of...


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