On 20 January, 2015 the Huntington Beach City Council voted 6 to 1 to start the process of repealing the city’s plastic bag ban. Councilmembers Mike Posey, Erik Peterson, Billy O’Connell, Barbara Delgleize, Dave Sullivan, and Jim Katapodis voted to repeal the ordinance and Mayor Jill Hardy voted to keep the ban.
The agenda item that was voted on instructs the city manager to begin the repeal process including preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which is estimated to cost $5,000. The EIR is expected to take between two and three months to complete, and when completed, the issue will go back to council for final approval.
As previously noted in the blog article titled “San Jose Painfully Learns Litter Problems Were Not Solved by Plastic Bag Ban!”, the City of San Jose is painfully discovering that it’s much touted plastic bag ban that cost residents millions of dollars did virtually nothing to solve the city’s serious litter problems. According to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), one of the stated reasons for implementing the bag ban was to reduce litter on city streets, in creeks, and in storm drains. (City of San Jose, 2010) Two years after the plastic bag ban was implemented, that there has been no reduction of overall litter. Furthermore, the case is made, using San Jose’s own litter surveys and claims of bag ban success, to show that the plastic bag ban was never needed but was a very expensive mistake.
Although the exact number of single-use paper and plastic carryout bags used in the city is unknown, the city estimates that 68 million paper bags and 500 million single-use plastic carryout bags are used every year. In fact the Draft EIR identifies that 1.4 plastic bags are used per day by every living person in the City of San Jose which equates to 511 plastic carryout bags per person per year. (City of San Jose, 2010) This means that a family of four would use 4 x 511 or 2044 plastic bags per year.
In a November 20, 2012 memorandum to the San Jose City Council from Kerrie Romanov (Director of Environmental Services for San Jose) the following statement was made:
Statewide and local bag bans were a SCAM from the very beginning. These measures can best be characterized by deceitful scheming, repeated lies and distortions, backroom deals, a supportive one-sided media, and enough politicians succumbing to political correctness to force this law and the resulting shopping behavior changes on the people of California.
Not only were Californians deprived of more reasonable and acceptable solutions to address plastic bag litter by the shenanigans of bag banners but will also pay an additional $1 Billion per year just to take their groceries home. And after spending all that money, litter will hardly be affected at all! More than 99.6% of litter will still be there waiting to be picked up.
These measures were passed by progressive politicians, and even though the measures affect every one of their constituents, both financially and through the expenditure of personal time, none were allowed to vote for it. In fact, to date, no member of the public has ever been given the chance to vote for or against these measures!
The paper “The California Plastic Bag Ban Scam” examines and exposes the methods used by the bag banners to push bag bans at the local and state level, and how they were able to push through a law that is not only unpopular, but also sets new dangerous precedents in governmental power and law.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) announced that it has turned in more than 800,000 signatures to county registrars. The APBA needed only about 505,000 signatures to qualify the referendum. If county registrars certify that the required numbers of signatures were collected, the law would be put on hold until the 2016 general election where voters will have the opportunity to vote on the issue. (Associated Press, 2014)
Some people welcome a ban on plastic carryout bags, others are opposed, and others are not sure. This article is intended for those of you who are in between and unsure whether you should oppose or support a bag ban.
With as much that goes on in the world today that vies for our attention, getting excited about plastic grocery bags (i.e. plastic carryout bags) is certainly not high on the totem pole. We live in a topsy–turvy world where things that were once banned are allowed (e.g. marijuana) and things that were once allowed are now banned (e.g. plastic carryout bags).
So how can we approach this subject in a fair and impartial manner? How can we determine if we should support or oppose a bag ban? We know that when the legislature or a local jurisdiction passes a law they are trying to solve a perceived problem. So the answer to the question is to understand the nature of the problem and how the proposed solution or law intends to solve that problem and most important what alternative solutions were considered. The more clearly we understand this the better we can see how our personal freedom and liberties are affected and whether that intrusion is warranted and justified.
The purpose of this paper is not to provide a detailed explanation of the problem and the solution (e.g. plastic bag ban) but a philosophical argument about why or why not bag bans should be opposed.
Efforts to reduce the use of plastic grocery bags began in California with a voluntary program that encouraged shoppers to use reusable bags for bringing their groceries home. While a few shoppers complied with the program, most shoppers did not and continued to use plastic grocery bags. Bag Banners were not satisfied with these results and blamed shoppers for being “resistant to change”. They were not happy that shoppers were able to make their own choice about what kind of shopping bag to use.
Bag Banners, instead of recognizing that shoppers rejected using reusable bags and that a different solution was required, doubled down and embarked on mandatory programs to ban plastic bags. These mandatory programs not only banned plastic bags but a placed a fee on paper bags in order to coerce shoppers to use reusable bags.
Bag Banners began to push the state legislature and local jurisdictions to ban plastic carryout bags and impose a mandatory minimum fee on paper bags. Many local jurisdictions passed mandatory plastic bag ban programs most of which banned plastic bags from grocery and convenience stores only; thereby only reducing the quantity of plastic carryout bags in circulation. Eventually, in 2014 a statewide mandatory program was passed and signed into law. Continue reading A Case for the Repeal of Bag Bans→
The City of San Jose is painfully discovering that the much touted bag ban that cost residents millions of dollars in out of pocket costs and personal time did nothing to solve litter problems. An environmental group, San Francisco Baykeeper, has notified the city that intends to file a lawsuit because of the city’s failure to prevent trash and sewage from flowing into the Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek through its storm drain system and into San Francisco Bay. The lawsuit is being filed because of violations of the Federal Clean Water Act. (Rogers, 2014)
“San Jose is a hot spot for trash pollution and bacterial pollution into the bay,” said attorney Sejal Choksi, program director for Baykeeper. “Its leaders have not taken care of the problem or prioritized the issue. We’ve seen the trash, we’ve measured the bacterial pollution. What they are doing is not sufficient.” (Rogers, 2014)
In response, Kerrie Romanow, director of environmental services for the City of San Jose, stated that nine catch basins have already been installed in the storm drain system to trap trash and plans are to install 20 more in the next three years. She also stated that the city has increased street sweeping and banned plastic bags. (Rogers, 2014)
On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation, SB-270 (Padilla) that will implement the nation’s first statewide ban on the distribution of single-use plastic bags; the plastic bags that customers use to carry their groceries home. (Press Secretary, 2014)
The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), opposed to Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to sign SB-270 (Padilla) into law, immediately filed the necessary legal paperwork to conduct a referendum in an attempt to overturn the new law. (American Progressive Bag Alliance, 2014)
Subsequently, on 10 October 2014, California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen announced that the proponent of the referendum may begin gathering signatures. The proponent must collect a total of 504,760 valid signatures from registered voters which must be submitted by December 29, 2014 to county election officials. If sufficient valid signatures are obtained, the measure would qualify for the November 2016 ballot. At that time a majority of voters will have the opportunity to affirm or reject the ban on plastic bags. (Bowen, 2014) Continue reading Referendum Puts Bag Banners on Defensive→
On 21 October 2014, the Fort Collins, Colorado City Council repealed the disposable bag ordinance which would have imposed a 5-cent fee for each disposable paper or plastic bag distributed by retailers in the city beginning on April 1, 2015. (Gordon, 2014)
The ordinance was originally passed by the council on a 5-2 vote on August, 19, 2014. The ordinance would have required all retailers to impose a fee of 5-cents for each disposable paper or plastic shopping bag issued at the point of sale to customers. Exempt from the fee are plastic or paper bags used to package bulk food items and bags used to contain frozen food or meat and prevent contamination of reusable bags. Also exempt from the fee are newspaper bags, dry-cleaning bags, and bags sold in bulk packages to consumers such as trash bags. The purpose of the fee was to discourage use of disposable bags and encourage the use of reusable bags. (City of Fort Collins, 2014)
The ordinance met with swift opposition and the group Citizens For Recycling Choices filed a protest with the City Clerk’s Office on August 26, 2014. (Udell, Fighters of plastic bag fee out gathering signatures, 2014) The group needed to collect 2,604 signatures and managed to collect more than 4,000 signatures. (Udell, Bag fee opponents collect more than 4K signatures, 2014) The group used social media and word of mouth to publicize the signature gathering effort. (Udell, Fighters of plastic bag fee out gathering signatures, 2014)
Signature collection has begun for the Referendum Petition to overturn the California State-Wide Bag Ban (SB 270). Many registered voters can sign petitions at store entrances in shopping centers where signature gatherers are allowed. Be sure to stop and sign the referendum petition to force the statewide bag ban bill (SB 270) to voter approval before it can be implemented.
If you do not want the government to take away your choice of bags and force you to pay for paper bags that were previously free, or if you believe in the due process of the people, then make an effort to sign the petition to demand a public vote. Remember, a public vote has never been taken on this bag ban in California, despite it having been enacted in over 100 cities!
Stop The Bag Ban citizens group has joined in the effort to collect signatures of registered voters to qualify the referendum. While many of the signatures will be gathered by paid signature collectors, volunteer signature collection shows that the people want to see this go to a vote just as badly as the bag manufacturers, whose businesses are under attack by this bill.
The media will portray this battle as between the well-intentioned environmental groups and the evil bag manufacturers, but completely neglect the common citizens who have to struggle the most under this silly bag ban!
Stop The Bag Ban citizens group has received petitions that are available for signing. If you are interested in making a statement by collecting your own signatures (at no cost), then email them your name, address, and targeted number of signatures and they will send you some petitions. Continue reading Referendum Petitions Available For Signature→