Monthly Archives: October 2013

Repeal Of Issaquah Bag Ban On The Ballot In 2014

City Hall South, Issaquah, Washington. The bui...
City Hall South, Issaquah, Washington. The building houses the council chambers and municipal court. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On October 21, 2013 the Issaquah City Council voted to put the newly qualified citizen’s initiative to “REPEAL of Plastic Bag Ban and Forced Bag Charge” on the February 11, 2014 ballot.  Giving citizens the opportunity to resolve the ban’s fate.

Thanks to the hard work of Craig Keller, co-founder of Save Our Choice, and a small team of volunteers. More than 15% of all Issaquah voters signed the petition to force the city council to either repeal the ordinance or refer the decision to voters.

Earlier in October, the King County Department of Elections concluded that enough valid signatures were collected to qualify the initiative for the ballot and issued a Certificate of Sufficiency for the Save Our Choice petition to Issaquah City Council.  A total of 2626 out of 4266 signatures collected were found to be valid to qualify the initiative.

According to Craig Keller, there is mounting dissatisfaction with ban and the majority on the city council had the power to correct their earlier bad decision.  In fact, once the King County Department of Elections certified that the initiative had collected enough valid signatures, the city council could have repealed the ordinance but instead voted to put the issue on the ballot in 2014.

Now residents of Issaquah, Washington will have a voice on whether the plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags will be repealed.

Advertisements

Rebuttal of the San Jose Bag Ban Results

English: Montage of San Jose, California pictures.
English: Montage of San Jose, California pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In November of 2012, ten months after implementation of the San Jose Bag Ban, the city issued a report claiming success.  The memorandum contained an analysis of litter surveys and claimed a reduction of on-land plastic bag litter of 59%, 60% in creeks, and 89% in storm drains.  The latter figure is widely used by bag ban proponents as proof the law works.  However, problems with the underlying data as well as the methodology used indicate that these reduction figures are questionable.  Other factors such as a cost analysis was never done by the city nor were other less costly alternatives investigated.

In an article “San Jose Bag Ban Report Rebuttal” the authors respond to the claims of success in a stinging rebuttal.  The authors claim that the wrong parameter was measured, measurement methodology was unscientific and flawed, bag usage observations were not taken at a broad cross-section of stores, no cost/benefit analysis was conducted, and serious negative impacts were never addressed.

The authors present an analysis of plastic bag litter reduction calculations by the city as well as supply their own.  Also presented is a pre ban and post ban cost analysis of carryout bag use showing the cost increase that is incurred by consumers.

Citizens of Homer, Alaska Overturn Plastic Bag Ban

 

Homer welcome sign.
Homer welcome sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 27 August 2012, the Homer City Council voted 4-2 to pass an ordinance to ban plastic bags.  Subsequently, on  September 7, 2012 Mayor James C. Hornaday vetoed the ordinance. The bag ban was intended to reduce litter and retailers are prohibited from distributing plastic carryout bags at the checkout counter.  The ban excludes thicker plastic shopping bags, trash bags, bags for prescription drugs, and bags used to package bulk foods and newspaper bags. (Alaska Dispatch, 2012)  Paper bags are not banned nor is there a fee on paper bags.  Councilman David Lewis stated that he hoped people would bring reusable bags.  One of the complaints was that plastic bags are so light they blow away at the dump. (Dubois, 2012)  The council subsequently voted 4-2 to override the mayoral veto.   The ordinance banned the use of plastic bags effective January 1st 2013. (Alaska Pride, 2013)

A group of citizens in Homer hoped to overturn the plastic bag ban.  Justin Arnold, Dan Gardner, and Marlina Hogdon filed paper work with the city clerk to circulate a petition for 90 days.  They were required to get 230 signatures in order to place the issue on the ballot.  Justin Arnold stated there are many reasons why he wants to overturn the ban, the main reason is to give citizens a chance to vote on the matter.  Radio talk show host Chris Story also took up the band-wagon when he said the city council is not here to protect the environment but to conduct city business on behalf of city residents.  He also stated that the council spends too much time “changing your behavior in alignment with a larger agenda.”  The measure is on the 1 October 2013 ballot.  (Klouda, 2013)

On 1 October, 2013 citizens of Homer, Alaska overturned the plastic bag ban by a vote of 56% to 44% or 661-519.  A total of 1,180 votes were cast out of 4,337 registered voters for a 27.2% voter turnout.  (City of Homer, 2013)     

Most residents who objected to the ordinance simply objected to the coercion, many of whom already use cloth bags. The sentiment expressed was the problem with progressive politicians who rely on  the ban-hammer as the first weapon of choice rather than the last resort.

Bibliography

Alaska Dispatch. (2012, September 26). Homer plastic bag ban is back on. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from Alaska Dispatch: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/homer-plastic-bag-ban-back

Alaska Pride. (2013, October 2). Homer Voters Overturn Plastic Bag Ban. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from Alaska Pride: http://alaskapride.blogspot.com/2013/10/homer-voters-overturn-plastic-bag-ban.html

City of Homer. (2013, October 4). Certification of Election. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from Homer Alaska: http://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/exhibit_a_2.pdf

Dubois, T. (2012, July 26). Homer, Alaska Begins Process To Ban Plastic Bags. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from Plastic Bag Ban Report: http://plasticbagbanreport.com/homer-alaska-begins-process-to-ban-plastic-bags/

Klouda, N. (2013, April 17). Residents aim to reverse small Alaska town’s plastic bag ban. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from Alaska Dispatch: http://newsle.com/article/0/70599330/

 

Santa Barbara City Council Votes To Move Ahead With Bag Ban

English: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
English: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 1 October 2013 the Santa Barbara City Council voted to deny the appeal by Save The Plastic Bag Coalition (STPB) and to go ahead with the Plastic Bag Ban.  The issue will come to the council for a second reading of the ordinance in two weeks.

On August 8, 2013 the Santa Barbara Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to certify the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON) Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a City of Santa Barbara Addendum without notifying interested parties in a timely manner.  As a result interested parties, such as myself and STPB, were not able to attend the public meeting to answer questions or to present a case why the EIR is flawed and should be rewritten.  After finding out about the action,  STPB filed an appeal which was heard at the 1 October 2013 City Council meeting.

To read the entire article click on the following link:  Santa Barbara City Council Votes in Favor of Plastic Bag Ban.