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/

 

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2 thoughts on “Citizens of Homer, Alaska Overturn Plastic Bag Ban

  1. 1) It’s a shame that it had to come to a vote of the citizens. Good for them in the meantime; this kind of thing may send a message to aspiring future council members.

    2) The talk show host was dead on with his comment that the city council was hired to do city business, not to enact environmental, agenda driven, regulations.

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