Despite calls for patience ahead of the November 2016 California Bag Ban vote, and complaints from local business that it costs them up to $2 per paper bag to track paper bag sales, the Milpitas City Council reversed its previous City Council vote and implemented a bag ban to begin January 1, 2016. Since the previous vote in November, 2013, two of the City Council members had termed out, and the new city council members went along with the Mayor Esteves to impose a bag ban on the people without a vote. The City Council also scheduled the vote on a night that the lone remaining dissenter, Council Member Giordano, was absent.
The citizen’s group “Stop the Bag Ban” has launched a referendum petition to force the bag ban to a vote of the people.“This is pure folly on the side of the Milpitas City Council,” said Don Williams of the Stop the Bag Ban group. “The issue is already on the ballot for November, 2016, but the city council decided that they do not want to wait to see how the residents of Milpitas vote, even though many citizens in Milpitas signed the state wide referendum demanding a vote on this issue. They just went ahead and forced a bag ban on their citizens anyway, which is an abuse of power that shows a lack of respect for the democratic process or for the intelligence of the citizens of Milpitas. That is why we believe this Ordinance should be met with a referendum and the people must be allowed to vote.”
“The ugly truth of these bag bans is that no city council has ever put their bag ban to a vote of the people. While proponents of these bag bans claim everybody is for them, we wonder why they didn’t just appeal directly to the people of Milpitas 2 years ago with an initiative when they lost the city council vote? And why wouldn’t the city council just wait for the statewide vote to approve a bag ban at the state level and not create extra work, laws, and costs for the city of Milpitas? Their actions reflect the truth that the people do not actually support bag bans, so they must, instead, go around twisting the arms of politicians to act without consent of the people. Bag bans are about control of the people, and if the bag banners can’t even trust the people enough to pick their own bag, they sure can’t trust them enough to let them vote. So they work behind the scenes twisting the arms of gullible city staff workers and council members rather than waiting for the outcome of the vote of the citizens.”
Stop the Bag Ban sent emails and articles to the city council detailing negative effects and costs of bag bans, pointing out errors in the information they were presented, and detailing the injustice to the people of Milpitas by essentially negating the effect of the vote of their citizens in November, 2016.
“Milpitas was the last significant city in the south bay without a bag ban that burdened their businesses with regulation and accounting and their people with inconvenience and personal costs associated with bag bans,” Don Williams continued. “We have received many stories of people purposely shopping in Milpitas when the choice is available. Why the city council would willingly give away that competitive advantage, not to mention the freedom of their businesses and people, is completely baffling.”
The group now has 30 days (until October 18) to collect at least 2,634 valid signatures to force the city council to either rescind the Ordinance or put it to a vote of the people of Milpitas.
The following documents can be downloaded:
Stop The Bag Ban: Milpitas Press Release
Referendum Petition: Milpitas Referendum
Referendum Instructions: Instructions for Milpitas referendum signature gatherers
For more information or to volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Stop the Bag Ban citizens’ group: Founded in 2012, the Stop the Bag Ban citizens’ group consists of concerned private citizens from cities across the bay area who oppose the principle, challenge the substance, and point out the negative effects of bag bans. Stop the Bag Ban is not funded or backed by any organization, business, industry, or group and relies only on donations from private citizens.
NOTE: Readers should read the following article: Why CA city councils must not pass bag bans with a statewide vote pending