On Tuesday, August 25 the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed an Ordinance on a 3-2 vote to ban Single-Use Plastic Bags at Markets and pharmacies in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County.
Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Janet Wolf, and Doreen Farr voted for the bag ban and Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino voted against the bag ban.
Opponents of the California statewide plastic bag ban successfully challenged the state law by collecting enough signatures from registered voters to put the measure on the 2016 ballot through the referendum process, a safeguard provided in California’s Constitution. The statewide referendum will finally give ordinary citizens the opportunity to vote on this unpopular measure.
Supervisors Lavagnino and Adam stated that they were not comfortable with the idea of getting out in front of the statewide referendum. (McNulty, 2015)Supervisors Carbajal, Wolf, and Farr by voting to implement a bag ban, ahead of the statewide referendum, demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the democratic process and the right of the people to challenge laws through a referendum. In addition, these supervisors show a complete disdain for the 9,180 Santa Barbara County residents who signed referendum petitions by effectively nullifying the voice of their constituents. (California Secretary of State, 2015) Those county residents who signed the referendum petition expected that voters, rather than a select few politicians, would have the final say on the statewide bag ban, a measure that would affect them personally in their own communities. Now the power of their vote has been taken away by a few supervisors who seem to have forgotten that the people are sovereign and that they as elected leaders are servants of the people and not their masters!
In the article entitled “Why California City Councils Must Not Pass Bag Bans with a Statewide Vote Pending” the authors explain that when local officials pass a bag ban ahead of the statewide vote the very nature and meaning of their citizens’ vote has changed. For example, a citizen who lives in a community without a bag ban, votes “for or against” the statewide bag ban and the outcome will directly affect him or her in their own local community; whereas, the citizen who lives in a community with a bag ban, his vote will only affect residents who live in communities without a bag ban. (Williams & van Leeuwen, Why California City Councils Must Not Pass Bag Bans with a Statewide Vote Pending, 2015)
Joe Armendariz, representing the Santa Barbara County Taxpayer’s Association, also opposed the ordinance. (McNulty, 2015)
The ordinance becomes effective at the larger supermarkets and pharmacies on March 22, 2016 and for smaller markets, pharmacies, convenience stores, and liquor stores on September 24, 2016. (Flores, 2015)
To read the entire article, click on the following link: Santa Barbara County Passes Plastic Bag Ban
California Secretary of State. (2015, February 24). 1660. Referendum to Overturn Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Retrieved from California Secretary of State – Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures: http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pend_sig/init-sample-1660-022415.pdf
Flores, O. (2015, August 25). Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Pass Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance. Retrieved from KEYT-KCOY-KKFX Webstie: http://www.keyt.com/news/santa-barbara-county-board-of-supervisors-pass-plastic-bag-ban-ordinance/34916352
McNulty, S. (2015, July 22). Santa Barbara County bans plastic bags. Retrieved from Sun Central Coast Connections: http://www.santamariasun.com/news/13455/santa-barbara-county-bans-plastic-bags/
Williams, D., & van Leeuwen, A. (2015, July 4). Why California City Councils Must Not Pass Bag Bans with a Statewide Vote Pending. Retrieved from Fight The Plastic Bag Ban: https://fighttheplasticbagban.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/why-ca-city-councils-must-not-pass-bag-bans-with-a-statewide-vote-pending.pdf