Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Huntington Beach (CA) Councilmember Will Sponsor Repeal Plastic Bag Ban on 4/21/14

We are so very encouraged that next week, on 4/21/14 Huntington Beach Councilmember Dave Sullivan is going to propose repeal of plastic bags and 10c per paper bag fee. The ban and fees were imposed on big retailers, groceries, supermarkets, drug stores and farmer market. They took effect on 11/1/2013. And Mayor Matt Harper has been a staunch opponent to the bag ban.

We were disappointed to see some 80+ cities and counties in CA adopted the ban and fee without good verifiable facts. They were just following the Pied Piper match. It took citizens' effort to gather signatures to put repeal initiatives on ballots. We were encouraged by some successes:

In Durango, CO, Kirsten Smith of No Durango Bag Tax; www.nodurangobagtax.com successful repealed the bag tax with 56% to 44% votes in November'13.

In Homer, Alaska, in October'13 Voters voted down the bag ban passed in 2012 with approximate 54% to 44% votes.

In Issaquah, WA, Craig Keller of Save Our Choice after a long fight managed to put the repeal bag ban initiative on 2/2014 ballots. We were sad and disheartened that the repeal effort failed with 52% vs 48% votes (3595 "Yes" (to repeal) to 3945 "No"). Yet we were consoled that the margin was that close; almost 50/50, with only 39% voters turn-out.

We were comforted again that there were folks in Huntington Beach (CA), Walnut Creek (CA) and other parts of WA State who started gathering signatures to put repeal bag bans on ballots.

The ban and bag fees are totally feel-good eco-fads. They do not help our environment. Instead they hurt our environment by aggravating global warming. And they hurt businesses and consumers. They only benefit the green consultants who are busy selling their "green" expertise and collecting their sweet "green" consulting fees. And they benefits the "environmental" non-profits and ensuring them funds that keep them busy and hiring. Go to my 8/2013 blog: To Read and To Watch for more articles and videos on why plastic bag ban hurts the environment. 

The bag bans and fees has turned off so many people; almost half of the general public. So, besides the necessities shopping for food and household items, many of us stop shopping. In my neighborhood, I counted 3 stores closed; Trutti Frutti, Pearl Gallery, La Paz. In downtown S.F, recently I counted these closed; Dress Barn, Loehman, Loft (Ann Taylor Loft), H&M Men, H2O. And in S.F Mall, White House|Black Market is closing; moving out of S.F. to Palo Alto.

Other adverse effects I have seem are:

- it turned off many good citizens who for the longest time voluntarily cooperated in recycling. These days, I found lots of paper, bottles, cans, cartons in black bins. Instead of leaving them in the blue bins outside, my neighbors opened the door to the stuffy garbage room and dump them in the trash bins.

- I used to donate small amounts to environmental non-profits. I am so turned off now that I no longer support them. I support conservative organizations which respect our liberty and are business-friendly.

- I was so annoyed with our Councilmembers / Supervisors for denying us a chance to vote. They sealed our fate with the votes of a handful of them. I can no longer respect them.

- more stores reported theft, for the owners can no longer tell if they were paid or not.

- meat juice breed bacteria. Single-use plastic bags are perfect medium to hold / contain meat product. People do not wash their bags, a cause of health hazard. 

I am all for replacing all the liberals with conservatives who are business-minded, have good common-sense. Say NO to Eco-Fads! It is time for us to turn California brown!




Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Is The Year For Action


2014 Is The Year For Action.

For the past 5 years, Senator Alex Padilla (D-LA) who sponsored SB 405 has pushed to ban plastic bags statewide. It was lasted voted in May'13 with 18-to-17 votes, 3 votes short of 21 votes to pass. In December'13, Senator Padilla vowed to bring back the bill as soon as the Senate is in session again. With the bag banners pushing hard on the last few democrats who are still holding out, after 5 years of fighting, it seem like it might pass.

But, not all hope is lost.
Even if it passed, the people can still do a repeal intiative to repeal it.
Though S.F. Bay Area is very liberal, there are plenty not so liberal cities that will give us enough votes. So, not all hope is lost. With the ban bans hitting home so close and hurting many businesses and consumers, it has created a perfect storm which might turn this blue state purple.

But we need to send enough signals to Sacramento that people are against the ban.

We see oppositions sponsored by citizens in many cities in various states, one was sponsored by a City Council Member, which are all very encouraging.

In Issaquah, WA, Craig Keller of Save Our Choice; www.saveourchoice.us successfully gathered enough signatures to put repeal ballots on 2/11/14 election. We are excited and can't wait for result.

In Durango, CO, Kirsten Smith of No Durango Bag Tax; www.nodurangobagtax.com successful repealed the bag tax with 56% to 44% votes in November'13.

In Homer, Alaska, in October'13 Voters voted down the bag ban passed in 2012 with approximate 54% to 44% votes.

In Walnut Creek, CA, in November'13, Councilman Justin Wedel sponsored Speak Up For Walnut Creek (SU4WC), www.su4wc.com to preempt plastic bag ban. It also wants to repeal smoking ban in multi-units residential buildings, for the ban violates people's liberty to choose.

In December'13, in Huntington Beach, SoCal, Frank LoGrosso has a very ambitious plan to gather 13,000+ signatures to repeal bag ban which took effect on 11/1/13. With his well connected Republican members, and volunteers deployed in 4 separate districts, we pray that sufficient signatures will be gathered by March'14. Please spread the words and volunteer.

And in January'14, two more parties in Encino and Sherman Oaks, L.A. have stepped up and expressed interest in driving repeal efforts. We welcome their enthusiasm. All of us here would love to share our knowledge / resources, and lend moral support.

Though in December'13, the repeal initiative in Campbell, CA fell short of the 2300 signatures required; 1200+ were gathered, we have learned much from the experience. With the bag ban taking effect on D-Day 1/27/14, we hope the public uproar will give us the needed energy to relaunch the repeal initiative. Please volunteer and donate.

Although writing to City Councils, County Supervisors and State Lawmakers make sense, with most of them yield to eco-fads and the "EIR"; the whipped up Environmental Impact Review which is most flaw,  and bag ban supporters who are relentless in their need to "modify public behavior", our writing fell into deaf ears. Our writing has no teeth.

To be effective, as recommended by Councilman Michael Winkler of Arcata:

If citizens disagree with any laws passed by the City Council they have a number of options:
-Contact us and express their opinion and get us to change our legislation
-Put a measure on the ballot and get it passed reversing our decision
-Elect someone else to office who will reverse our decision
-Remove us in a recall election
-Successfully file a lawsuit that our legislation is either a violation of state or federal law or a violation of the state or federal constitution

We think the second option of repeal ballot and the third option of removing them from offices are the most viable.

Since Craig Keller has done 4 repeal efforts in WA, these pointers are from his hard earned experience. His step-by-step primer:
Title:  "Just DO it!"
Subtitle:  "How to overturn a fascist bag ban"

The Petition
Referendum or Initative?

1.  Ballotpedia link
http://ballotpedia.org/Laws_governing_local_ballot_measures_in_California

And cut and paste Ballotpedia's most relevant passages from their page.  Particularly the text from within the webpage expansion of "Ordinance Initiative Process"

2.  Signature Collection tactics (my rank by importance)
a.  precinct work (including the very key door drops with envelope + petition)
b.  storefront work (probably the best recruitment activity and media attractant)
c.  mailings (including placement of petitions in newspapers as insert "advertisement" - I've done this in every campaign.)
d  professional collectors.

3.  Administrative
a.  self validation against voter data base (secretary)
b.  campaign finance reporting (treasurer)
c.  PO Box

4.  Recruitment
1.  Petitioning is the most effective
2.  Website
3.  Press releases to media

And here are our contact:

SaveOurChoice.us, Seattle, WA:
Craig Keller
craig@saveourchoice.us

Stop the Bag Ban, San Jose, CA
Don Williams & Joseph Sze
stopthebagban@gmail.com

Fight The Plastic Bag Ban, Ventura, CA
Anthony Van Leeuwen
http://fighttheplasticbagban.com/

No Durango Bag Tax, Durango, CO
Kristen Smith
nobagtax2014@gmail.com

Speak Up For Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek, CA
Councilman Justin Wedel
info@su4wc.com

Me. Terry Chong
repealbagfee@gmail.com


Friday, December 6, 2013

11/2013 Walnut Creek Councilman Wedel Launched Speak Up For Walnut Creek to Prevent Bag Ban


http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24429259/walnut-creek-councilman-works-repeal-smoking-rules-prevent

According to the above article posted on 11/1/13, "citing his oath to uphold the Constitution, Councilman Justin Wedel says Walnut Creek voters, not elected leaders, should decide where people can smoke and whether shoppers can choose paper or plastic." 

"Does the effect of smoking out weight private property right? I think No." said Wedel. 

"As for plastic bags, Wedel says the council shouldn't dictate what stores use, and that substitutes would as bad or worse for the environment." 

Gosh! I am so grateful that finally a lawmaker dare to stand up and defy his colleagues to uphold our constitutional right. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our innate rights protected by constitution. So many city councils and county supervisors have blatantly violated this very fundamental democratic principle and have no shame of what they did. They even pride themselves for their eco-fads action, which in reality hurts the environment. 

You can watch Wedel interview with KTVU here. http://www.su4wc.com/
You can download both initiatives to sign from the website. 

I hope after watching the TV clip on su4wc, you would be as mad as I am. Mayor Cindy Silvia said that "if you want to legislate through ballot box, that doesn't make a very functional government. That is not the form of government we pride ourselves with." Is she saying that she prides herself forcing the will of 5 city councilmembers' onto its citizens? Does she believe that governance is -- of the people, by the people, for the people? With her type of mindset, doesn't she deserved a recall? 

Walnut Creek City Council is already working on the bag ban and has the majority. How very grateful I am that Wedel stands to oppose it and has formed a group called Speak Up for Walnut Creek. He has supporters who will gather signatures, and has so far financed this effort completely on his own, with a lawyer working pro bono helped drafted the initiatives. With eco-fads ran rampant, to turn the tide is no easy task. 

If you read my 8/13 blog: To Read and To Watch, you will abhor how the "environmentalists" pushed their agenda through based on myths and misrepresentations and were shameless of what they did. Their myths have been called out, but that didn't stop them from drumming up the myths and keep on talking. 

On 11/20/13 Councilman Dennis Norton of Capitola wrote:
Nov 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM, Dennis Norton wrote:
Who are the public going to believe,a representitive from the plastic industry or Save our Shores and Surfrider

He did not mention another party; the public who are not stupid.

Wedel intends to put the two initiatives on ballot next June. It need 15% of 65,000 voters signatures, which is 4000. He has 180 days (6 months) from mid-November to collect signatures. 

Speak Up For Walnut Creek need the support from all of us. Justin Wedel has braved it. We must stand up to fight for our rights. So many youngsters, their parents, our teachers were so misguided by the eco-fads. We must rise up and speak the counter points, to bring back sense and sensibility, and push back eco-fads.  

Rise up now. Speak Up for Walnut Creek. And for all of us.

Speak Up for Walnut Creek
626 Joshua Court
Walnut Creek, CA  94598
info@su4wc.com
Phone or text: (925) 899-2535



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10/2013 Tenino WA tabled Plastic Bag Ban Indefinitely


http://www.theolympian.com/2013/09/30/2750989/tenino-weighing-a-ban-on-plastic.html

At the end of Oct'13, Tenino WA City Council has decided to tabled plastic bag ban indefinitely. OMG! I want to get down to my knee and thank God that finally a few Councilmen have cast doubt and called for reasons and investigations instead of blindly following the Pied Piper march and accepting the funky nonsensical claims. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Councilmen.

I quote from the above linked article:
"At last week’s Tenino City Council meeting, Councilman Dave Watterson said he was in favor of the ban – until he started to delve into the issue.
“I’m probably one of the greener people in here. I try to do environmentally friendly things,” Watterson said. “But when you start doing some research – and I tried to look at a lot of sources, from tree-huggers to the plastic bag industry – from what I’m reading, paper bags are as bad or worse than plastic bags.”
“I’ve completely changed my mind on the whole plastic bag thing,” he said. “It sounds like a great thing, but the answer isn’t going to paper. People aren’t getting the whole story on what’s going on here.”
Reusable bags aren’t a great option either, he said. To see any environmental benefit, Watterson said a reusable bag must be used more than 180 times.
“It’s not as simple as what they show,” he said. “The alternatives are worse.”

And this is the follow-up article on how it was finally tabled:
http://www.theolympian.com/2013/10/28/2797315/tenino-council-tables-proposed.html

And if you want more articles and videos on environmental issues, read my 8/13 blog: To Read and To Watch.

----------------------------------------------
I was once a much better green people, too. I recycled food scrap 2-3 times a week. I had to take out trash only once a week. Now that I no longer have paper bags for food scrap, all the food scrap ended in waste. These days, I have to take the trash out 2-3 times a week. Better?






Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2013/09/30/2750989/tenino-weighing-a-ban-on-plastic.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, November 16, 2013

11/5/13 Voters of Durango, CO Rejected Plastic Bag Fee


http://durangoherald.com/article/20131105/NEWS01/131109746/Voters-reject-grocery-bag-fee-

On 11/5/13, Voters of Durango, CO rejected the grocery bag fee with votes of 56% vs 44%.

“I'm just happy that the voters in Durango exercised some adult supervision on their extreme and juvenile City Council,” said Kristen Smith, part of the pro-repeal group No Durango Bag Tax. “We worked hard to defeat it, and would encourage other citizens to run for council who think voice of reason should be there to represent the people.”

Thank you, voters, for exercising your rights!
Thank you, No Durango Bag Tax volunteers, for putting it on the ballots.

The bag bans are based on myths and misrepresenatations perpetuated by environment non-profits.
Shame on them all, that they even have the guts to go to schools to mislead our children and high-schoolers.

The ban and fee are bad for:
- businesses: to bag customers purchases is the least of customer services that retailers should provide, especially when it come to discretionary shopping, which is for fun. If it is no fun anymore, why shop? All stores can close, we can all go home!

- residents: Many of us use plastic bags for trash and pet waste. Without them, we will have to buy the much thicker and bigger trash bags. Why is the later better?

- for environment. Plastic bags are the by-product of natural gas, not oil. And they take little to make. Verses paper bags which come from trees. From logging, debarking, chop & dice, add water to make pulp, squeeze water out and flatten to make paper, the whole process takes much more resources and energy and create more greenhouse gases. Why is paper better?

Read my 8/13 blog: To Read and To Watch, I have a collection of articles and videos.

Since Durango City Council is still mourning their loss, you might want to write to them to wake them up to the perspectives of businesses and citizens. They need to wake up from their stupor. At this moment, the only people who are talking and talking are the activists. The City Councils needs to hear from the public and the businesses. Speak up now, before you decide to vote them out. They need to be reminded why they are there in the first place. They are there not for the five of themselves, but for the citizens, who are on top of the organization chart that they might have forgotten. 56% of the citizen has spoken against it. So, please, wake up now, City Council.

This is their contact:
http://www.durangogov.org/index.aspx?nid=169



2013 Is the Year to Support / Donate to Market-Based Solutions



As year 2013 coming to an end, you will be getting a whole bunch of donation requests; calendars, stickers, labels; many of them from environment non-profits. Having suffered a full year or two through this “plastic bags killed thousands of marine lives including seabirds every single year” which is myth taking on the appeal of truth, seeing these funky environmental non-profits humming louder and louder, spreading myths in schools, city councils and state governments, it is time that we say enough is enough.

They, the vocal minority have been having too much fun. They have forgotten the words shame and truth.

It is time that we, the silent majority exercise our will and power, and put our money to work.

Tear off a piece of the calendar; send it back to the president with a note: we can no longer support your organization, if you help perpetuate myths and misrepresentations that are scientifically unsupportable. The bag bans make the retailers pay – for pissing off shoppers. Bagging customer purchases is the least of customer service retailers should provide. Else, the shoppers will just shut their wallets and stay home. They are making consumers pay. I have to buy plastic bags to line my trash bins. I had to argue with Safeway on why I need a “plastic produce bag” – not the “plastic shopping bag with handles” to wrap packages of meat that were leaking meat juice. Thanks to you all.

Media like KQED is asking for your year-end donation, too. It is time to tell them: we need to hear from the other sides; from the consumers and businesses. We do not assume that environment non-profits are angels. They are human. By nature; human has weakness. Human are bias, by the paradigm they grew up with, and by the limitation of their knowledge. We will not take whatever they say at face value. Give us the other side of the story, and we will decide which side is more right. We will support you only if you give us comprehensive stories; i.e. when the voices from both sides covered.

If you want to donate; it is time to support organizations that promote market-based solutions as listed below. The world is not black and white. We are dealing with usage of resources – they are by nature scarce. It is always about trade off. And priorities change over time, too; for we do not go all the way to solve a problem one hundred percent, with last few percents causing an exorbitant amount of money.  A lot of time, when it is good enough, we want to move on spending our precious money solving the next bigger problem; that is what market based solutions do. When we allow market to play out, organizations / businesses see the problems/opportunity will try to meet the needs in the most efficient way. Their reward is their very survival or profit. A lot of innovation / progress were driven by market-based solutions; such as the development of battery used in hybrid or electric cars. Products / solutions might take decade to improve; such is the case with battery. We do not solve a problem overnight with emotional appeal, or media sensation, or myths, or hypes. Development is a slow; gradual, decade-long commitment in continuous research and improvement, which finally deliver the superb products. 

Please support these organizations instead. Dig deep and donate the most that you could:
-         Cascade Policy Institute, Portland – ran by John Charles who had ran The Oregon Environmental Council for 16 years, who grew disillusioned by the leftist ideological, comfortable, ineffective policies that hurt the environment (http://cascadepolicy.org)
-         Hoover Institution, Stanford University (www.hoover.org)
-     Reason Foundation, Los Angeles (www.reason.org)
-         Bag the Ban! (www.bagtheban.com)

I challenge you read these books, and to gift them away as Christmas presents; to educate our people, to make them informed decision makers / citizens.

- Eco-fads: how the rise of trendy environment book is harming the environment, Todd Myers, 2011
- The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg – Lomborg “using data from United Nation, Lomborg found the litany of environmental concerns so repeated in the media were flawed and exaggerated.”
- The Green Wave, Bonner Cohen – how the environmental non-profits channel hundred of millions of dollar each year to promote their causes
- The Honest Broker, Dr. Roger Pielke Jr – on the interplay of science and politics, how we tend to be most comfortable making decisions based on what is most comfortable (our personal values) vs. the least comfortable (complex scientific analysis)
- Green-Collar Jobs, Alan T. Durning, 1999

Donate! Support a great cause!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Anti-bans Contraband; We Are Thousands Bloggers Strong


The anti-bans contraband has arrived. We will be thousands bloggers strong. Wherever the bag ban supporters go, we will be right behind. We will call out myths & misrepresentations. We will tell opposing view points. We will keep talking until this madness stop, and until the previous damages be reversed.

Remember the prohibition time back in 1920, when alcohol was evil for moral and health? To have a drink, one had to seek out underground speakeasies? Bootleggers were prosecuted. Effective enforcement was difficult. Without widespread public support, it resulted in the growth of criminal activities. It ended in 1933, a good 13 years!

Now that the bag ban and fee are sweeping across our cities and counties. Plastic bags were persecuted fervently as if they were the greatest evil on earth -- the bags which we use to take our purchases home, which we use again for our garbage and pet waste. Doesn’t it feel like déjà vu all over again? So you really think that our governments know better? And the green people know better? That they are our better selves that we shall defer to? Really? I so don’t think so.

Read my 8/13 blog: To Read and To Watch. Just 2 articles by Carson Bruno and Todd Myers and the video: Are You Being Told the Truth About Plastic Bags will convince you otherwise. Sad that these view points were not widely broadcasted.

With the ban madness sweeping across our states and took down city-by-city, our opposing voice felt like a drop of water into the big ocean. But, we must keep faith. This is about staying power. It is about where the public, the majority stands. To give you faith --
I have seen some 20 – 30 protesters blocking 2 branches of traffic at the neck of a Y junction. A pedestrian stood at the end of a block re-directed the traffic to detour. In less than 10 minutes, the blockage was lifted -- the public was with lone ranger.

How many shoppers you saw paid and walked out with bags? You think they were with the ban supporters and with the city governments that forced the law upon them “to shape their behavior for the greater good”? They ignored the law and grudgingly paid.

At this moment, the green people, the activists with a job that pays them for what they do can keep pushing their agenda and earn their keep. But we, the public, we are of much larger population. Even if just 1% of us speak up and stay on – we can stay on forever, we will be louder and stronger. Don’t you think?

We are the greatest democratic country on earth! Law is of the people, by the people, for the people. How could we grudgingly take it without utter a sound of objection? How can we do it to ourselves?

We are the anti-ban contraband! We are the speakeasies of 1920s! I hope that when this onslaught ends, we can looking back and laugh with fascination:
“Alcohol was evil?” “Our wine is world class!” “Our wineries are gorgeous!”
“Plastic bags are evil?” “Merchants are not supposed to bag my purchases?” “Is it not part of customer service?” “What about my trash?”

To be an efficient blogger, here is what you need to do:
  1. Create a nickname. You will use it for blogging and for leaving comments on news / articles. Nickname such as Antibanblogger1, Antibanblogger2, Antibanblogger3, Antibanblogger1000, etc.
  2. Create a new email account; to keep it separate from your personal and professional lives, since every thing is tied to your email account.
  3. Create a new facebook and twitter accounts
  4. Start blogging on blogger.com. Once a blog is published, you can facebook and twit the same blog many times
  5. On facebook, like and make friends. Each time I shared information related to a specific city, I searched for libertarians and republican parties and members in those cities; for these people hate government intervention. Be mindful to not over-do it. Facebook recommends that you make friends with only people you know, else, send a message first. Anyhow, I did it and have so far made 70+ friends all over the States. We were strangers hating this coercive law.
  6. Stay away from hostile social websites – you will find out soon enough which sites are dominated by unruly rude people – especially the young crowd. Facebook, twitter, TV and newspaper are safe sites where you can comfortably leave comments and direct traffic to your blog.
  7. Email City Councils and County Board of Supervisors regularly – biweekly, monthly. Feed them information you find. I use my personal email and name for this purpose since they are official document.
  8. Write to retailers; be it the general managers of local stores or CEOs of the corporations such as Nordstrom, Macys, Gap Inc, Saks Firth, Tiffany that we, the shoppers will boycott shopping bag fee and hold out as long as we can. They need to do their part in putting some senses to the city governments. You can find the CEOs’ names and addresses on Yahoo-Finance page.
  9. Write to newspapers, TVs and radios that we need to hear the opposing view from the plastic bag industry and market based think tanks such as Washington Policy Center. The green people should not have monopoly to media. We need check and balance. We need to hear from the other side now.
  10. Share your blog with friends and families if they are with you. Else, forget about them. I saw people just bury their heads in the sand and refuse to even read the articles from the opposing side. Save your energy.
  11. It is year-end and you will soon receive many calendars and donation requests from environmental non-profits. Lots of them. Write to them: If you support some funky non-profits just to take my plastic bags away, not only I will not give you money, I will tell everybody to not give. The donation money now goes to Market Based Solution such as Washington Policy Center until sanity is restored.
  12. Don’t waste time talking to rocks. They are dead.
  13. Connect with like-minded who can lend moral support. I was a lone ranger from for a good nine months, until I was connected with Craig from Save Our Choice in Seattle, WA and Don from Stop The Bag Ban in San Jose, and Judy from Seal Beach, So Cal. We have wonderful, long distance friendship. We fight hard. We are in this together.

Craig, Save Our Choice, Seattle, WA

Don, Stop The Bag Ban, San Jose, CA

Anthony, Fight the Plastic Bag Ban, Ventura, Ca
fighttheplasticbagban@gmail.com

Kristen, No Durango Bag Tax, Durango, CO
info@nodurangobagtax.com
http://www.nodurangobagtax.com/
Kristen and her friends have successful repealed the ban early Nov'13.
What a power website she has! It maximizes the power of social media and fund raising.

And me, Terry, San Francisco, CA
repealbagfee@gmail.com
blogger. Enthusiast.