Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Marching of The Bans & Fees. No One is Safe Anymore


The marching of the bans and fees is sweeping across California, and has headed to Sacramento. Thank god AB298 was defeated in 8/2012. But sadly, it is finding its way back in early 2013 as AB158 sponsored by Representative Marc Levine, D-San Rafael and SB405 sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla. Your cities are not safe. In this witch-hunt that single-use plastic bags are the greatest evil on earth -- though they cost less to produce (reflected in prices; 1000 plastic bags can be bought for $19.99. Whereas 10c is not enough to cover the cost for 1 paper bag), hence curiously making them the most "environmentally friendly" compared to paper or cotton bags, and 40+ percent of plastic bags were reused as trash bags or for doggie waste, or brought back to stores to be recycled, almost every city in the bay area is pushing to enact some bans and fees before Earth Day 4/22/13. Read Costra Costa Times article "it is Menlo Park's Turn now" that lists all the cities in line. Menlo Park approved the ban and fee on ALL stores on 1/22/13 to take effect in 4/2013. On 1/15/13 Cupertino approved the ban and fee on ALL stores to take effect in 10/2013. Capitola, Carmel, Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco will all impose bag fee on ALL stores effective Feb or April 2013.The link on top of this page shows you where each city stands. 

San Mateo County, Marin County, Santa Clara County and Alameda County have all approved the ban. So all the cities in the counties must come up with some forms of bans and fees, some will be more severe than the other. Share this blog with all of your friends and families. We, the people, must speak up now!

This article by Washington Policy Center; an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank
Should Cities Ban Plastic Bags? states that even a noted environment organization stated that it can not support the claim that huge number of sea-birds and marine mammals was killed by ingestion of plastics. The argument that plastic bags kill is "false and misleading". The plastic came from hard plastic such as milk jug, juice jug, tub, cap, and water bottle. They were not from our plastic bags! Paper bags, canvas bags take more resources to produce and increase carbon emission hence global warming. The net environmental effect is negative! The claim that the "Pacific Garbage Patch" is twice the size of Texas is not only false, but "the exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists."

Bags and bottled water don't pollute. People pollute. Human are the biggest polluters. So, do we ban procreation?

Tell your supervisors, mayor, council members how it has affected you, people you know, and how you and they cope. For example, a girlfriend of mine lives in Vallejo, and seldom come to San Francisco to visit her families. Her sister ran out of paper bags that she used for recycle, and asked her to bring over some. So she brought them whenever she took the ferry to SF.

And for myself, I used plastic shopping bag to line my small trash bins. I am running real low. And instead of buying the much thicker trash bags from stores which will be even harder if impossible for the environment to disintegrate, I bought 1000 plastic bags from Amazon for $19.99. That will last me for years. And I used to use the small paper bags from Walgreens to recycle food waste. Now I totally ran out. And the food waste wound up in trash. Upset with this 10c per bag fee imposed on discretionary shopping, I have been boycotting shopping since Oct'12. Thus far, I have opened my wallet -- or more correctly my heart to only 2 stores; Vera Bradley and a small boutique in my neighborhood. I recently was told that a lady would have bought $2000 worth of merchandise in Nordstrom cancelled her order when asked to pay 10c for the bag. She probably wouldn't come back for a long, long time.

We also need to write to our Governor, Senators, and Representatives to do a comprehensive review of the pros and cons on this bill. Todd Myers, the Director of Environment of Washington Policy Center authored this 2011 landmark book Eco-Fads: How The Rise of Trendy Environmentalism is Harming The Environment. He has testified in DC many times.

The non-profits with their simple sound bites refused to acknowledge many responsible citizens have reused and recycled plastic bags. Toilet paper, paper towels, pasta, bread are wrapped in plastic bags! We need more stores that provide plastic recycle containers. The non-profits and law makers are determined that more rules and regulations to shape / modify consumer behavior are their best policies! They only provoke bad feeling and revolt!

A law that affects its residents' daily lives need to be embraced by the residents and voted by themselves. Our country is founded on the very fundamental principle of democracy that is:

of the people, by the people and for the people.

We will not accept a law that is forced upon us. That will make us victims of robberies who could not complain to the authorities, for it is the authorities that has robbed us of our basic rights.


Terry C said...

Response from Senator Mark Leno on 1/16/13:

Thank you for writing to express your comments regarding the plastic bag ban. I appreciate your taking the time to share your opinions on this issue.

Last year, Assemblywoman Brownley introduced AB 298 - Single-Use Carryout bags. This bill would have generally prohibited retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. The bill required retailers to make reusable grocery bags, as defined, available for purchase by customers. The bill also would have created standards for reusable grocery bags. AB 298 failed in Senate Appropriations on August 16, 2012.

As we continue to discuss this issue, I will keep your comments and recommendations in mind.

If you have additional thoughts or comments on this or any other issue, please contact our office at 415-557-1300 or visit our website at www.senate.ca.gov/leno.


MARK LENO Senator, 11th District

Terry C said...

In response to that, I wrote:

Dear Senator Leno,

I so appreciate your response and update. I am greatly relief to find that the bill was defeated.
A law that affects its citizens daily life and the business communities should be voted by its voters, only then it will be embraced by them. That is the very fundamental principle of democracy.

SF imposed 10c fee on ALL retailers.
2 - 3 weeks before last Christmas, I walked in SF Shopping Mall. It was cold. There wasn't much foot traffic.
I am not sure if it was my imagination.
Since I work for myself, I come to office around 10am - 11am daily, I quickly toured the mall for a feel around that time.

But while visiting Corte Madera around that time, the malls were humming with shoppers walking around with their good looking shopping bags. That is how a healthy economy should feel. Again, I am not sure if that is my imagination.

I thank you again for this -- GOOD news. It is real GOOD. :)

Terry C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry C said...

Correspondence with Mayor Ken Brown from Sonoma on 1/19/13:

Mayor Brown,
Oh! Sorry, I should address you as Mayor Brown,
Thank you so much for your kind acknowledgement.

My husband and I do day trips up to Sonoma once in a while.
We would love to open our wallets and hearts and spurge on shopping and wondering in Sonoma freely. Thank you.


Terry- Ken is fine. I have office hours at City Hall on Tuesdays from 130-230p, stop by- Ken

Terry C said...

Response from Mayor Diane Furst of Corte Madera on 1/22/13:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your taking the time to express your frustration with San Francisco's bag ban. While I agree with you that it is simple to avoid the one-time use of grocery bags by bringing your own bags (which I do), your comments about bags from clothing and department stores has given me something to consider when/if we choose to implement a ban in our town.

Thanks again for writing.

Terry C said...

Response from former Mayor Kathy Bhardwaj from Trinidad on 1/24/13:

Fewer than 400 residents! I also agree with your point of talking to merchants first! A vital step that is often shorted.

I also agree that careful analysis of realities on-the-ground is needed before any law is passed. The obvious "solution" to a problem sometimes has unintended consequences.

I'm intrigued that you have obviously looked up a lot of Mayors and written to them. And I see by your picture that you are young. Good for you! In late middle age, I finally realized that if one is willing to work harder than other people do, one can make a difference. Most people just won't do the work. It looks like you will be one of the people who will make a difference.

I'll have to disagree about the idea of having every citizen vote on every issue, however, It simply requires too much detailed analysis and study of background information to make a correct decision on every issue that comes up. As a City representative, I do the study on City issues that most citizens don't have the time or the inclination to do. But there is no way I can do that for County, State and Federal issues as well. I have to elect representatives to do that for me. That's why it's vital to have good people in those jobs! We don't have direct democracy (like they had in Athens) but rather representative democracy. When I look at Congress, I shudder.

Actually Julie Fulkerson is Mayor now, my term is up. But I enjoyed reading your analysis and will save it for reference if a plastic bag ban is proposed.

Terry C said...

Response from Council Member Julie Combs from Santa Rosa on 1/25/13:

Thank you for your interest in our city's possible bag ordinance. Information about the successes and failures of programs in other areas is always useful to us as we make our decision.

Julie Combs

Terry C said...

Response from Council Member Connie Williams from Sonora on 1/28/13:

Thank you for the email. I had the same experience in SF. I found out when the no plastic shopping bag ordinance was passed it allowed merchants to charge 10 cents per bag. Once the merchants start realizing this is effecting their business they will do something about that part of the ordinance I suspect. I am of the opinion we as a council need to do whatever we can to keep people coming to downtown Sonora and our businesses open. Nothing has been presented to council regarding bags to date. Thank you for visiting our beautiful town. Christopher's (Ristorante) is one of my favorites.

Terry C said...

Response from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein on 2/14/13:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your opposition to measures designed to reduce the use of plastic bags. I appreciate hearing from you.

The concerns you raised in your letter involve a California State issue. As a United States Senator, I have no jurisdiction over state legislation. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to contact your state legislator who will be able to assist you further with this matter. Contact information for the California State Legislature is available at the following website: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/ .

Once again, thank you for contacting my office. I wish you well in your efforts. If I can assist you in the future on a federal matter, please feel free to contact my office again.


Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Terry C said...

Response from CA State Senator, Senator Darrell Steinberg, President Pro Tempore on his gold sealed letterhead on 2/14/13:

Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, despite my interest, it is legislative privilege to allow each Senator to handle his or her own constituents, and so I am unable to address your concerns. You are represented in the State Senate by Senator Mark Leno. I am forwarding your communication to him. He can be reached at :

The Honorable Mark Leno
455 Golden Gate Avenue
Suite 14800
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-1300

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our democratic process. I imagine you will hear from Senator Mark Leno soon.

Darrell Steinberg
President Pro Tempore
6th Senate District

Terry C said...

Letter from CA Senator Jean Fuller on 2/13/13:

Dear Terry,

Thank you (underlined) for your letter regarding your opposition to the proposed ban of plastic bags and the effect on the environment. I appreciate you taking the time to write.

However, inasmuch as you reside in the 11th Senate District, legislative courtesy dictates I forward this concern to Senator Mark Leno. I am confident that you will be hearing from him soon.

Best Regards,
Jean Fuller
State Senator
18th District

Terry C said...

Response from Council Member Dennis Norton of Capitola on 3/14/13:

This is an arguement from the plastics industry.
Miss the whole point.
We are not replacing plastic with paper.
We are eliminating the need for plastic by having evryone make it a habit to bring there own bag when they shop
Stop this evergrowing disposal of plastic intoour dumps, waterstreams and environment.
Have you been to a public disposal site lately?
Paper is only in the conversation (now at $.25 a bag) because some people have not made the transition to bringing there own bag.
Our community has gone from from 20% bringing in there own bag to 70 % bringing in there own bag in 4 months.
And our ordiance has not even gone into effect yet, April 10
"Good-by take out plastic bags"
And dont get me started on Global Warming
Talk to the people on Jersey Shore, New York.
Buy yourself a tote bag and join the rest of us.
Please forward this to Todd Meyers
Thank You

Dennis Norton
Capitola City Council