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In Durango, CO, Kirsten Smith of No Durango Bag Tax successfully repealed the bag tax with 56% to 44% votes in November'13.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.
(In April 2015, Huntingon Beach voted 6-1 in repealing bag ban. And 2 councilmembers who voted for the ban got thrown out.)

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 for health hazard. 

We need more conservatives who are business-minded, who have good common-sense to run our governments. 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 successfully 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

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

Stop the Bag Ban, San Jose, CA
Don Williams & Joseph Sze

Fight The Plastic Bag Ban, Ventura, CA
Anthony Van Leeuwen

No Durango Bag Tax, Durango, CO
Kristen Smith

Speak Up For Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek, CA
Councilman Justin Wedel

Me. Terry Chong