What do the plastic bag ban, the wood stove ban, and the climate action plan all have in common?
I will say, they all cost a lot of $taff time.
These ordinances don’t solve any real problem, they just validate the existence of these $100,000/year ++++ $taffers with their Diamond Jim Brady benefits and pensions.
How many hours do you suppose city attorney Lori Barker has already and will continue to spend in composing the plastic bag ban ordinance? The most recent figures I have on her salary and benefits/pension package is from 2010 – a combined total of $276,047.05. She’s got a pretty pricey little $taff too, including two assistant attorneys whose combined salaries, not including benefits/pension, amounted to about $300,000/year.
I get so frustrated with the conversation I hear at city council meetings. The other night they pretended to have a discussion about the future of the Sustainability Task Force. I listened to almost the entire conversation live, and plan to listen to the rest of it later. I’m waiting for somebody to bring up the actual cost – stuff like Linda Herman’s salary and benefits/pension package. The 2010 figure on that, $124,411.75. They should also talk about the money PG&E has poured into this committee – like that $390,000 “grant”, paid for by us, the ratepayers. The STF is really a double screwing, as far as I’m concerned – we pay them to sit devising ways to dick us around.
A lot of my friends are just incredulous about the things I tell them - “they can do that?” Yes, they can and do “that” of all kinds on a daily basis Downtown. Right now the most outrageous “that” they got going is the embezzlement known as “employer paid member contribution,” but we’ll get to that in another blog.
Some people see the pattern to all this “sustainability” crap, like John Salyer, who took the time to stand up at Tuesday’s meeting and talk about Agenda 21. Thanks John, that is a conversation that needs to be had. John has also been trying to educate people to the stupidity of the plastic bag ban. He has sat at meetings til all hours just to stand up for three minutes and get cut off, almost with a snarl, first by Mayor Schwab, and now by Mayor Goloff. Nobody wants to hear it, nobody wants to admit it – this whole sustainability scam is really about certain private interests.
John, like many people I know, sees a real problem with the bag ban. How are we supposed to carry our groceries and keep our food sanitary? The bag ban advocates try to ignore, even laugh off this problem – well, they’re all childless - none of these people has to run a home, manage meals, feed and take care of kids. Whenever I think about this ban, I get a mental image of a woman I saw struggling out of Safeway one evening. She made me feel footloose and fancy free! My kids are getting big, one of them buys his own groceries. But here was this young gal, wearing her work clothes, 6 pm, shoving a cartload of everything from laundry detergent to ground beef out that door, all of it wrapped in plastic “t-shirt” bags. Alot of them. I remember thinking, as many cotton and nylon and plastic reusable sacks I have in my kitchen drawer, I would not have been able to get her purchases out of the store without additional bags.
I remember how red-faced she was, tired after a long day, shoving that cart full of stuff out the door. It wasn’t loaded down with fur coats - this woman probably had maybe two days a week, tops, during which she had a couple of hours to worry about getting all the supplies needed by a small family. And not just the grocery store – I’ll never forget the night I told my mom, “oh yeah, Patty’s dad is taking us to the snow tomorrow…” She looked at her watch and realized she had about 40 minutes to get me to Kinney’s Shoes for a cheapie pair of rubber boots, and off we went, her coat thrown over her nightgown. My parents worked all day, there wasn’t much time left for the extras, like dentist appointments and Open House night at school, but somehow they did it.
When my mom went shopping she got paper bags. Back in the ’70′s, they attacked working class women with the notion that every paper shopping bag represented a mighty redwood, slain forever. They told us plastic bags, made with the by-products of natural gas drilling, would save the forests. It’s so funny to look back, humans are so dumb sometimes.
Now they attack working moms with “your plastic bags are creating an island the size of Texas!” To which I have to ask, just the t-shirt bags? I’ve read there’s all kinds of plastic in those “islands.” It’s amazing the crap that passes for “facts” in these council discussions, but oh yeah, bloggers are spreading misinformation.
These bans they keep coming up with have another thing in common – they affect working and lower-income people disproportionately. I remember looking at that woman’s cart and wondering how much she would have had to lay down at a nickel a bag – Jerry Brown says they can charge 25 cents/bag! More for the pricey reusable bags – how many of you will buy new reusable bags every time you forget to bring them from the car, or forget to have cleaned them?
And cleaning your reusable bags is a real issue. I wash my cloth sacks in the laundry, and that’s a big enough pain in the rear. They’re not available until they dry, for one thing. And washing them causes them to shrink and wear out. And then there’s the nylon sacks – they’re not as durable, and they’re more expensive. Safeway has a cheap “Chico-bag” knock-off for $3.99, but a real “Chico-bag” will run you at least $5, and as much as $9. Try getting your money’s worth out of one of those bags – they don’t wash well, unless you are some single childless person who has boodles of time to hand wash and carefully block set your Chico bags every time you use them.
Because, yes, that’s what it takes to avoid e-coli bacteria. I have a couple of those plastic “cold” sacks, and I turn them inside out and wash them with a clean rag, then spray them with either hydrogen peroxide bleach or vinegar and water, then wipe them out with a clean paper towel. Every time I use them. Yes, that is a real pain in the ass. I like having the bag for my cold foods, so I don’t mind, but when the old one started to stink after a year or so, I had to get rid of it. No, I don’t think anybody down at Salvation Army wants my old cold sack. I don’t even want to speculate how long that sucker will be in the landfill – as I hucked it into my Recology tote, I told it to say “Hi” to the 22nd Century for me.
John Salyer found a piece in Bloomberg View describing “the disgusting consequences of plastic bag bans.”
I find this pretty ironic. For two years I’ve sat in these conversations with the Sustainability Task Force about the horrors of plastic bags, how they are single-baggedly wrecking our environment – you know, only the ones with certain handles, etc. All those other plastic bags you see blowing along the highway are okay, as are the coffee cups and other jetsam. A woman from Roplast, a plastic bag maker in Oroville, finally asked during one of the last discussions – was this ordinance really about achieving “zero waste,” or was it about controlling human behavior. How can a ban that targets only one exact piece of trash actually achieve “zero waste”? From the comments I’d been hearing, I knew, it’s all about controlling human behavior, just like Agenda 21. These people are a bunch of holier-than-thou idiots who real lifestyles wouldn’t stand up to the same scrutiny.
In this Bloomberg article, Ramesh Ponnuru describes the human habits that make “reusable” plastic bags un-reusable. Busy people, you know – like the lady described above – are not able to take care of their reusable bags, and coliform bacteria is becoming a real problem. So now what – we gonna go on a behavioral control campaign to get that working mom who just came home from a marathon trip to the grocery store having spent 9 – 12 hours commuting to-and-from her job and maybe taking kids to-and-from school-dentist-doctor-extracurricular appointments and then come home just in time to slam something on the table for dad who also works all day and probably had to take the car in for new tires on the way home and picked Sally up at softball practice that she has to clean and sanitize her reusable grocery sacks before she drops her half-baked bones into the sack?
John said, in his letter to council, that he feels this bag ban disproportionately affects the poor. Well, I’d like to add, it disproportionately affects working women, let’s be real people.
I wanted to post John’s letter here, but I can’t cut and paste. I think the article he sent makes a good point, and I hope people will see what’s really going on with this ban.
I think we can still repeal whatever they turn out, we might want to check into that.