BAG YOUR FACE: IS THE ACC PAYING ‘EM OFF?

My, my, it’s getting nearly impossible to keep track of how many ban the bag ordinances are popping up all over the United States or the world, for that matter.  Everyday here at BTB BLOG HQ, I’m told of yet another initiative and consequently, yet another lawsuit filed by the ACC or one of it’s derivatives is trying to unpack the progress we as a society are beginning to make.  For all the slings and arrows we face as activists, all I can say is this people, ‘keep on keep it on.’ To date, 25% of the world has enacted policy to reduce or eliminate plastic bag consumption.  A decade ago, that number was zero.  So hey, if you get frustrated, just remember, every action you make contributes to the movement, and even if you lose your own effort, know that you’re paving the way for another to clench victory.  We’re all in this together and we all subscribe to the belief that shifting to sustainable behaviors is the only hope we got of keeping this planet a place where we can live.

Idaho: I believe the children are our future.

Ban The Bag Blog contributor, Jennie Romer, wrote this fabulous piece on her site, PlasticBagLaws.org.  Here’s and excerpt that should be inspiring:

W.A.T.E.R. (We Appreciate the Earth’s Resources) – a high school club aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues – gathered enough signatures to get a plastic bag ordinance on the November 8th ballot in the City of Hailey, Idaho.”

Okay, these are HIGH SCHOOL KIDS. If they can do it, so can YOU.  Jennie is going to write later this week on how it all turned out in Idaho.

Oregon

Well, down in Newport, Oregon, (home to NOAA by the way) a couple of city council members there have turned coat on what looked like a slam dunk for The Ban The Bag movement. What’s weird is that two council members flipped their vote to go forward with an ordinance stating reasons, the veracity of which, is in question. I obtained this letter from Charlie Plybon, Oregon Field Coordinator for The Surfrider Foundation, making a public records request for letters referenced that have apparently changed the councilmen’s minds.  I SMELL A RAT!  Here’s the situation, and it’s relevant to YOU, and your MOVEMENT, because it teaches you how TO FIGHT BACK:

At Issue:

Council member Dean Sawyer, backed by council member David Allen led the way to repeal the Oct 17th motion to draft an ordinance to ban plastic bags in Newport.  Over 40 supporters of a ban on plastic bags showed up last night and showed support yet again. In addition, 40 people emailed the city council yesterday supporting a ban on plastic bags, only 1 letter was opposed. So why is the city council not listening to the public, how did we get here? If you are puzzled, you’re not the only one. Please ask city council members Dean Sawyer,David AllenJeff Bertuleit, and Richard Beemer who they are representing and why they have decided not to listen to you (or email the city council:citycouncil@newportoregon.gov). Now is a great time for letters to the editor at Newport News times (newsclerk@newportnewstimes.com).

Below, IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE, a letter from Charlie Plybon:

“At the city council meeting tonight several statements were made and letters/discussions referenced that supported the council’s decision making process this evening on the plastic bag ordinance motion. On behalf of the Newport Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, I’d like to respectfully request the following in accordance with Oregon’s public records law and as provided by ORS 192.4201(1).

1) Councilor Sawyer made reference to an email/letter characterized as non-supportive from Thriftway (a regional grocery store) on a plastic bag ordinance. We’d like a copy of that email. We’d be happy to supply the council with our attempted correspondence with Thriftway over the past two months.

2) Reference was made to letters and emails of opposition to drafting an ordinance. We’d like a copy of those emails. If we are to surmount issues or concerns that individuals have with an ordinance, we need to know who they are so we can effectively do outreach with them and discuss their concerns.

3) Reference was made to not hearing any support from Fred Meyer and Safeway (two other regional grocery stores). We’d like documentation on that lack of support, as we worked very hard to gain that support.”

As you can see, it’s a weird situation. One of the key ingredients to running a solid campaign is getting the Grocer’s Association in your area onboard. The opinions of the grocers may vary from region to region, but all the grocery stores referenced in this article have shown support for plastic bag policies. What grocers want, is a model ordinance in each municipality were policy will go on the books.  Why? Because unlike the ACC, they know that it’s dumb to fight the inevitable. This makes their bag distribution easier– a patchwork of ordinances makes them grumpy.  Keep that in mind—

The Ban The Bag Blog is following this story, and we’ll keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Stiv Wilson, Portland Chapter.

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