Bag-fee battle: Sierra Club collecting “stories”

August 22, 2008 at 10:03 am | In Bag fee battle, Environment, West Seattle news | 39 Comments

recyclebag.jpgWe’re checking to confirm this but West Seattle CoolMom.org leader Abby Suplizio tells WSB there’s word the grocery/chemical-industry-backed (references here and here) bag-tax referendum petition drive already has enough signatures to get it before voters next year, banbag.jpgless than two weeks after they started circulating petitions (here’s our report from the Thriftway sighting August 10th). We’ll update this item when we hear back from the organizers. The bag-fee battle was featured on National Public Radio yesterday (Suplizio gave us this link, where you can find the audio) — says the Sierra Club “is organizing a campaign about the petition gatherers misleading people all over Seattle” and asking people to send their stories to bradym@balestra.org – here’s what she sent about a West Seattle encounter (followed by some other info we found):

The petition gatherer at the Jefferson Square Safeway approached me and asked if I wanted to “sign for the bag tax” so I asked what about it – he said “so it can be voted on”. (If I wasn’t already savvy that it had passed, I would have probably signed it at this point because, of course, i want it to be voted on). I said that it already got voted on and that the Council approved it. Hmmm. That’s when he said it was to repeal that. I then had about a 20 minute absolutely illuminating discussion with him -at which time he got NO other signatures :)

He confirmed that there were about 20 of them hired from California from American Ballot Co.?? He said that maybe next time I saw him it would be for something I agreed with instead of opposed to. They travel all around the country (their next stop was Nevada) for getting signatures for different referendums. This event, they were getting $2 per signature. He said his best event was when they got $10 per Republican that they got registered to vote- he said it was some place that they didn’t have many Republicans. Real nice. He said the whole signature gathering thing is TOTALLY unregulated and some people will say anything (not him of course) to get people to sign. AND it’s not illegal, because technically when people sign, they are signing a document of what they read. In most of these cases, people streaming in and out of shops, generally just listen to the people and sign away without reading. He said Oregon is the only state that has any type of regulation and that they pay by the hour instead of by the signature. Of course, if they get more signatures they get a higher hourly rate so even that is in question. He also said that one guy who did get “found out” and punished with a misdemeanor, had two petitions and was telling people that they were for two different referendums so he was able to get twice the signatures when it was really for the same referendum. That time he got caught, but what about other times??

This was all very enlightening and I hope that by sharing this, we ALL pay better attention to what we sign at grocery stores in the future!

We couldn’t find an “American Ballot” listed in online references about signature-gathering companies; the only company with “ballot” in its name that’s listed in the Seattle business-license database is National Ballot Access (bare-bones website here). Side note — On the Secretary of State‘s website, we found an initiative submitted this year by our state’s most prolific initiative backer, Tim Eyman, which would have loosened regulations on signature-gatherers, among other things (it’s not on the ballot because “no signatures were gathered” but you can still read it here).

39 Comments

  1. The people of Seattle, not the Seattle CC, should be the ones voting on whether or not they want to be taxed on any thing, be it a bag tax or a tax on bicycle pumps. Long and short of it, why be afraid to put it to a vote? If it passes, fine, we pay the tax; if it doesn’t, fine, we don’t. At least we did the right way, the American way, democratically.

    As for submitting stories about people being mislead by petitioners: Great, nice deflection attempt by the SC from the real topic (taxation with scarce representation). I imagine they’ll attempt to submit them in a court of law, claiming the signatures were gathered illegally and hoping to get the referendum tossed out. (Any judge worth his/her salt should toss any ‘story’ in which that complainant is not present or will not testify. Heck, they’ll tie up the courts for months,maybe years, with that kind of nonsense.)

    More to the point, while I don’t exactly agree with the tactics used by sig. gatherers and what they said to obtain those sigs., how ‘misleading’ is it if a) people simply aren’t paying attention, b.) they’ll sign anything before reading it. Here, one’s own ignorance is the great misleader.

    Comment by OP — 11:51 am August 22, 2008 #

  2. I signed it because the signature gatherer said Greg Nickels passed the law and “the voters” didn’t get to vote on it, and everyone should get to vote on it – as if we’d all been robbed of having a voice on the issue. If it gets on the ballot and is a bad idea it will get defeated anyway, so I’m not sure I’d worry about it too much.

    Comment by Sara — 11:57 am August 22, 2008 #

  3. it’s really a shame that the guy who has been collecting signatures is such a poor representation of our democratic process
    ~
    I talked to this guy just a few days after the first sighting and posted about what he told me
    ~
    I’ve worked for National Ballot Access on a number of campaigns (Smoke Free Washington, Death with Dignity, and others) and from what I’ve observed, MOST initiatives that collect signatures in Seattle or Washington use this organization, because without paid signature gatherers most referendums could not collect enough just with volunteers; the fact that these folks are paid is not in itself a bad thing; when I collected signatures I followed all protocols, read up on all the details of the initiatives to give real true facts; if these guys are being deceptive it gives a bad image to this company that most/all initiatives (good & bad) have relied on for years; and their unethical tactics give a bad image to a good cause; and gives a bad image to the grass roots democratic process of asking citizens if they want the opportunity to vote on a law
    ~
    what really disturbed me when I questioned the guy in front of Thriftway about how I could collect signatures; he told me they were not hiring because it was only for about a week, and that they paid to fly a bunch of guys up from California (which I posted re this topic that same day); he didn’t think I knew anything about this company or the initiative process or the deadline for this one (which at that time was still a few weeks away) or that they don’t “hire” people; it’s all independent contract; they give you a stack of petitions and it’s up to the individual to hit the streets; he told me they were not hiring any more because it was almost over (clearly he didn’t want any competition for the $$$)
    ~
    I know where the office is located and who to call (it’s a seedy little office up in the UD) and could have pursued jumping on the bandwagon to earn some cash while collecting signatures because I am in agreement that the citizens of Seattle should get a chance to vote on this, especially now that we have seen how many are opposed to this fee, but it seemed the folks (aggressive guys) they brought in state to hustle signatures as quick as possible would probably already have enough by the time I went up to the U District to gather materials and hit the street; now that I hear they got $2 per, little regret; most initiatives pay 75 cents to $1 per signature
    ~
    and again, almost every initiative campaign uses this organization with paid signature gatherers, in addition to recruiting volunteers
    ~
    I’m not opposed to anyone being paid, because it’s very hard work, and part of a grass roots process for making change when we can’t get our elected officials to budge (i.e., after years of trying to get our state congress to pass smoke free law, we finally took it to the people in the streets) but it seems we may need to get better regulation in this process, like to start with, petitioners should at least live here? and have a minimum of ethics about the process?

    Comment by Diane — 12:27 pm August 22, 2008 #

  4. I don’t understand the claim of “taxation without representation”. We’ve been avoiding plastic grocery bag use for months now. It’s quite easy, actually. Many re-usable bags are available for around a dollar. If you can’t afford a couple bucks for bags, you can’t afford to live in this city. Plastic grocery bags aren’t a “freedom”; they’re a convenience that has proven to be a nuisance at best and a environmental detriment at worst.

    Comment by coffee geek — 2:36 pm August 22, 2008 #

  5. Just because you can avoid using the thing being taxed, doesn’t mean it’s not a tax. You can avoid using gasoline as well, but the State still collects tax on every gallon this is sold.

    The “without representation” part on the other hand isn’t quite true. We elect folks to represent our interests in government, and they hopefully do that. When we don’t feel that’s the case, there are several mechanisms to correct it, one if which is the referendum. We can also choose not to re-elect folks that we consistently disagree with, or in extreme cases recall them from office.

    Are the influences of outside forces going to determine the fate of this tax? To some degree, yes – because without their action it wouldn’t have appeared before the voters directly at all. Since they have acted, the registered voters of the city will get a chance to choose for themselves if this tax will stand.

    Referendums are a legitimate way of addressing laws that lawmakers pass with perhaps too little input from the public, but also risk populist Eyman-like action without thorough understanding of the consequences ala I-695 (later declared unconstitutional.)

    Comment by MAS — 4:13 pm August 22, 2008 #

  6. It should be fairly easy to understand. Tax,fee,whatever. The city,county and state create new taxes(fees) to support their irresponsible spending (can you say “toilets?”) habits, but do so in the name of being “Green”. I believe in personal responsibility and believe I am but this is getting out of control. And yes, it is getting less affordable to live in this city. Ask any retired person who worked a regular wage job.

    Comment by Rick — 4:25 pm August 22, 2008 #

  7. Oh, and BTW the most well known statement about taxation without representation in the soon-to-be United States was also about a tax placed on an item which one could easily avoid using – tea. The tea trade at the time was based on centuries old Chinese cultivation practice – so no ecological bases that time.

    I suppose I should sign this Tea Geek…

    MAS

    Comment by MAS — 4:41 pm August 22, 2008 #

  8. I sometimes wonder where all the opponents to this measure were when the city council was deciding this? It seems to me (purely subjective feeling) that when people in our city don’t like the outcome of things we always need to have a popular vote. I take care to decide who I vote for and then do my citizens duty to let them know how I feel about issues that are important to me. In this day and age of electronic communication it is so easy to send your council members your thoughts on issues. As the council vote approached it was well covered by media and supporters rallied in favor of this idea. Opponents can’t very well claim they didn’t know about it before it passed. It was my understanding (though I have not double checked this) that when public comment was asked for the people who came out in force against the measure were the industries now gathering the signatures that have been so thoroughly discussed here for a while. Where were the constituents who are now so opposed they feel a repeal vote is needed?

    Anyway, without rambling for three hours I just wanted to offer that my initial reaction to these signature gatherers was “Here we go again!” – when will Seattlites be able to actually let our lawmakers make a decision? That’s all I have to say ‘bout that…..

    Comment by mustwealwaysvote? — 4:55 pm August 22, 2008 #

  9. The Sierra Club is certainly qualified in attempts to mislead people, since they regularly spin facts to further their agenda. Why single out grocery stores, when book stores, pet stores, music stores, and the majority of retail stores, in general, use plastic bags? What about product packaging? Plastic is ubiquitous, and most of it will end up in a land fill “bag-fee” or not.

    Comment by FlyintheOintment — 5:41 pm August 22, 2008 #

  10. How many of those commenting on this thread actually live in Seattle?

    Comment by tpn — 6:10 pm August 22, 2008 #

  11. pretty sure most here live in West Seattle

    Comment by Diane — 6:47 pm August 22, 2008 #

  12. OMG! Allowing the commoners to have a say in government when it doesn’t represent them. Tax them without representation. Absurd! Audacious! Preposterous! The King has spoken and we must obey! We should journey out to find a land of the truly free. (Taken from an old history book we’ve apparently forgotten) You might remember what has been said about forgetting history……

    Comment by Rick — 8:03 pm August 22, 2008 #

  13. The “without representation” part on the other hand isn’t quite true. We elect folks to represent our interests in government, and they hopefully do that.

    Clearly they haven’t done their job in this regard given the level of debate on the matter.

    How many of those commenting on this thread actually live in Seattle?

    I do.

    Comment by OP — 9:15 pm August 22, 2008 #

  14. MAS: “Easily avoid” and “readily available AND smarter option” are two different things. The gas vs plastic bag analogy doesn’t jive. Not one viable and easily accessible option to gas currently exists. Re-usable bags are a no-brainer…easy as pie. Avoid the “tax” and avoid more waste in the landfill/litter on the streets.

    Comment by coffee geek — 9:37 pm August 22, 2008 #

  15. I can understand why people would be unhappy about a new tax, because the cost of living here is high and getting higher. And yes, I live here – that’s how I know.

    That being said, I’ve acquired a number of cloth grocery bags, which are pretty easy to come by, yet typically forget to take them to the store. I like the idea of the tax if it would remind people – like me – to bring their own bag.

    But I do wonder why they are only going after grocery store bags instead of all plastic bags – that’s a good question. How do stores feel about this? Most of them sell reusable bags now. I reuse grocery store bags as garbage bags at home, and believe even with the tax people will still buy garbage bags, so it also imposes the tax of now having to buy garbage bags, which are made of more environmentally damaging materials than recyclable plastic grocery bags.

    What made me decide to sign the petition was the idea that people didn’t get to vote about a new tax. I didn’t hear anything about the city council working on this issue until now. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t reported on, but I wasn’t aware of it, so I’m not surprised others weren’t either. I don’t watch TV news and don’t read mainstream newspapers, so maybe that’s why I didn’t know.

    However, on the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a particularly controversial topic. It struck a nerve with me, probably because I feel like I don’t have a say in government at all any more – my vote doesn’t count – seems like all decisions are out of our hands these days. Maybe the argument about not having a voice hit other people the same way – even if it’s just bags, when everything is out of control and someone offers you a way to regain some power, you take it. Just a theory.

    Comment by Sara — 9:48 pm August 22, 2008 #

  16. To tpn’s question and Diane’s reply – yes, I recognize most of those here as WSB regulars (on a variety of topics), and if you’re not in WS, there’s not much reason to hang out here …

    Comment by WSB — 9:59 pm August 22, 2008 #

  17. Taxation without Representation?

    Get to know your City Council.

    http://www.seattle.gov/council/

    Register to vote. Vote for someone to represent you. Send them emails, call them, write to them, stop them on the street to tell them your opinions. Show up when these things are being discussed. The schedules are on line.

    We simply can not vote on every little thing to run a city, or state or country. We vote for people to represent us. It is the nature of the world that the outcome is not going to represent every single individuals whims and fancy. But we do have representation, and if you don’t feel you do – run for office or take a more active role in who gets into office. OR DISMANTLE THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. But trying to piecemeal public policy through the voice of “the people” just can not work.

    Comment by ikahana — 10:59 pm August 22, 2008 #

  18. Which brings up one point of interest: How much the referendum vote will cost – which would depend on whether it would go on a previously scheduled ballot in the fall, or whether it would require a special election. The March ’07 special election on the viaduct cost about $1 million. According to this page on the city website
    http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/initiatives/ReferendumFAQ.htm
    it would be up to the council to decide when the referendum goes on the ballot.

    Comment by WSB — 12:07 am August 23, 2008 #

  19. Register to vote. Vote for someone to represent you. Send them emails, call them, write to them, stop them on the street to tell them your opinions. Show up when these things are being discussed. The schedules are on line.

    Seriously, an excellent thought. How-diddly-do-ever….that’s not always how things work out….

    Hence why WE THE PEOPLE should VOTE on TAXES upon us lest we endure another Boston Tea Party…or worse…

    Comment by OP — 12:13 am August 23, 2008 #

  20. it would be up to the council to decide when the referendum goes on the ballot.

    Now there’s a horrifying fact….

    Comment by OP — 12:14 am August 23, 2008 #

  21. …and a environmental detriment at worst.
    Still as yet unverifiable, scientifically speaking.
    Plastic grocery bags aren’t a “freedom”; they’re a convenience that has proven to be a nuisance at best …

    Nuisance? To whom exactly? To you and your conscience?

    Comment by OP — 12:35 am August 23, 2008 #

  22. In this day and age of electronic communication it is so easy to send your council members your thoughts on issues….

    And get back a form letter, like I did from Councilman, Dick Conlin…

    Where were the constituents who are now so opposed they feel a repeal vote is needed?

    I was there. Literally. Unfortunately we were ‘outclassed’ by nutjobs wearing plastic bag gowns, which only Blayne on ‘Project Runway’,and his bad taste in clothes could relate to. Being heard was outshouted by being obnoxious by the as of yet unheard of thanks to the required amount of sigs. (apparently) now bringing it to ballot….where it belongs.

    Comment by OP — 12:46 am August 23, 2008 #

  23. Once again I believe in responsibility but am bothered, no, actually pissed off when a minority of pc activists can influence and cause the imposition their agendas on and at public expense in the name of …whatever… Bag thing. OK, I know, a little off point but it’s like the conversation I had with the bike elitist. “I don’t care if gas is 15 bucks a gallon”. Well, you will. By the way, I don’t own a car so don’t shoot me. Yet

    Comment by Rick — 2:52 am August 23, 2008 #

  24. Gawd! I’m gettin’ really old and I don’t get it when people don’t understand the old axiom of “just follow the money”. That’s what it’s all about folks.It’s all about the dollah! Global warming is a HUGE industry. Especially since the ICE AGE!.

    Comment by Rick — 6:37 am August 23, 2008 #

  25. If plastic bags are so bad for the environment, they should be totally banned. Period. Of course, I felt the same way about tobacco and cigarettes in regards to our health, and that never happened. The state and federal governments just keep raising the taxes on them.

    I understand that Mayor Nickels will probably run for a third term in 2009. If you don’t like him, this will be your chance to be rid of him. But, as with most of our elected officials, we just keep voting them back into their jobs. Is that really the best thing to do? We talk about needing change, but too many of us don’t vote to help it happen.

    Comment by artsea — 9:18 am August 23, 2008 #

  26. Ban the frikkin’ bags and get over it! Now, let’s get our 5 million dollar toilets back !

    Comment by Rick — 9:28 am August 23, 2008 #

  27. OP: The less material that ends up in a landfill, the better. Plastic bags tend to photo-degrade rather than be eaten by microorganisms. But landfills pretty much mummify everything…including food scraps, etc. So I’m for reducing whatever is (or isn’t, in this case) ending up in a landfill. Plastic bags are a simple, unnecessary, and easy-to-replace luxury. And yes, thinking of countless plastic bags taking up space in a landfill is a nuisance to my conscience. Picking them out of the gutter, landscaping, and seeing them litter the highways is a nuisance too.

    I understand your arguments against the city. Is that your sole beef? Or do you just love plastic bags SO much you can’t live without them?

    Comment by coffee geek — 11:19 am August 23, 2008 #

  28. the landfill and littering issue on land is minor compared to the ocean landfill, which is bordering on catastrophic
    ~
    very eye opening article, and follow-up program was on Nightline couple days ago
    ~
    “There is a floating garbage dump about the size of Africa created by Pacific currents now carrying refuse from North America, Asia and the islands, concentrating it into a swirl of flotsam estimated to contain 3.5 million tons of junk, 80 percent of which is plastic.”
    ~
    even when the plastic breaks down, scientists are finding it in small particles in all of the earth’s oceans, which the fish take in, and works up the food chain to people; pretty scary stuff and needs more mainstream media coverage
    ~
    full article at
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=4528488&page=1

    Comment by Diane — 3:40 pm August 23, 2008 #

  29. Coffee Geek: So, what about a tax on coffee or tea? There are easily available substitutes like coffee or just plain water, and water doesn’t have the disadvantage of having to be imported (like both coffee and tea) from far enough away as to have a large environmental impact just getting delivered to your locale. If we are going to start taxing stuff based on impact, we need to start thinking about taxes on food, based on distance from the destination.

    Since I don’t want to carry the 15 or 20 reusable bags with me necessary to keep my grocery shopping trips to a sustainable minimum, I’ll get taxed, or I’ll choose to make more trips to the store per month and carry the convenient 2 or 3.

    The point is that you can’t decide what’s easy or convenient for me any more than I can tell you to drink water instead of coffee because it’s far better for the environment. We CAN on the other hand express these sentiments through taxation, which is what’s happening.

    Comment by MAS — 4:13 pm August 23, 2008 #

  30. Oops, that should read “easily available substitutes like just plain water”

    Comment by MAS — 4:14 pm August 23, 2008 #

  31. MAS: Plastic bags serve the same fxn as re-usable bags. H2O does not serve the same fxn as coffee or tea. You’re really stretching here… But I understand your point.

    Comment by coffee geek — 5:05 pm August 23, 2008 #

  32. People opposed recycling when the city first proposed making it part of the way we deal with garbage. They cried it’s too difficult to sort out recyclable from non recyclables. Yet time showed that we can recycle. And that it makes economic sense in addition to environmental sense.

    Trying to reduce unecessary waste is one of the goals of placing fees on pastic and paper bags. There is an alternative, bring your own bags. And when you get used to doing so, it’s easy to take them to any store you go to. Nobody needs to spent 20 cents for new bags. Just bring your own.
    Some of the bags I use are now 20 years old.

    The effort to overturn the city ordinance is funded by bag manufacturers who make money on waste. They paid to get the signatures. It was not a grassroots effort, it was not a voluntary effort, it was a corporate funded effort.

    The fee is not a tax. You never have to pay it if you just bring your own bags.

    The plastic industry is causing lots of roblems. The Pacific Gyre mentioned by someone above is real. The problem with plastic is that it doesn’t break down chemically but it does physically into small particles which wind up in our oceans.

    Toxic chemicals like pesticides and herbicides and medicines flushed down the drain adhere to these small plastic particles. Zooplankton ingest these particles. The toxic chemicals work their way up the food chain into tuna and other top predators which we eat. And the toxins accumulate in our bodies.

    So plastic bags are not as innoccous as they may seem. Somewhere we need to break the cycle of polluting our world. Understanding the connections is important.

    Sure it may be an inconvenience to get to learn to take your reusable bags with you when you go shopping but throway bags have a price. Are acres and acres of landfills or a polluted ocean worth the price of one time use bags?

    Other countries around the globe are adapting to reusable bags. We should also because it makes environmental sense. The plastic and paper bag industry make money off throwaway bags. They’ll spend a lot of money trying to convince you that the freedom to unnecessarily pollute is good for you. Decide for yourself, if waste makes sense. You pay in higher landfill costs which mean higher garbage bills and a more polluted world.

    Comment by Steve zemke — 5:45 pm August 23, 2008 #

  33. : The less material that ends up in a landfill, the better. Plastic bags tend to photo-degrade rather than be eaten by microorganisms. But landfills pretty much mummify everything…including food scraps, etc. So I’m for reducing whatever is (or isn’t, in this case) ending up in a landfill.

    And what studies show that placing a tax on bags will equate into less material ending up in landfills?

    So I’m for reducing whatever is (or isn’t, in this case) ending up in a landfill.

    Ditto. Me too. Now, explain how a tax achieves that end.

    I understand your arguments against the city. Is that your sole beef? Or do you just love plastic bags SO much you can’t live without them?

    My beef is with any CC decision to tax us without it being put to public vote. As for loving plastic bags, I either a.) use them to pick up my dog’s poop or b.) recycle them. No love here—especially when I forget to check for holes in the bottom of the bag when picking up poo…..ewwwwwwww! LOL

    Comment by OP — 6:31 pm August 23, 2008 #

  34. OP: Sometimes decisions must be made by the gov’t for the betterment of society/the world as a whole. Sometimes not everyone agrees, sometimes the gov’t is wrong. This is called PROGRESS, however. Think about this: 50 years ago, you would have been the progressive. The weirdo that recycles his bags and thinks interracial marriage is okay. The “studies” you desire are an impediment in this case, IMO. I’m just glad they’re DOING something. This bag “tax” will have zero affect on your wallet. Nobody’s forcing you to pay it! Like Steve Zemke said, look at who’s really fighting this: the bag industry…not citizens. I see the bag tax, and hopefully eventually bag/styrofoam BAN as a good thing. After this is done they can legalize pot and fix the viaduct. :)

    Comment by coffee geek — 10:48 am August 24, 2008 #

  35. So how exactly is it misleading to say that signing the Referendum will allow a public vote on this new fee/tax/whatever you would like to call it?

    There’s a reason they got those signatures so fast – paid gatherers notwithstanding – which is that a majority of Seattle residents (of which I am one) thought this was an obnoxious, picayune, punitive piece of feel-good legislation for the Mayor and City Council to waste their (and our) time on.

    The repeal will pass handily because a strong majority of voters know exactly what they’re signing and what they’ll be voting on. It’s just sour grapes for bag fee supporters to pretend otherwise.

    Comment by Bubbleator — 1:19 pm August 24, 2008 #

  36. CG:

    Sometimes decisions must be made by the gov’t for the betterment of society/the world as a whole.

    Sorry, we’re philosophical polar opposites. Citizens,not gov’t. should be the ones to best determine how to better their society; the gov’t should not be dictating what they think is in our best interest.

    The “studies” you desire are an impediment in this case, IMO.

    So we should just follow along like sheep because some public figure says it will? Come on, you don’t really believe that, do you?

    This bag “tax” will have zero affect on your wallet. I disagree, sort of. Let’s say that on average I get 8 bags worth of groceries every week. Let’s also say I have to double-bag them because I have heavy items. 16 x .20=$3.20 in bag fees. $3.20 x 4 weeks=$12.80. $12.80 x 52 weeks= $153 and change a year. Now that’s a couple of toys for my kid. Relatedly, you’re right; I probably won’t feel the pinch on my wallet because I am after all a rich Republican (a lil sarcasm there). My point, there are going to be a lot of lower-middle class families who don’t have the time to go through all the hoops necessary to get those re-usable bags from the city. Couple that with the people who just don’t give a hoot or who have more important things to worry about other than buying re-usable bags and they’ll feel the pinch. And when comes to buying a an extra bag or two that the City probably won’t cover, they’ll have to choose between buying a re-usable bag or bread or milk or whatever.

    Like Steve Zemke said, look at who’s really fighting this: the bag industry…not citizens.

    Hey, I’m a citizen and I’m against it. And so are a lot of other people who are against a backdoor tax like this.

    After this is done they can legalize pot and fix the viaduct. Surprisingly I’m for the legalization of pot, and for placing the same kind of sin tax on it that cigs and booze have. Hey, if we’re really going to screw the lower middle-class and poor with cig and booze taxes, the ones who tend to drink and smoke more than rich folks, let’s tax the rich kids who smoke dope and play PS3 all day.

    The only way the Viaduct will get done is Mother Nature unleashes another 6.8 quake….

    Comment by OP — 2:05 pm August 24, 2008 #

  37. OP: So, can I assume you oppose the Patriot Act? I don’t remember voting on that can of worms. In the case of the plastic bags, I happen to agree with the public figure that was elected. So no need to vote IMO. Buying a few re-usable bags for $20 maximum (I’m assuming 10 bags at $2 apiece, a conservative estimate) isn’t going to break ANYONE that can afford to live in this city, let alone “lower middle-class”. The choice between milk/bread and re-usable bags is fantasy. People who “don’t give a hoot” soon will if they do, in fact, feel a pinch (which is unlikely). But the more I think about this, the more I think a grocery bag BAN is for the best. Bring your own bags or leave with a wobbly armload. I agree with you 100% on the pot and viaduct fronts…but that’s a whole ‘nother thread.

    Comment by coffee geek — 3:24 pm August 24, 2008 #

  38. Coffee Geek: Actually the coffee/tea versus plastic bags are a good comparison. Reusable bags do NOT serve the same function as plastic since I don’t get them for less than a penny as a convenience when I go to the store. They both hold groceries, but then both water and coffee are beverages…

    If we are going to tax things that aren’t ecologically sound, we need to start taxing food that comes from far away like coffee, bananas, citrus etc. There are alternatives for all of these things, so we shouldn’t be bothered by having to pay extra to protect the environment, right?

    Comment by MAS — 9:38 am August 25, 2008 #

  39. OP: So, can I assume you oppose the Patriot Act? I don’t remember voting on that can of. That has ZERO to do with this.
    I happen to agree with the public figure that was elected. So no need to vote IMO. Well, duh.
    The choice between milk/bread and re-usable bags is fantasy. Says you.
    People who “don’t give a hoot” soon will if they do, in fact, feel a pinch (which is unlikely) Ah,see!? Forced environmentalism! Ain’t it grand! And says you.
    But the more I think about this, the more I think a grocery bag BAN is for the best. And you’ve yet to explain why, how or to provide any examples as to it is for the best.

    Comment by OP — 12:27 am August 28, 2008 #

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