Daily Archive: May 23, 2012

May 23 2012

City of Los Angeles Bans Supermarket Plastic Bags

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The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban plastic bags from grocery markets in the City of Los Angeles

This is not a surprise that the City of Los Angeles has enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags. I mean, after all, Los Angeles has become the consummate “Nanny State.”

Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation Wednesday to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a major victory to clean-water advocates who sought to reduce the amount of trash clogging landfills, the region’s waterways and the ocean.

Egged on by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and an array of environmental groups, the City Council voted 13 to 1 to phase out plastic bags over the next 12 months at an estimated 7,500 stores. Councilman Bernard Parks cast the lone no vote.

“Let’s get the message to Sacramento that it’s time to go statewide,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who has focused on efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River.

Council members quietly backed away from a more controversial plan to also ban use of paper grocery bags, which was first proposed by appointees of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Wednesday’s vote kicks off a four-month environmental review of the bag ban, followed by passage of an ordinance putting it into effect. Larger stores would then have six months to phase out plastic bags and smaller markets a 12-month phase-out period. For paper bags, retailers would be required to charge 10 cents per bag starting one year after the plastic bag is enacted.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who pushed for the ban, said city officials would conduct a study in two years to determine whether the prohibition should be expanded to include paper. “My hope is that so few paper bags will be used as a result of this measure that the formal ban … on paper bags may not even be necessary,” he said.

The plan drew strong praise from environmental activists, who had long argued that L.A. needed to follow in the footsteps of San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach and dozens of other municipalities.

“Plastic harms our environment. It is a threat to the coastal economy. It is a danger to marine life and it is an unconscionable burden to taxpayers who have to foot the bill for cleanups year after year,” said attorney H. David Nahai, a former top executive at the Department of Water and Power.

Employees of plastic bag manufacturers, wearing T-shirts reading “Don’t Kill My Job,” pleaded unsuccessfully for council members to change course, saying they feared they would soon be unemployed. “My family depends on my job and my benefits, too,” said Alejandro Ortega, a 10-year employee of manufacturer Crown Poly.

So, Los Angeles says go to hell to the employees of the plastic bag manufacturers and all of those jobs will be relocated out of Califonria. But, who cares, it will save clean up costs (doubtful) and save the whales or whatever environmental causes the left-wing Hollyweird types fancy.

Will the radical environmentalists be able to enact a state-wide ban?

Perhaps.

But I will love to see the referendum fight after the left-wing Democratic Legislature votes for the ban and pissed off consumers line up to vote them and the ban down and out.

Here is a statement (from a press release) from the opponents of the plastic bag ban, the American Progressive Bag Alliance:

The Los Angeles City Council today voted to impose a draconian policy to ban plastic retail bags, a move that puts hundreds of Los Angeles area jobs at risk, without providing any benefit to the environment. The ordinance put in motion by the city council includes a ban on plastic retail bags and a ten cent tax on shoppers for the use of paper bags.

 

The following is a statement from Mark Daniels, Chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization representing the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, which employs 30,800 workers in 349 communities across the nation, 1,900 of whom are in California.

 

“By voting to ban plastic shopping bags, the City of Los Angeles put in motion a misguided and onerous policy that threatens the jobs of hundreds of Angelenos employed by the industry, and nearly 2,000 statewide, while pushing residents to less environmentally friendly reusable bags which are produced overseas and cannot be recycled. Los Angeles residents should be further concerned as this ordinance also calls for a regressive, hidden tax to be imposed without voter approval.
Singling out and banning one product does not reduce litter and with this bag ban, the city chose to take a simplistic approach that takes away consumer choice instead of pursuing meaningful  programs that encourage greater recycling of plastic bags and wraps, while preserving jobs.”

Good luck LA and your “Nanny State.”

I gave up on the City of Los Angeles decades ago.

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May 23 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 23, 2012

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Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, Carmel, California

Good Tuesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

President Obama and Republican Speaker Boehner are in California today hitting up donors for campaign cash.

President Barack Obama is back in California for the second time this month, scheduled for two campaign fundraisers this evening in the Bay Area.

First up, dinner in Atherton where tickets cost $38,500 a pop, then a reception at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, where tickets start at $250 and Ben Harper is scheduled to play. Obama won’t be venturing any farther east than that before Air Force One heads out on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker John Boehner will be in the Bay Area himself tonight at a fundraiser co-hosted by California Reps. Jeff Denham, Dan Lungren, Wally Herger and David Dreier. Tickets top out at $35,800 for the reception at Stacey and Tom Siebel’s Woodside home.

On to today’s California headlines:

Brown makes pitch to business leaders for tax hikes

Gov. Jerry Brown hopes that if he can convince business leaders to support his tax-hike initiative, otherwise skeptical voters might just go along with it.

But, he acknowledged Tuesday, it won’t be easy for business groups to go against their philosophy of resisting taxes, so he called on them to “think of something larger than just your small place, wherever you are” to help the state get out from underneath a $15.7 billion deficit.

“This is a bigger challenge than usual, but California is the biggest state and certainly the most creative and most dynamic,” he said in a 25-minute address to the state Chamber of Commerce’s 87th annual Host Breakfast. “But along with innovation, we have to have another virtue — and that’s called courage.”

Since he released his revised budget last week, the governor has been fending off criticism within the state and outside. Conservatives derided his budget, saying California is going the way of Greece, a nation forced to take drastic action to avoid default.

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown struggles on three fronts on state budget

As the state budget’s deficit widens, Gov. Jerry Brown is being thrust into a three-front political battle.

He must not only persuade voters to pass his sales and income tax package, but, implicitly, persuade them to reject a rival tax measure just for schools.

Meanwhile, Brown is pressing liberal Democratic legislators to ignore their political DNA by making deeper cuts in health and welfare programs, not only to close the deficit but to bolster appeals to voters for new taxes.

“It’s not easy,” Brown told hundreds of business and civic figures gathered Tuesday in Sacramento for the annual Host Breakfast.

“We’re getting there,” Brown continued. “We’re making the cuts. But we also need the revenues.”

Brown had been cultivating business groups to support his original tax plan, but they cooled when he shifted gears to satisfy rivals on the left, reducing the sales tax element and sharply boosting income taxes on high-income taxpayers, including many attendees at Tuesday’s event.

California Legislative Analyst OKs mortgage settlement cash shift

Part of California’s share of a national legal settlement with five big mortgage banks can be used to help fill a $15.7-billion hole in the governor’s proposed budget, the state Legislature’s non-partisan policy advisor recommended.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday reported that the $411 million should be used for a variety of general purposes in the current spending year and the one that begins July 1.

Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, who reached the settlement with other state chief law officers, wanted to use about one-tenth of the $411 million to defray her department’s legal costs and the balance on mortgage-related financial counseling and education.

The bulk of California’s share of the settlement money, $17.6 billion, is not being sought by Gov. Jerry Brown. The funds are earmarked to provide direct benefits to homeowners trying to lower payments on their mortgages. It also will cover damages for borrowers who were unfairly or illegally foreclosed upon during the recession of 2007-09 and its aftermath.

But Brown announced that he wants to use the $411 million to pay interest on housing bonds and to fund housing anti-discrimination programs.

In a report to lawmakers, the analyst’s office report stressed that grabbing the settlement money “makes sense given the state’s fiscal situation” because “the settlement provides damages that were awarded directly to the state that are not being held in trust for particular individuals.”

Howard Berman, Brad Sherman jockey over credit for 405 Freeway expansion

Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman – locked in a heated congressional race – tussled Tuesday over which politician is responsible for the recent expansion of the 405 Freeway.

Both politicians helped secure funds for the 405 widening near the Ventura (101) Freeway, but it’s unclear which did more of the heavy lifting to make the expansion a reality.

Berman appeared Tuesday at a press event overlooking the traffic-clogged 405 to argue he was responsible for securing $130 million in federal funds that kick-started the project.

“It was a great victory,” Berman said, looking down at the 405 from atop the Sherman Oaks Galleria. “(Valley residents) might not feel that victory now, but when this project is completed, they will see the wisdom.”

The highway widening, planned decades ago, has become an unexpected campaign issue between Berman and Sherman.

The two longtime incumbent Democrats are pitted against each other in the June 5 primary after the redistricting process put them both in the same 30th Congressional District. The race also includes Republican candidates Mark Reed and Susan Shelley. The top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters’ Daily video:Prop. 29 would raise over $700 million a year

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May 23 2012

Dilbert – May 23, 2012

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Why does the boss have to hedge…?

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May 23 2012

Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-05-23

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