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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

LA City Council’s Plastic Bag Charade

RETHINKING LA - Faced with a choice between leading and following, LA’s City Council took another look at the proposed ordinance banning single use bags and chose to step aside, taking on the role of spectator as the issue gets studied again and again and again.

LA’s history of grappling with the issue of single use bags goes back years, an embarrassing legacy of skilled sidestepping and risk-aversion that has frustrated community members who attend meeting after meeting in the hopes that the City Council will move forward.

This past week, the issue came up in three different meetings, first in City Council where a full-house crowd was given a full 60 seconds per speaker to make their case.

Heal the Bay’s Mark Gold called out the City Council for failing to act on its prior commitments.

Friends of the LA River spoke of the immense burden on the river’s ecosystem and the incredible amount of volunteerism that is squandered in an uphill battle against plastic bag pollution.

Balancing the pro with a bit of con, employees of one of LA’s plastic bag manufacturers turned out to plead for their jobs, begging the question, what kind of industry is LA attracting and supporting?

There was tension in the air as Councilwoman Jan Perry took pains to remind the City Council and the audience that the proposed single use bag ordinance was on the agenda in her Energy & Environment Committee, a point that she drove home pointedly.

The turf war over single use bags continued this past Friday, first in Committee as Perry presided over a body that acquiesced to her contention “We have questions that haven’t been answered.”

Perry wanted to know how this ban would impact low-income families, senior citizens, people without access to reusable bags. Has the CAO weighed in on any potential costs? What are the chances of a lawsuit against the City of LA? What about any CEQA requirements? Has the City of LA done an EIR?

Perry’s final blow was to ask if there was an outreach plan for the proposed ban, as if the City of LA has a rigorous standard for connecting with the community on the issues that impact the quality of life in our communities.

All this was done with a straight face and the Energy & Environment Committee allowed the proposed ban to hobble downstairs to City Council Chambers where the real charade took place.

Councilman Zine stood to challenge the proposed ban, feigning confusion between a plastic bag with handles and a plastic bag for fruit. “I just don’t get it, they’re all plastic,’ he sputtered, “how do I shop for fruit if you ban plastic?”

Zine’s Sophistry was balanced by Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s dismissal of the fictional issues and his call to action. “The City Council acted on this issue before I was elected. Since then the City Council has acted to ban plastic bags and here we are again.” Rosendahl declared “I'm tired of constantly studying this to death. It's a no-brainer that those plastic bags are toxic and cause issues to our ecosystem."

But, the die was cast, the public had been teased and three meetings had taken place, allowing Councilmembers to posture and primp and clamor for the high road, all as they allow the ordinance banning single use bags to get away, again.

Many of the single use bag ban supporters were hoping that a ban in Los Angeles would resonate, stirring support for a statewide ban, while others held out hope for a statewide ban, allowing LA to follow rather than lead.

As it turns out, neither scenario is likely at this point and it is surrounding cities such as Long Beach and Santa Monica that are following the lead of LA County with bans that rely on existing EIR work and standards that have survived legal challenges.

The ban is supported by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, 18 Neighborhood Councils and the California Grocers Association. LA’s Board of Public Works unanimously approved a report urging the Mayor and City Council to adopt a citywide ban on single-use carryout bags.

Zine’s cloud of confusion was disingenuous at best, easily addressed by a glance at the ordinance itself and existing clarification that allows for bags to hold produce and meats while requiring free reusable bags for low-income and elderly.

As the proposed ban sinks back into committee wasteland, perhaps the place to start would be a ban on single use bags in City Council chambers.

After the Councilmembers had taken turns waxing eloquent on the evils of everything from single use bags that clog our waterways to plastic manufacturing beads that litter our landscape, their actions began to speak louder than their words.

As the noontime hour approached, a city staffer delivered lunch to his boss as he sat in Council Chambers. It arrived in a single use plastic bag that held a single use Styrofoam container full of food that was eaten with single use plasticware, washed down by a beverage that arrived in a single use container.

It’s been seven years since the City of LA initiated the charade that now consumes the time and energy of the community while allowing the City Council to avoid producing real results.

This is a vivid reminder that the people of LA must pay attention to what the City Council does, not what they say!

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net .)
–cw

Tags: City Council, Los Angeles, LA City Council, plastic bags, one-use plastic bags, plastic bag ban, Dennis Zine, Jan Perry, Bill Rosendahl, Stephen Box, Mark Gold, Heal the Bay







CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 101
Pub: Dec 20, 2011

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