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What’s the Harm?


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Regarding the Santa Barbara City Council’s desire to ban “recyclable” plastic bags and to impose a paper bag tax: Pursuant to the doctrine of equal protection and application of law, what recyclable bag distributor entities must be affected - grocery stores, fish markets, meat markets, vegetable markets, farmers markets, liquor stores, restaurants, bakeries, drug stores, department stores, apparel stores, hardware stores, dry cleaners, book stores, sporting good stores, etc.? They all must be, to avoid claims of discrimination, arbitrariness, and capriciousness; hence unconstitutionality.

Reusable bags, especially those used for vegetables, meats, and fish, become contaminated by high concentrations of infectious bacteria. Are they really cleanable? Or will they be another source of garbage?

What actual evidence exists that the city’s environs have been actually damaged by recyclable plastic or paper bags? An Environmental Impact Report as to the specific nature of the damage and a study as to economic and legal consequences is mandated. The proposed ordinance must be submitted for voter approval, especially considering the bag-tax provision and the possibility of litigation.

Political correctness notwithstanding, the Law of Unintended Consequences has not been repealed.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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