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Update: L.A. City Council Approves Plastic Bags Ban, 10-Cent Fee for Paper Bags

Los Angeles becomes the largest city in the country to approve a ban on plastic bags.

A standing-room-only crowd packed City Hall on Wednesday as the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to approve a ban on plastic bags and impose a 10-cent charge on paper bags at convenience stores and supermarkets in the nation's second-largest city.

With the council's action, Los Angeles and its 3.8 million residents became the largest city in the United States to formally endorse a sweeping ban on single-use plastic shopping bags.

"Today, the Los Angeles City Council took a prudent step to protect our environment and bolster our economy,” said Kirsten James, director of water quality for the Santa Monica-based nonprofit group Heal the Bay. “The vote further emphasizes the fact that the days are numbered for single-use bags in California.”

Nearly 50 other municipalities in California have adopted ordinances in the state banning single-use plastic bags and most also ban or impose fees for paper bags. Other municipalities in California that have passed single-use plastic bag bans include San Francisco, , , , , Long Beach and Carpinteria. Environmentalists hope the move by the Los Angeles City Council will provide momentum for a statewide ban.

“I'm deliriously excited about the passage of this measure. Ever since I first heard about the floating plastic island in the Pacific, while I was still in the state legislature, I have been trying to move the ball forward on banning plastic bags in this state,” said CouncilmanPaul Koretz, a chief sponsor of the measure, in a statement.

It is estimated that 1.2 to 2.3 billion single-use plastic carryout bags and 400 million single-use paper bags are used annually in Los Angeles. A report by the Board of Public Works cited studies showing that single-use paper bags have greater greenhouse gas emissions through their production and use than a single-use plastic bag, prompting paper bags to also be targeted.

The city's Board of Public Works voted 4-0 in October to endorse a ban on both single-use plastic and paper bags and the City Council in December approved a self-imposed end of March deadline to approve a bag ban.

City Councilman Eric Garcetti co-introduced a motion Wednesday that imposed a 10-cent fee on paper bags instead of an outright ban. The council voted nearly unanimously to endorse the substitute motion that calls for a six-month grace period for large retailers to phase-out single-use plastic bags before their banishment, with a one-year grace period for smaller retailers. All retailers would be required to charge 10 cents for a paper bag as an incentive for shoppers to bring reusable bags to the market beginning one year after the program's enactment.

City Councilman Bernard Parks cast the lone vote against the motion.

The council's action Wednesday will initiate an environmental impact review on the bag ban that should take about four months to complete and will be followed by the crafting of an ordinance that likely will be approved before the end of the year, officials said.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has advocated for the elimination of plastic bags in Los Angeles. He praised the vote in a statement released Wednesday.

"Today, City Council approved a motion that will move us one step closer to making Los Angeles a greener, cleaner, more sustainable city," Villaraigosa said in a statment. "The little things matter—removing plastic bags that clutter our streets and damage our waterways will go a long way towards protecting Angelenos and Los Angeles wildlife for generations."

The City Council and the Board of Public Works previously heard lengthy testimony on the pros and cons of a bag ban and City Council President Herb Wesson on Wednesday limited comments to 15 minutes for each side with one minute per speaker.

Supporters of the ban brought a little star power with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a Los Angeles resident and board member of the nonprofit group Heal the Bay, and actress Amy Smart, a Los Angeles native, urging the council to support the ban.

Dreyfus, best known for playing Elaine on the hit television comedy "Seinfeld," told the council that 90 percent of customers in Calabasas, which approved a plastic bag ban in 2011, bring their own bags to shop.

"Does L.A. really want to lose to Calabasas and Oklahoma City in the same week?" Dreyfus said in reference to the Los Angeles Lakers being bounced out of the playoffs Monday by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The winsome Smart said she has participated in Heal the Bay beach cleanups for 18 years and concluded her brief remarks by simply stating, "It's time to ban plastic bags."

Opponents of the motion included Donna Dempsey of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, who said 30,000 American families depend on jobs in the plastic bag industry. Dempsey said the council was relying on inaccurate information regarding the impact of plastic pollution and said the Bureau of Sanitation's information was "junk science."

"Basically, the dough is uncooked and you are feeding it to your constituents," Dempsey said.

Cathy Browne, general manager of plastic bag maker Crown Poly in Huntington Park, said the council shouldn't be mandating consumer behavior and should let the market dictate consumer choice.

Other opponents raised concerns about bacteria and viruses from re-usable bags creating public health hazards, while several Crown Poly workers said approving a bag ban would cost them their jobs.

A plastic bag ban has been simmering at City Hall since 2004, when a task force was created to fight the amount of single-use plastic bags in the city's waterways. In 2008, the City Council adopted a policy statement with the goal of banning plastic carryout bags by January 2010. The move to ban single-use plastic bags stalled as the city hoped the state Legislature would approve a state-wide ban, but picked up steam again last fall.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November 2010 approved a plastic bag ban in unincorporated areas that went into effect July 1, 2011, at large stores and on Jan. 1, 2012, at smaller retailers. A lawsuit claimed the 10-cent fee on paper bags imposed by the county was an illegal tax under Proposition 26, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant in March rejected the argument in a tentative ruling.

(Editor's Note: Updated at 5:05 p.m. to add more details, comments and reaction.)

Nimby pimp May 30, 2012 at 08:57 PM
@Alex White. No wonder the woman from El Salvador cursed you. "Ay Caramba." "Curumba" is slang for "herpes sore."
klesb May 30, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Alex, your comment " Without punitive measures, people are uncooperative." is a bit "soft". Without punitive measures, criminals are undeterred. Ms El Salvadoran is unlikely to be here legally. If, with impunity, she disrespects our border, and disrespects our sovereignty, how could we realistically expect this likely criminal alien to respect our less-critical laws? By definition, laws do not deter criminals. They do serve as codes of conduct for the law-abiding among us, but not for the criminal class. And, those here illegally, are, by definition again, part of that criminal group. And, yes, criminals do sometimes pat dogs on the head - everything they do is not necessarily agaainst the law - but they have already proven to the rest of us who they really are. So why do we tolerate their presence here? The littering problem would drop severely if they were required to return to their real homes.
Nimby pimp May 30, 2012 at 09:48 PM
@ Señorita Zilla. Someone's got to be true to the great American ash heap. Might as well be you, despite the fact of course that you are here. Soupy Sales, (bless his uh, soul) was from North Carolina and Bill Laimbeer from Palos Verdes High. As for kissy-kissy Isiah, that phony has already buried what was left of his reputation with his great performance as a New York Knick executive. What a tool. But Bob Seger and "Hollywood Nights," that's class, baby.
Alex White May 31, 2012 at 06:04 PM
@Zilla. Keeping on topic-- plastic or paper for the Stroh's? Ah, Ripple, make a wino faster than Mad Dog 20-20. Cleveland's Rock -n- Roll Museum-- is that culture? As a kid, Italian men had their social clubs, except the scary men in front didn't look too social. Know what I mean? They also claim the only river to catch fire-- the Mighty Cuyahoga. Swam in that lovely cess-pool-- shiny-green-red by Rockefeller's Standard Oil. Still better quality than Lake Michigan or water near Venice Pier. Tumor laden fish de jour-- likely chemicals leeching from plastic bags, among other things. People don't seem to get what you put into the ground, down the drain, and into the storm drains eventually winds up in the ocean. A bike ride down Ballona Creek Channel will confirm our worst fears. Paper ain't all that bad. Unfortunately, LA politics is-- across the board. As for snake handling religions-- my dearly departed mother's favorite pastime-- all that venonous "hee-haw" made a devout Fundamental Baptist outta me. Cottonmouths and Rattlers scared the bejesus outta me, not into me. Most Baptists ever did to me was to demand I repent, and "lay hands" up on me-- and not in a bad way as some men of cloth are prone to do. Of course, I matured a bit, saw the $$$ in Methodism, and converted-- almost as profitable as the Masons or the Mormons. Then I joined a union-- even more profitable. Well, as they say, money is God. But that's a whole different post and unrelated to plastic bags, or is it?
Alex White May 31, 2012 at 06:20 PM
@Nimby Pimp... lol. Hey, they just taught us to get their felony, gang-bang'n butts outta the stolen vehicle and onto the pavement-- and to order a carnitas burrito with a Hollenbeck Discount. Lingustic nuances were not covered-- well, maybe a little bit. It's always nice to know when one is being called a "pinche pendejo," etc, by a "tatted-up" OG on parole. Anyway, enjoy your humor-- gives the discussion on the "evil of plastic bags" a whole new bent. Plus, I converted. Although I disagree with LACC's "order of business,"-- not to mention their salaries and perks-- I will use my own reusable bags from henceforth-- washable of course.
Alex White May 31, 2012 at 06:33 PM
@Zilla... down boy...down. "Can't we all just get along?" And become celebrity millionaires as well? "Plastic or paper?" At least we won't be hearing that anymore. "It was enough just to get in here and buy my food, now you want me to choose how you bag it?" I have an idea... just don't mix my soap with my meat, comprende? Can we start there! Nimby Pimp does have a point about Ted Nugent. And, I also think Motown was the pinnacle. And, I keep buying Dodges and getting disappointed. The paint job sucks, and all the plastic parts degrade and bust. I'm looking at either a Rickshaw or a good mule next go around.
Alex White May 31, 2012 at 08:00 PM
That is my point-- punitive measures can be a deterrent. It's actually 374.4 PC-- at least $250-- no more than $1,000-- 1st offense. Most people obey laws, or pay a price. I think a $1000 fine for littering is anything but "soft." Except, it's not enforced, or are many LAMC, PC, and VC codes for "entitled" individuals. Additionally, Special Order 40 prohibits LAPD officers from inquiring about immigration status. Their hands are effectively tied. L.A. is an established "Sanctuary City" by edict of the Mayor, City Council, Chief of Police, and numerous religious, legal, and social organizations. They've created an environment where people who have "immigrated" to America without "legal status" are welcome, safe, can make money, and take advantage of taxpayer subsidized social services. They will have children who are American and will most likely vote along "party" (read ethnic) lines. Why do we tolerate it if so many are opposed to it? Simple. Obviously, not everyone is opposed; and those that are do not have the political and legal clout to further a "United States" agenda. So, if litter piles up, public services are cut, and L.A. becomes an ugly, blighted 3rd World city, so be it. Vote them out? With the demographics of Southern California-- and the western states in general-- it is more likely "supporters" of illegal immigration will be voted into office. And, if predicted correctly, that will soon be the standard for all of "El Norte", formerly known as the United States.
Stephanie May 31, 2012 at 10:32 PM
@Alex White: Yes, but littering is still illegal, weather one is a citizen or not. Sadly, there are not enough officers around at the time of said littering to enforce those laws. That might stop some individuals from tossing trash around. Ever seen the movie, "Idiocracy"? Recently, I have even wondered about the value of voting. Why bother when some group is going to take what the people have decided and get a judge to say it doesn't matter? Or when we do pass bills and then the city council says certain groups don't have to follow those rules, like the zoning rules CIM is allowed to ignore? It's very disheartening.
catman June 01, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I've been saying for years that when fascists come to America they'll come disguised as liberals and Democrats. And I was right.
Robert H H June 01, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Welcome, paranoid wingnuts! What a strange place to express your irrational fears. Comparing a ban on plastic grocery bags to fascism (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.) is about as ludicrous and insulting as possible. Learn some real history, and then maybe you'll be able to put this in proper perspective. Or not....
catman June 01, 2012 at 02:12 AM
It's the slippery slope Robert. For a country that's supposed to be the "land of the free and the home of the brave" we sure do have a whole lot of rules and regulations being shoved down our throats. And they're all being written by the damned Democrats. I rest my case.
Robert H H June 01, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Um, it's a little more complicated than that, catman. There are 6 times more people in the world than there were 100 years ago. There are lots of bad regulations, sure, but how were we doing without regulation? Let's see, rivers were catching on fire, the air wasn't fit to breathe, car makers wouldn't install seatbelts, etc. etc. 7 billion people and our wasteful consumption are destroying the basic ecosystems which support our economy and allow us -- and the other species which are still hanging on, barely -- to survive. What's your answer? Libertarianism? No government except for "national defense"? Anarchism? Let the transnational corporations rule our lives without checks or balances? What...? Modern life is full of trade-offs. But most people in the world would laugh, or cry, at your specious accusation of "fascism".
klesb June 01, 2012 at 04:18 AM
ROBERT HH, of course we need some rules, especially when we live in "close quarters". However, the political solution of passing laws that are then not enforced, creates problems of its own. This because those we have been electing do not address that aspect of their job. Their solution too often is to try to pass additional laws that then place the burden of their failure of enforcement on the law-abiding members of the community. I do not litter. I do recycle. I believe in that part of our culture that protects our environment - "Don't spit in the soup. We've all got to eat." (the 2nd Texas President). I have no fear of being arrested and fined for misuse of plastic bags because I don't misuse them. However, I do not want my employees in government restricting my choices and increasing prices because they are not doing their jobs!
Alex White June 01, 2012 at 03:06 PM
@Stephanie...reread my comments. I stated litering is a crime. I cited penal codes, LA municipal codes, vehicle codes and health & safety codes? I never made a distinction between citizen vs any other status and crime. I never mentioned if the El Salvadorean was a citizen or not. I was prohibited by regulations from asking that. It was one story in a mostly satirical thread with Nimby Pimp-- then klesb added a comment, so I responded. What's your point? Secondly, pure hogwash about not enough officers being around and observing crime. They don't want to see it. Don't trust me, even if I was there personally and on-the-job. There's plenty of Coppers around, maybe not when you may need them-- but they're deployed. Ever see the response to an officer involved shooting. There's always a calvary just around the corner. Fact, LE sees all kinds of infractions and misdemeanors that they choose to avoid. And by law, they are allowed to. Oh, but they sure do use things like "you didn't use your right turn signal" to detain and develop probable cause whenever they want to, and without batting a hypocritical eye-- even though they seldom use turn signals themselves. It's taught at the academy and utilized on the street as a "pro-active" policing technigue. "Snoop -n- Poop." So why not engage in "pro-active" police across the board, for everyone, no matter what their status? If you start with the little things, the big things don't grow. It's known as the "Broken Windows" concept. Clear.
Alex White June 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
@Robert H H... I swam in that damn river as a teenager. Most people don't even realize an American river caught on fire-- the Mighty Cuyahoga River. Not only did many a foolish Kent youth puke in that river after a night of partying and pizza on Front Street, but many also took advantage of it's lovely cooling effect on sultry summer days-- from Cleveland to Akron, and all points between. Still waiting to see what the long-term effects might be.
Stephanie June 01, 2012 at 11:28 PM
@Alex White: You started your response to klesb with citing the penal codes, etc. and ended it citing the demographics of SoCal will most likely vote into office those who support illegal immigration. I was responding to klesb who was responding to your original post about the El Salvadorian woman who was littering. I guess my point was about littering not immigration. But hey, with all the cops around in abundance according to you, I'm surprised we have any problems at all!
Alex White June 02, 2012 at 04:18 PM
@Stephanie If you were responding to klesb, than why does your response start with "@Alex White?" Confused much? You obviously cannot read and you apparently cannot reason logically. And your snarky, childish response to my observation--(based in fact and witnessed personally by me while previously on duty and off duty-- duh!) that many police officers "Choose Not to Enforce Certain Crimes and Infractions" is a good indicator of your limited level of general comprehension. So FO. Go butt into someone else's life...no one was actually addressing your menial drivel.
Alex White June 04, 2012 at 03:05 PM
@Zilla... Truly a man appreciating the finer aspects of life-- with an elephant's memory. As such, I'll overlook your penchant for Nugency. Forgot about Strange Nuns. Perhaps, cruel ruler snaps across knuckles suppressed my desire for reminisce. Lake Erie was indeed a cesspool, but the Perch and Walleye, delicious. Catholic Fridays-- good for something. Friday fish frys at the Polish American Club on Glenwood Ave. were classic-- probably no longer indulged in. Sad how forward movement often robs of us of little treasures. Hard to get good fried fish these days. Even local British pubs have forgotten what a good fried Cod can do for a man's soul. As for decent "chips"-- as your so-called "Guinea Prick" friends at the Italian-American club on Furnace Street in the Cuyhoga Valley would say-- "Getta outta here. Figurati!" And they damn well meant it. They'd been in the "Bottoms" since the 1930's, and no non-Sicilian was getting into that joint-- if you know what I mean. "He's a friend of mine" was not good enough. He better be "a friend of ours." Now there's really "Unfriending" someone. Detroit Toughs-- mostly Guidos-- would ferry cars stolen in Detroit to Cleveland, where they would disappear, payment in Akron-- less heat, better pizza. I fear we may have pulled the elastic completely from this thread. Maybe, our esteemed City Council Buffoons will ban something else this week-- perhaps elastic-- and we can continue our plastic banter. It's been enlightening. Alzare il gomito.
Stephanie June 05, 2012 at 06:29 AM
@Alex White: Yes, I was responding to your comment as it related to klesb and his comment that's why it was to you, no confusion here. No one was arguing with you, but you couldn't help yourself. Your experience on or off duty as whatever you were has no bearing on MY experience as a citizen OBVIOUSLY(duh yourself). I never see cops in my neighborhood and when I do they are breaking the law, like speeding through a crosswalk with a pedestrian walking in it, parking in the red zone by the bank so they can get out and use the ATM, and peeling out and speeding down Hollywood Blvd after pulling someone over. The police also don't write tickets for littering, jaywalking and other petty crimes. It happens. If they are in such abundance, where were the police when Ms. El Salvador was litering and having a verbal confrontation with you? My observation of police not enforcing certain crimes has something to do with my level of comprehension? That makes no sense. And I can comment on whatever I want to, don't read it if you don't like me. Any comment made can be responded to so quit telling me or anyone else to butt out, it's a public forum. You're a bitter angry person and a bully. Behaving like you are does nothing to solve the issue at hand. Your personal comments mean nothing to me so stop wasting your time. It just shows how bad your life must be, probably because of something you did. So FO yourself bitter dude.
Alex White June 05, 2012 at 05:07 PM
@ S-duh-so-dense. Your "Straw Man" is on fire. Litter and Immigration are separate topics in the same response to someone other than you. You revised my context, so I qualified it. Nice try. Read for comprehension-- in totality. As for arguing? I never stated I was arguing with you, or thought I was for that matter. "Ignoratio elenchi"-- nice try. Read for comprehension as you have once again made obvious errors. Certainly you can have a stated opinion-- it's the 1st Amendment. Who declared you or anybody else couldn't? The "Thought Police?" And who could stop YOU anyway? "Non Sequitur"-- nice try. Additionally, your "ad hominem" attacks and illogical inferences are quite amusing! At least you didn't use the "Race Card" or a direct Nazi reference. Perhaps, that will be next. However, you did engage in "Reductio ad Hitlerum" with that second to last sentence. Nice try. The reality is a simple comprehension. I merely ask you read for comprehension before responding to me, otherwise kick sand. If you put as much effort into reading comprehension as you do spitting vitriol about what you don't understand when you read, you might just improve yourself intellectually. That's sound advice and not "bullying" by the way. Likewise, the on/off switch works for all parties. Unfortunately, I tire schooling you. As I stated to DetroitZillaNoJoke in another comment, this thread has surely had the elastic-- if not the plastic-- pulled from it. Good day, ma'am. Enjoy your discontent.
Stephanie June 05, 2012 at 05:44 PM
@Alex White: I was never trying to argue with you. So comprehend that. You tire of "schooling me? Whatever will I do? (Throws self on bed, kicks feet, cries, screams, "It's not fair!") Why you jumped down my throat I will never know. You started in on me and you could have left it alone. Telling me not to comment isn't bullying? Telling me to FO isn't bullying? Don't worry, you did teach me never to respond to you again. Next time, I won't feed the troll.
Stephanie June 06, 2012 at 03:40 AM
@DetroitZillaNoJoke: I was never trying to argue with Alex.
totallyKewel June 06, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Los Angeles is one of the most despised places in the country by Americans. It's viewed as a home for preverts, drug addicts, and people that don't take resposibility for their own actions. It's a place OJ can murder people and get away with it due to black racism against whites. The place can burn to the ground and they country would cheer. After reading the nonsense here, I can't say that I blame them.
Nimby pimp June 06, 2012 at 06:45 AM
You Orange County Housewives are such kidders!
Cerro Gordo June 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE!
JustinFied June 06, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Oh Cerro, you need to drive off the Santa Monica Pier. The truth hurts. America views California as Greece. It's only a matter of time before the irresponsible morons that live in this state "gets exactly what's coming to them". I hear it all of the time. And believe me, when California and LA fall into the crapper, the majority of this country will cheer loudly!
Cerro Gordo June 06, 2012 at 10:31 PM
So...you're not a fan of "Dr. Strangelove"?
Paul Kersey June 06, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Why does everyone seem to move TO elLay IF they don't like it?
klesb June 06, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Paul, what are your sources for L.A.'s growth? All I read is that people are emigrating out of CA to NV, Texas, etc. Now, that information is at the state level, and L.A. is a "sanctuary city", so maybe there could be a net population growth in the City. Any citations?
Lightnapper June 07, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Top 10 Politically Correct Reasons Everyone Moves to LA. 1. The weather 2. Good Margaritas. 3. Underground economy-- ya'll know what I mean, comprende? 4. Reefer Madness-- bringing a new high to cultural and botanical diversity 5. The Beach-- but not after a storm. Too much damn plastic, etc! 6. Liberal agendas and lifestyles-- and all that implies and is often "U-Tubed." 7. Women are hot 8. Men are hot. 9. The weather is hot. 10. They want to be discovered--

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