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Denise Erkeneff, Surfrider Foundation South Orange County Chapter
Dana Point’s City Council voted in 2012 to enact a single-use plastic bag ban ordinance. We are well into four years of seeing less plastic on our streets, beaches and communities. But many of our neighbors inland and coastal did not pass those ordinances, and plastic bags don’t know city, waterway or ocean boundaries.
Now with the passage of Proposition 67, all Californians have voted once and for all to support the state law signed into effect over a year and a half ago by Gov. Jerry Brown, which upholds the statewide single-use plastic bag ban, eliminating this unnecessary and ubiquitous waste stream.
Pat yourselves on the back, Californians and all of Dana Point.
As a coastal city that relies on a robust tourism industry for over 50 percent of its yearly budget, (e.g. occupancy tax revenues), leaders such as Council members Schoeffel, Anderson and Bartlett (all former Mayors) moved this issue early on, with full support from environmental nonprofits—primarily the Surfrider South OC Chapter—our five-star resorts, restaurants, retailers and businesses (none of whom can successfully market Dana Point’s “clean and pristine” and “sustainable” virtues—markers for the large corporate and convention travel industry—without whitewashing!)
Those same city leaders did not bend to constant extreme political attack to reverse our bag ban, despite cries of “personal freedoms” or “job losses” among other counter-intuitive reasons that defy policy economics.
Out-of-state bag and big plastic donors also mounted a David vs. Goliath money campaign statewide to back up their Prop. 65 initiative to undo eight years of work getting this done in California. Also, Big Plastic contributed very liberally to our local and state elections, directing pressure on current Dana Point and other Orange County city councils like Huntington Beach over the last few years to unhinge ordinances. Doing so in Dana Point would have unwound resort and business support, environmental advocates and resident support. Moreover, it would have placed an unnecessary financial burden on those businesses, increased trash in our communities and set consumer behavior backwards, and perhaps like in Huntington Beach, resulted in lawsuits against the city.
Kudos Dana Point for staying the course and not being fooled by out-of-state or out-of-country interests trying to sully our beaches, oceans, streets and parks with pollution. Now our city can now use those funds for other budget areas that need attention.
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