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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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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (2)

  • It’s heartening to see Californians stand up again a plastic bag that decays into nothing but crumbs after 90-120 days in the sun, while allowing politicians who defy federal immigration laws and welfare burdens to remain in office. Consider that while you pay ten cents a bag at the grocery store now – for a plastic or paper bag that was heretofore free as a courtesy. We would be better served thinking things all the way through, instead of listen to sky-is-falling hubris from those who believe they are our masters. If the enemies of plastic wanted to really make a difference, they would have banned ALL plastic items that last for decades and float around in the oceans instead of a silly bag. The ocean life and sea birds who try to eat soap bottles, cooking oil bottles, motor oil bottles, Gatorade bottles,, soda bottles etc. might appreciate that more than a overall meaningless gesture in the grand scheme of pollution. – that actually began costing you money forever.

  • Hi Mark H. Because Dana Point had an ordinance in place with no fee, we still will benefit with no fees on paper — but encourage consumer behavior to bring your own reusable bag. Also I share your sentiments on eliminating other sources of man-made plastics, bottle caps, straws, etc. We all need to work on that. One item that we found of considerable harm to our lakes, streams, rivers and oceans is microbeads in personal products — which there is now federal legislation that was passed and signed by the President to ban those! YAY!

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