Plastic bags, meeting times and health

plasticbagThe Bishop City Council will give it another go on a plastic bag ban when they meet tonight.

Senate Bill 405 would prohibit grocery stores, large retailers, convenience stores and food marts from giving customers single-use plastic bags. The bill would also require stores to have reusable bags available for customers to buy.

The Council delivered a tie vote on this issue at the last meeting, but Councilman Keith Glidewell was not there. Mayor Jim Ellis and Councilman Dave Stottlemyre voted against support of the plastic bag ban. Councilwomen Laura Smith and Pat Gardner voted for it. The Mayor suggested they bring the issue back with a full Council.

And, if you have a preferred time for the Bishop City Council to meet, tonight’s meeting offers a public hearing on an ordinance to change the time of regular meetings. The Council may make a decision to change meeting times from 7pm to 1pm and Study Sessions from 4pm to 10am on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

Officials say the earlier meetings would save $12,000 in staff overtime annually. Council members also felt the earlier times would give citizens the chance to attend daytime meetings since they believe many are “unable to attend meetings in the evening.” This may be a reference to Bishop’s large retired community since working people would not likely be able to attend daytime meetings.

On what’s not likely to raise controversy, the City Council was expected to consider approval of a resolution to establish the City of Bishop as a “Healthy Eating Active Living City.” The agenda item says in the past five years the City has taken steps to provide employees with healthy programs and choices including an employee wellness program.

City Staff has also been an active member of Team Inyo, which is a group of health practitioners, school administrators and community leaders who focus on public health and promotion of healthy choices. The agenda says this resolution is “concrete affirmation that the City of Bishop recognizes the public health threats from obesity and will continue to be a leader in combating the negative effects of poor health choices.”

Other agenda items – a consulting agreement with Mammoth Lakes Housing, and the possible hiring of reserve police officers.


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35 Responses to Plastic bags, meeting times and health

  1. Mongo The Idiot January 26, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    I am sick of spewing my opinion on the internet.
    I wish I could stop.
    Here goes…one more time…… BLA, BLA, BLA…

    We have this same no bag deal at a town I frequent.
    It was real hard to get used to at first.
    Now it’s no big deal.
    It’s a baby step in the right direction.
    What really needs to happen is for manufacturers to use sustainable, biodegradable packaging.
    In a way we need to get back to the general store system where foods came in bulk barrels and reusable crates instead of blister packs.
    This measure is a baby step in the right direction.

    • Russ Monroe January 27, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      I disagree Mongo.
      The reason single use bags became the practice was; public health safety. San Francisco has already found that mandating re-usable bags does not control the cleanliness of those bags.
      One scenario: a person buys raw meat from a butcher counter, the blood leaks through the butcher paper onto the re-usable bag, the bag does not get washed properly before the next trip to the market, everything put in that bag becomes contaminated from the bacteria growing in the bag, when the person checks out of the store all of the contaminated products are rubbed all over the checkout stand making certain that everyone going through that store not only is exposed to whatever the contaminant is but also they take that contaminant home to family and the neighborhood. Allowing people to bring bags from home into the food distribution chain is a proven public health disaster. We proved that to ourselves one hundred years ago! Two Bishop city council people need education. Before they outlaw a proven, successful, public health safety law, an alternative needs to be in place first.
      Bio degradable bags are an idea, but so far none have been produced that don’t start to degrade as soon as they get wet, which means the bag can fall apart before the customer gets out the door, also not good.
      I think that plastic bags flying allover the county in the wind, is an issue that we should address. However; suspending effective public health law without making certain that the originating problems are covered is a stupid refusal to respect history, and will repeat the same ignorant mistakes of the past.
      Your opinions are important too Mongo, please don’t stop expressing them.

      • Mongo The Idiot January 27, 2014 at 9:40 am #

        I thought the reason for the bag ordinance was to reduce waste and landfill strain.
        I never thought about the meat issue because we have plastic bags at the meat counter in my town where reusable bags are mandated.
        I think the ordinance is a tiny baby step in the right direction, although It makes us appear responsible as stewards to the earth while we ruin entire regions with water exportation. This makes me feel like a hypocritical idiot.

      • Ken Warner January 27, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        Excellent response. All good points. Biodegradable bags that work would be real step to the better. If we can send people to live in space, why can’t we develop a biodegradable shopping bag.

      • Desert Tortoise January 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

        The potential of an outright ban on single use plastic bags is, to me, dismaying. I understand the problems of them contributing to litter and to the plastic contamination of the central Pacific. For me, commuting on a motorcycle all year unless the weather is truly miserable, having to carry around cloth bags that simply never fit any kind of motorcycle luggage is a real pain in the keister. They also will compete for limited storage space with the usual stuff I take to work each day unless I want to leave the bags at home and forego stops at the market on the way home from work. The cleanliness of the bag is another consideration, and you know they won’t last that long if you use them constantly. I am emphatically against the idea. Educating people to dispose of bags properly, or maybe putting a half cent bounty on them so people will collect and recycle them as we now do bottles and cans, is a better idea.

        • Benett Kessler January 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

 – one of many websites. I doubt animals and marine life strangled by plastic bags have much sympathy for your pitiful angst.

          • Desert Tortoise January 28, 2014 at 8:36 am #

            My plastic bags all end up either in the landfill with trash or doggie doo in them, or recycled. They don’t end up stuck to barbed wire fences or polluting the Pacific.

            I have seen the degree of plastic pollution first hand, both in the Pacific but even worse in the Indian Ocean where I have spent considerable time on this British owned coral rock along with deployments aboard Navy ships. The amout of junk in the Indian Ocean might even be worse than that in the Pacific, though it gets no press in the west that I can see. Nonetheless, it gets old that responsible people are forced to add costs and suffer more inconvenience over the bad behavoir of a minority of slobs. So, Ms Kessler, do you support the honest people or think we should just suffer?

          • Benett Kessler January 28, 2014 at 9:47 am #

            Not sure what you mean.

          • Desert Tortoise January 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

            “Not sure what you mean.”

            I reckon the authors of this legislation don’t either. That is the problem. How much additional nonsense, inconveninece and disruption do honest people have to put up with because a minority of slobs have no consideration for their neighbors? How low will the lowest common denominator be?

          • Benett Kessler January 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

            Aren’t you a bit harsh on people for not wanting to boost the petroleum business with production of plastic bags and for not wanting to harm to wildlife? BK

      • Mongo The Idiot January 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

        “the blood leaks through the butcher paper”
        Your store should provide small plastic bags for meat at the butcher counter.
        I hope people see and use them to keep from contaminating the checkout counter.
        I didn’t know about it till a customer educated me.
        The stores need to educate people about this.

        • Russ Monroe January 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

          Thanx Mongo, but that is only part of the issue. The basic problem is introducing unnecessary contamination. The meat story was just one example.
          I’ll try another one:
          In a buffet restaurant, if you get a “clean ” plate each time you go back to the buffet, then you are generally subjected only to contamination introduced to the food by the staff and the location. If someone before you brings back a used plate to the buffet and they fill it up again, the act of touching the serving utensil to that used plate then transfers any contamination on that used plate into the buffet. In other words: clean plate each time equals minimal contamination. Dirty plate each time contaminates the buffet with every customer’s germs. Your chances of getting contaminated go up time the number of customers. The same is true in grocery store. If all of the customers only carry fresh food out in a new bag, again you are subjected to, only possible contamination from staff and the facility, but if customers can bring a contaminated bag into the store; everything that the person who touches the bag touches: boxes produce, meat, whatever, is able to be contaminated. Chances of disease transmission go up times the number of customers.
          Not only does the dirty bag put you more at risk but if that risk becomes an epidemic….. the Center for Disease Control can only trace the source back to the store, as of now, they could not possible trace the source back to which customers dirt bag the epidemic came from. This is a critical point in an epidemic.
          In food service this unidirectional flow of possible contamination is fundamental to basic sanitation. Dirty bags coming in the front door mean we all are at much higher risk and the minimal ability we have to back trace the origin epidemics is short circuited.
          Beside that Mongo, a plastic bag at the butcher counter is still a plastic bag is it not? So why does outlawing bags at the check out make any sense, if bags are handed out at the back of the store?

          • Benett Kessler January 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

            Life is dirty.

          • quack January 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

            Be sure to wipe down your keyboard with antibacterial soap between each keystroke. Germs. They’re everywhere, and they’re gonna gitcha.

    • Charles O. Jones January 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      I’ve had a similar experience to Mongo’s. A town I frequent also has a bag ordinance. At first everyone was up and arms and many complained loudly. Now most are used to it and it’s no big deal. Bottom line – it’s not about bags, people don’t like the thought of change.

  2. Trouble January 27, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Good job City Council. Theirs 20 plus people with no water for their wells and your stuck on the trash bag issue. Theirs over a hundred houses that have lost all their streams and ponds and your scratching yourself saying paper or plastic.

    • Mongo The Idiot January 27, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      I love it Trouble…
      “Scratching yourself saying paper or plastic”
      We have a water emergency.
      We have used all the surplus, dried up lakes, the aquifer, etc, all for lawns, trees, and shrubbery in the desert city of LA.
      There is a tipping point at which there will not be enough water to make the aqueduct effective.
      What then?
      Plastic bag recycling, or riots in the city?
      We’re practically there now.
      Human selfishness makes it possible.
      Its rampant.

      • Pedro January 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

        Bags from hemp paper could be part of solution.

        • Trouble January 29, 2014 at 8:10 am #

          Great suggestion Pedro, think our local council people have the guts to even suggest that idea?

  3. MJA January 27, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    I hope all of Mono Country bans them one day soon too. =

  4. CarbonFootPrint January 27, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Welcome to the regulation nation. Where instead of focusing on the scofflaws we punish everyone for the misdeeds of a few.

    • Benett Kessler January 27, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Yes. JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is a case in point. He is the overseer of repeated fraud and his board just gave him a $9.5 million raise after the company paid $20 billion in fines for misdeeds. Jail time?

      • Ken Warner January 27, 2014 at 11:16 am #

        If you are going to commit a crime — make it a big one….

      • CarbonFootPrint January 27, 2014 at 11:27 am #

        I agree Benett. Punish the litterbugs as well as the greedy crooks. .

      • enoughalready January 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

        As Bob Dylan once said ” Steal a little and they throw in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king”. Big banks may be too big to fail but the crooked CEOs and overseers are not that big. Tar & feathers and then jail.

        Another Dylan quote. “To live outside the law, you must be honest.”

        Let’s clean this place up!

  5. sugar magnolia January 27, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    I re-use the plastic bags when I clean the litter box and I line our bathroom trash cans with them too… that makes them NOT single use bags…in that case could I continue to get them from the store?

    • Desert Tortoise January 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Exactly. I guess I will henceforth have to buy plastic bags to line the bathroom trash can? Oh that makes so much sense. And how about how handy they are for picking up doggie doo? Buy sandwich bags or the special purpose dog poop bags? Where is the litter reduction or reduction in trash headed to the land fill?

      • Joe January 28, 2014 at 6:50 am #

        No DT, You won’t have to henceforth buy plastic bags because you claim to live outside Inyo County which means this City of BISHOP ordinance does not apply to you. Keep your trash down there. Thanks!

        • Benett Kessler January 28, 2014 at 9:48 am #

          The City Council is only considering a resolution in support of the Senate Bill that would ban plastic bags. They put it off again last night since Senators are making some changes in the bill.

        • Desert Tortoise January 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

          The state legislature is debating a statewide ban on “single use” (ha) plastic bags. I have already stopped shopping in LA proper due to their bag ban. They can kiss my grits. But statewide is just too much.

      • quack January 28, 2014 at 10:37 am #

        Life was completely impossible before plastic bags were created. Nothing of merit occurred before that time, and anything that was accomplished before plastic bags is interesting only as a nostalgic and ludicrous aspiration towards what life could be, once plastic bags were invented and humans could achieve their full potential at last.

  6. reuse January 27, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    the study that Mr Monroe might be using for his conclusion was discredited
    it is not a “proven health disaster”

  7. Ken Warner January 28, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water.

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch and the Pacific Trash Vortex, lies in a high-pressure area between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California. This area is in the middle of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

    • Mongo The Idiot January 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Thanks Ken…

  8. Mongo The Idiot January 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    My best reusable shopping bags are my backpack that I use at the corner store, and cardboard boxes for major shopping.
    Both are superior to the flimsy plastic bags we are using that don’t hold much.


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