Bagless in Seattle: The cancer spreads

In posts here, here, here and here, we followed the campaign to ban plastic bags in Seattle. The movement is spreading — like cancer. Los Angeles is moving forward with a ban on both paper and plastic bags.

The linked Los Angeles Times article notes that the vote occurred despite objections from workers at a plastic bag manufacturer who said their company would be devastated if bans are passed throughout the country. “I will be losing my job, losing my insurance. Please take that into consideration,” said Norma Fierro, an employee of plastic bag manufacturer Crown Poly, whose managers had warned that a city ban could prompt the layoff of between 20 and 130 employees.

I love the high level of discussion that Ms. Fierro’s plea elicited from the council. Councilman Paul Koretz said he expected that Crown Poly would need to eliminate only a small number of positions. And he compared the company to makers of horse-drawn carriages at the start of the 20th century.

“I’m the last one to allow for layoffs in L.A. city, and I fight them hard,” he said. “But I’ve never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, that we’ve got to keep that job.”

Let’s see. Can anyone handle the distinction between the disappearance of horse-drawn carriage manufacturing jobs with the killing of jobs in the plastic bag industry? Hint: The answer is implicit in the councilman’s assertion that he’s never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, “we’ve got to keep that job.” What you mean “we,” kemo sabe?

And then there’s this. Councilman Koretz et al. are not really vaulting Los Angeles forward into the future. They are legislating Los Angeles back to the era of the horse-drawn carriage.

When it comes to bags, I’m prochoice. Unfortunately, the Times doesn’t report any city council member staking out such an outré position, or even any witness making the case for it.

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