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Lawsuit Filed Over County's Plastic Bag Ban

A plastics manufacturer is contending that the law imposes an illegal tax on county businesses, according to the Fox and Hounds Daily website. The ban was enacted over the summer and applies to Altadena.

A plastics manufacturer is challenging Los Angeles County's recently enacted plastic bag ban on the grounds that it imposes a tax on businesses in violation of state law.

The Fox and Hounds Daily website reported that Hilex-Poly was in the process of filing the suit on Tuesday, and will challenge the law on the grounds that the state's Proposition 26 prevents a tax from being disguised as a fee.

The county's ban includes a 10 cent charge on brown paper bags, which the lawsuit contends results in revenue for the county. 

With plastic bags banned, and the charge on brown paper bags, the only way to avoid charges at major Altadena grocery stores is to carry away groceries with reusable bags.

The ban that went into affect on July 1 affects larger grocery stores like Super King, and the major grocery store chains like Ralphs.  In July of 2012, the ban will be expanded to affect smaller markets as well.

Related:

Altadenans Talk Bag Ban (Video)

How Will Local Merchants Deal With County Plastic Bag Ban?

Lisa Hastings October 06, 2011 at 03:28 AM
mister Altadena, you need to get out of Altadena once in a while, or read up on your history about the auto industry's resistance to pollution controls. Look up the name Ralph Nader. And,in the 60s and 70s you could not see the mountains and it hurt to breathe--the air pollution was bad.
mister altadena October 06, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Lisa - Do we vote for supervisors for all districts or just the one we're in? Likely the latter. Based on that, we can't vote out the other supers. If I'm incorrect that we don't vote for supers in the other districts, let me know. The 3 knuckleheads who voted for this ban don't speak for me as they are not part of our district. The supervisor who I voted for, Antonovich, voted against this ban; no need for me to vote him out. As far as this ban goes, it has been "let go"....but, as with many articles on here (i.e. MonteCedro), and the subsequent comments....stuff goes on and on and on.......
navigio October 06, 2011 at 03:59 AM
i think there are many things that are more expensive in the short term but less so in the long term. not surpisingly, many of these things are related to public policy. cheap and easy smog vs long term health. public pensions vs 401ks. properly funding education now to avoid paying much more later for prisons, law enforcement, lower tax base, etc.
navigio October 06, 2011 at 04:05 AM
there was a time when people knitted, crocheted or even weaved their own baskets. my mom used to make bags out of old clothes and drapes. i think jean's bags were even 'in' for a while. when people go to this extent to argue for keeping something that is nothing more than a way to make their lives only trivially easier, its time to start realizing some priorities are screwed up..
navigio October 06, 2011 at 04:13 AM
the air today compared to the 70's and even 80's is like night and day... literally! you could drive on the 210 and not see the mountains. that happens very, very rarely anymore. it used to be the norm in the summer. amount of time playing outside wasnt limited by how long the day was, rather it was how long you could still run around without your lungs being in severe pain. (no joke. and it is scary to remember how badly they hurt). auto emissions are part of it, paint emissions as well. there are some who claim that our pollution today is merely cleaner than in the past (ie you just cant see it anymore, but its still there). This is supposdly true in silicon valley. Anyway, i cant remember the last time my lungs hurt from exercising. I like that.
Joan Collazo October 06, 2011 at 04:29 AM
You do have a choice - If it is too inconvenient for you to bring one you have to pay for one from the store.
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 04:57 PM
The problem is that these are complicated issues that can not be resolved by three people voting to ban a particular technology. Plastic bags CAN be recycled into other products. To that extent thy are good. Paper bags can be recycled into other products and can be good. Canvas bags last a long time and this can be good (but thy need some serious redesign as they transfer loads in an odd fashion the way they are made now) Each of these choices CAN be good or CAN be tragic. This issue of packaging needs thoughtful society wide discussion and reform. It doesn't need a simplistic ban by people who frankly don't understand the complexities of all the issues involved.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 06, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I'm curious though, would anybody here opposing a ban feel any better if Altadena were incorporated and the Altadena City Council voted to ban plastic bags and charge for paper bags? It sounds like it is more the policy that is bothering people than the fact that 3 people at the BOS voted it in (though I certainly do appreciate and understand concerns over 5 supervisors presiding over the affairs of a county of 10 million people).
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Were Altadena incorporated, it would have to be incorporated as a California general law City, meaning it would have a five member city council and so three of them would still be voting....BUT YES, in addition to the three Dukette's controlling MILLIONS of people, the policy is flawed. But in Altadena we almost cxant discuss the flawed policy because the place where that gets discussed is in Los Angeles where even in our so called own district we are totally irrelevant electorially
Steve Gerow October 06, 2011 at 06:12 PM
I'd like to know 1) what the radical banners would see as the end game - what would be the list of packaging that would be banned after plastic bags. I'm sure there is such a list. And 2) following the banning of these packaging items, what is the plan for how buyers would transport potentially unsanitary foodstuffs such as meats, dairy products, etc.
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Steve- Obviously you dont know any of these radicals. they would have you not transport meat, because after all, they believe YOU like THEM should become a vegetarian....LOL
ed meyers October 06, 2011 at 09:36 PM
All, I've been selling disposable cups/plates/containers for almost 15 yrs (to some, these are the Devil's products). Here's what I believe: 1. the plastic products that have been banned (bags, foam cups) have been banned b/c activists see them as a major source of ocean pollution. Bags and foam products float; very easy to see. Anti plastic ppl go to legislators to get these products banned, thinking "out of site, out of mind". Meanwhile, other food service disposables are allowed to exist, including paper & many types of plastic cups. Paper cups eventually sink in H2O and very hard to recycle. 2. Bans are anti litter measures. The belief is that bans will lead to cleaning up oceans, freeways etc. There are PLENTY of other products that create litter (cigarette butts, paper cups, sandwich paper bags) ....you name it. Plastic bags float and get stuck in trees, foam cups float and that's why they get the bad rap. Paper cups will sink...outta site, outta mind. No one is pushing for paper cups to be banned. 3. There needs to be more value placed on collecting plastic bags/plastic foodservice items. Plastic containers (#1-7) can be recycled (including foam cups/containers & plastic bags). Paper cups are very hard to recycle. There are 40+ cities in CA that collect foam pkg curbside. Grocery stores have/had bins to collect bags. The stores I went to always had full bins of collected bags. There are post consumer outlets for collected foam. cont'd
ed meyers October 06, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Steve L is correct that most legislators have no idea what's going on. They see info from lobbyists on both sides. I'm here to tell you have I've seen post consumer products made from collected foam cups/trays/electronic foam pkg. Picture frames, crown molding, base boards for example. Bans (in general) are quick & easy b/c voters aren't needed. Plastic bans (specifically) make legislators look like champions of the environment. In the mean time, they don't think about the costs associated with replacing banned products (higher costs to restaurants, lost manufacturing job). Nor do they understand how easy it is to collect and recycle many types of plastic. It may be labor intensive for the trash hauler to handle, but it is currently taking place in some areas. I've always felt that if cities want to be considered progressive, demand that ALL plastics (not just popular items like clear plastic cups) be collected curbside. Then work with companies who need/want these items to make post consumer products. I don't consider bans progressive. Rather, quite the opposite. I'm sure many out there have an opposing view. I'll be happy to reply on here. If it becomes a hassle on here, I'll consider posting my email and we can go 'round n 'round there! Thanks!
ed meyers October 06, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Dan, It would only make me feel slightly better if a majority (or super majority) of residents would agree to ban a product in a general or special election. At least we could say "the people have spoken". I'd still be against a decision made by a simple majority on an empowered ACC. Perhaps a 2/3rds vote? As noted below, it would make me much happier if plastic bags & foam et.al could be collected curbside. Then, no ban would be needed. Current packaging bans are in place b/c consumers don't take personal responsibility for properly disposing of their trash. Littering laws are meaningless. We all pay the price for litterbugs. I'd also like to see litter fines increased and enforced. For me, it's not about keeping plastic bags for dog poop or lining bathroom trash cans. It's about legislators being easily swayed by emotion & not doing their due diligence on all the facts (on both sides). They take the easy way out.
navigio October 06, 2011 at 10:59 PM
should the fact that bans are anti-litter measures alone de-legitimize them? i also think its a misnomer to talk about this on a local, small-scale basis. according to stats i've seen, we use about 6 Billion plastic bags per year in la county. over a trillion worldwide every year (over a third of those in the US). Thats every year. their very nature (and probably by design) makes them throw-away. throw away consumption makes little sense as it is, throw-away consumption for such a minimal advantage even less so. in some european countries most of their beer (and some of their milk) is sold in refillable glass bottles. i often wondered whether it was less efficient because of the weight. as it turns out, if you refill it, even with the extra expense of transporting it, glass uses only about half the energy of a plastic or gable-top container in its lifetime. i also think the term 'recycling plastic' should be qualified. some plastic cannot be truly recycled (ie turned into the same thing). It can be used for other stuff, but thats just kicking the jug down the road.. nb, most packaging plastics are made from natural gas. anyway, im not sure people really care about logic on this one.. if feels more like an ideological discussion.
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Of course paper based containers go out into the environment also. The activists (and I shudder to write this) have not yet figured out that paper products laying in water or soil are very high in various acids and also contribute to algae bloom and other unhappy conditions. Most of the canvas/heavy duty plastic reusable bags can be used for a decade or more, but as I said, they are very poorly designed ergonomically. They also have weak straps that when they become undone are generally not repaired by people, and they can last if poorly made as little as four to six trips to the supermarket, actually making them a net environmental loss due to the methods needed to make them. Think about it: what would you charge to make a canvas bag? Why does it sell for less than what it would cost you to buy the canvas? Thats right....Guess what its made in a gawdawful sweat shop in Indonesia so we can pretend we've cleaned up the planet when in reality we are just shipping the environmental and social costs elsewhere......
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Navigio- whoever you really are.... We in California used to mandate beer, milk and soda be sold in re filled galss bottles. As a supposed environmental measure, we outlawed that because it used so much water to reuse all those bottles all the time and plastic bottles are lighter, making transportation fuel costs lower... Of course this was one of those Environmental laws that was passed through the efforts of special interest lobbiests....Plastic bottle manufacturers... But we have to understand there are no simple answers. There is no absolutely perfect man made thing that can go into the environment. When i was a kid and there were far fewer californians, we had places known as "Glass Bottle Beach" "Tin Can Beach" and canyons the same. We used to go dump specific trash at specific places....
Steve Lamb October 06, 2011 at 11:18 PM
So the attempt has to be: What does the least damage over time. This way of thinking is why my 17 mpg 1938 Buick is better for the environment than a brand new 2011 Prius. All the costs of manufacture to make my 1938 buick were long ago paid by the environment. The dirt and fuel costs of a Prius are HUGE and it wont get to break even with a ten MPG already existing car till the batteries need replaced, meaning it never really catches up...Its a dirty technology PRETENDING to be clean and we dont notice because yellow and brown people far far away are stuck with its dirtiest production pollution....yOU HAVE TO TAKE A Century long (or longer) viewpoint on manufacturing anything. WHATS THE 100 YEAR LIFE CYCLE pollution impact on this product? In that view a glass bottle makes a LOT more sense than a plastic one or a waxed paper one.
True Freedom October 06, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Here's a real analysis: http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/16-06/ff_heresies_09usedcars Using your HOOPTY as an example, and a driver logging 12k miles per year... your car will consume about 500 more gallons of gas per year more than the Prius. The number of BTU's to manufacture a Prius is equivalent to 1000 gallons of gas. In two years the Prius has buried your klunker. More importantly, the deleterious effects of pollution is highly dependent on concentration. Your hoopty is much more harmful to people when it's among millions of other cars in a congested metroplex as opposed to a rural area. You should scrap your hoopty and buy a Prius immediately before you kill us all.. you technology dilettante.
navigio October 06, 2011 at 11:58 PM
ah, the wonders of market forces. i guess the solution is to find something even more cheaply made and with an even shorter life span then.. i only very rarely buy canvas bags because they all suck so bad. when i find a sturdy one, i buy it and dont have a problem paying for the quality. most of them i've bought in europe. i've had some of those over 10 years.
navigio October 07, 2011 at 12:13 AM
Steve, i agree there are no simple answers. and i agree lobbyists often define our 'reality'. i do think we are partly to blame for that, as well as for our incessant focus on short term gain at the expense of virtually everything else. One of the things i find interesting about Europe, is they dont have the kind of options we do. They have much less space and fewer natural resources (ie they have to figure out how stuff works environmentally or they will literally destroy themselves). we probably could learn some things from them. they also dont like living in trash dumps the way we seem to, though thats a slightly different issue.. :-)
Steve Lamb October 07, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Uh no. A automobile takes as many gallons of petroleum to produce as a 15 mpg unit driven 12,000 miles a year for five years will consume. Does it have plastic seats? Foam? Bumpers? Whats the paint made of? Is there pollution associated with making all that aluminium? The batteries? all those nice specialized heavy metals? Any dust pollution associated with that? Again you are looking at a VERY SMALL piece of the picture. God save us all from geeks and hipsters saving the earth with thier filty Prius and other "green" machines
Steve Lamb October 07, 2011 at 02:10 PM
BUT! The 1938 Buick engine will need a rebuild soon. She has 230,000 miles on her since I re ringed her twenty five years ago. (was not even ten out!!) My buddy Gary detwieler just rebuilt his and bumped the compression from 6.5:1 to 8:1, put in an Isky cam with roller tappets, roller rockers, bigger valves, ported the head, put on a HEI distributor , headers and duals and electronic fuel injection on a 41 dual manifold. He did this of course because he is a speed freak who also loves a straight eight. AS AN ODD SIDE EFFECT, he is getting 24.3 mpg around town average, one week he got as high as 25. This is without the engine being broken in or changing from 4.66 rear end gears to 3,90's....He also says she sounds really thumpy and mean and he has a hard time keeping her speed down...(aw shucks) So I am thinking about making these and the 3,9 rear end gearing changes on the beastie, along with friction resistant coating on the piston skirts and heat reflective coating on the piston tops and combustion chambers and header tubes to maximize scavenging and heat flow. It should much more completely burn the fuel making each explosion more powerful and clean, Of course my engine rebuild will cost 3 times as much, but its probably the last time i will do that and I'll really pump up the mpg a lot. I may be able to get her near 30 mpg on the road......I know just going to the 3.90 rear end gears on a old low tech motor will get you over 22 on the road......Zoom Zoom. Hoopdie indeed.
True Freedom October 07, 2011 at 03:45 PM
environment killing aside.. the car sounds kind of cool
navigio October 07, 2011 at 07:54 PM
sounds cool. fuel injection even. i wonder how that impacted emissions. does anyone ever put a cat on these cars? i dont think the issue with old cars is so much the consumption (though in some cases it can be that) but the emissions. partly due to efficiency of the burn, partly due to the lack of after-burning particulate removal or 'processing'.
Steve Lamb October 07, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Navigio- I don't know of any Americans who have retrofitted cars with catalytic converters. I do know of some British cars where this has been done in Britain. The first problem is that you cant use a cat on a British car without getting rid of the SU carburetors. Thy have a variable venturi that depends on oil in a cylinder to raise and lower a piston through vacuum. A large amount of the oil gets into the engine (and I know this from owning Brit cars the valves are always coked with oil goo) and also into the cat and fills them up and kills them early, so thy always require Fuel Injection. The Brits I know who have done this have experienced a 20% loss in fuel economy, destroying most of the gains in gas mileage they got with injection. This is one reason European cars usually get much better gas mileage than American and California cars in particular. typically the loss is between 20-35%. (part of this is due to the weight of our required safety features also)
Steve Lamb October 07, 2011 at 08:48 PM
It gets back to the old Architectural rule :" Every change demands another, All things must be studied." A 38 Buick with higher compression, better more complete fuel burn (Hot multi spark and reflective surface) and the downflow tube rerouted to he intake with an EGR valve and fuel injection will burn MUCH MUCH MUCH cleaner than a stock one. So is there a logical pay off from a CAT burning 20% more fuel. Oddly enough, these questions keep me awake late at night thinking about them...
navigio October 08, 2011 at 02:52 AM
yeah, me too, though with much less technical knowledge.. :-) It seems like there should be a happy medium, especially with the growing popularity of older cars. as always, it probably comes down to cost..
navigio October 08, 2011 at 02:53 AM
know all about SUs.. had a TR7 in my less recent days..
Steve Lamb October 08, 2011 at 04:33 PM
N- yeah I had two TR7's, a Jag Mk9, a Jag 140 coupe (Miss that car) a TR2, two TR3a's and a Tr 3b. Over the years I spent a lot of time attempting to make SU's work right. webers or fuel injection are the answer to them.

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