SLO council candidates weigh in on plastic bags

October 5, 2012

The League of Women voters asked candidates for San Luis Obispo mayor and city council in a forum Thursday whether they would move to repeal the new countywide plastic bag ban if appointed to the Integrated Waste Management Authority board.

None said they would do so.

Several candidates, however, criticized the IWMA’s ban on the distribution of plastic bags at grocery and large retail stores.

Council candidates Kevin Rice, as well as mayoral candidates Donald Hedrick and Steve Barasch, each said the ban was too punitive.

“I am very uncomfortable that the bag ordinance includes a clause which makes it a misdemeanor,” Rice said. “That’s jail time for a grocer to hand out a plastic sack to the old woman who’s been coming there for 20 years and doesn’t understand what happened on Monday.”

Hedrick agreed that people should not risk misdemeanor charges for distributing bags, but added that public officials should lead by example on ecological issues.

“I personally have picked so many bags out of the fence lines and the bushes that I won’t even hardly take a bag out of the market,” Hedrick said.

Barasch said that “people are scared” because grocery stores could face $1000 fines for plastic bag distribution.

Incumbent councilman Dan Carpenter agreed the ban was too punitive, saying that grocers should not be forced to charge 10 cents for paper bags

But, incumbent council members John Ashbaugh and Mayor Jan Marx, as well as council candidate Jeff Aranguena each said they support the IWMA ban as written.

Ashbaugh, the city’s representative on the IWMA board who voted in favor of the ban, said he would make no apologies for his vote.

Marx said plastic bags create litter and greenhouse gases and even contribute to flooding.

“My utility and public works people are really in favor of this ban because plastic bags especially contribute to flooding,” Marx said. “They end up in our storm drains and water can’t get through.”

Aranguena said the county bag further proved that San Luis Obispo is ahead of the times.

“I think this is what San luis Obispo does. We think ahead,” Aranguena said. “We did this in 1990 with the smoking ban. A lot of people complained at that time, and I think everyone can agree at this point right now smoking in the city is definitely a bad thing”

Candidates also fielded questions on topics ranging from the homeless to their personal voting records. All of the candidates said they had been longtime voters in San Luis Obispo except for Aranguena.

The forum will air repeatedly in the city of San Luis Obispo on Charter Cable Channel 20 until voters take to the polls on November 6.



  1. gypsycelt says:

    Why didn’t Jeff Aranguena attend most of the city council meetings? Oh, because he is John Ashbaugh’s hand picked running mate puppet. Aranguena, Ashbaugh, and Marx are part of the Democratic party machine running and ruining this city.

    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  2. hijinks says:

    “Barasch said that “people are scared” because grocery stores could face $1000 fines for plastic bag distribution.”

    What an as-. People are scared of what? Every grocery store knows the rules, so there’s no plastic bag distribution, the bags are gone from the stores, so what’s the issue? Nobody’s going to hand one out by mistake and get fined.

    Barash is a slime thrower. Check him out on the local landlord web pages — he has the honor of being the WORST landlord in town, and the writeups indicate what everyone who knows him knows — he’s a mean and unkind and arrogant Bimmer driver type person. He has nothing whatsoever constructive to offer SLO. He has brought one abusive development idea after another to the city. The only reason he’s running is because he’s mad they will not allow him to violate the law with his developments, so he wants to “change things” at city hall so his ilk can get what they want.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  3. rogerfreberg says:

    Obviously, the present city council has addressed all of the huge financial city problems… so we are left with “plastic bags” as the deciding point on who to vote?

    The plastic bag issue is a distraction from the states dire predicament… so now we have to go and buy plastic bags to use for our recyclables and trash? Oh yeah, the cloth bags have health issues… or did you not know that?

    I would agree… we need a change and I will vote for non-incumbents… but I am not confident that those left can make decisions.

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
    • Kevin Rice says:

      Mr. Freberg,

      If it helps you, one non-incumbent has attended and spoke at council meetings for years. I have effected changes to ordinances and policy, and have a perfect 10+ year voting record in the city. The other challenger has been to one council meeting for an hour, has never spoke, and didn’t vote in four of the last five elections.

      The important issue is budget. I wouldn’t have voted for the current city manager’s contract, nor many of the petty spending projects SLO has approved around the same time it has asked for concessions from employees. I also spoke against the two homeless ordinances which brought on litigation closing in on $1/2-mil. The same council just approved a third ordinance after being warned by the same attorney that it has Constitutional flaws. How about spending some of that on the homeless?

      (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down

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