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.


Between Marx and Lichtig running this City, trust me, it is no paradise. Together they have a brain… I know several employees at the City and trust, morale is so low they clean the floor these two walk on. Katie has created an atmosphere of the workers vs the management and that management knows who their boss is. Ask several that have left the City. Between Marx and Lictlig, a lot of good employees chose to either retire or move on leaving behind the like of Fario, Nance, Wallace, Codron, etc.


Both Marx and Lichtig need to be gone…


On this you are right SLOBIRD. It is time for Marx to go. Barasch is the only viable alternative.

It is time for Lichtig to go, and for the City to require that no city manager be paid more than three times the median income in San Luis Obispo. We need competent and honest management for our little town; not over paid management. We need management that has lived in San Luis Obispo for years, and understands the City and its Citizens; not the next roving social climber with a master’s degree in public administration from out of town.


This is pure crap. A gov’t employee was sitting in their cubicle with nothing to do. Worried that there wouldn’t be anything to review them on during their coming annual performance evaluation, they went to their bosses with the brain-dead idea of crafting a non-reusable plastic grocery bag ban.

Their bosses were elated with the idea because it was “green” and because losers like Marx, Ashbaugh and Aranguena supported it. Now the crafty gov’t employee and their bosses have all received raises (and likely bonuses on top of the raises) while the rest of us now buy plastic bags for the things that used to be handled by the free bags.

Oh yeah Aranguena, please don’t pop-off about something that happened here in 1990 when you yourself arrived in 2008 or 2009. Such comments make you look like an even bigger carpetbagger…

Kevin Rice

The problem with Mr. Aranguena is he neither supported or opposed it. He simply wasn’t there at any meeting. I attended the IWMA meeting last November, and the prior City Council meeting in September, and I opposed the misdeameanor (read: “jail”) penalty for handing out a bag.

The problem with Mr. Ashbaugh is he emphatically supported an even more “punitive” ordinance. He used that word in Council, stating he didn’t feel the 10-cent charge was “punitive enough” and wanted to charge 25-cents for a paper bag. That offended me at the time, and now.


Aranguena is a prime example of a carpetbagger. His loyalty is with the Democratic party and not the City of San Luis Obispo.

Ashbaugh doesn’t live in reality. His loyalty is also with the Democratic Central Committee and not the city.


I’m one of the lucky ones and have not had a problem switching to bags made out of tank tops – easy peasy (they’re washable), but my DH will continue to pay the ten cents per bag for groceries. Is the ten cents going to the store or to the county? I keep reading and don’t see the answer… WHO GETS THE MONEY???

Kevin Rice

The store gets the money. That’s why grocers supported the ordinance. Read the full ordinance on the IWMA web site:


I just hope someone or some organization will take on the responsibility to gather the facts on the impact of this ban. Is it known today, what the proliferation of plastic bags has – in measureable numbers? Then, one year from now – look at same measurement and see what changed.

Ted Slanders

This whole ordinance is over plastic bags not being used in SLO County stores, correct? Then why in the hell do the markets in question still have plastic bags in the produce section??!!

“Sorry sir, all we have are paper bags at 10 cents each for you to use to bag your groceries, but, you can still use the free plastic bags in the produce section, but don’t ask me why, okay?” Huh?



I was at the forum. Please remember John Ashbaugh wanted to make the charge for bags higher, at 25 cents each, according to candidate Kevin Rice – and Ashbaugh did not refute this – because Ashbaugh said it wasn’t “punitive enough” at ten cents!

Too bad more people did not a tend this forum but it will be aired on TV every day for the next two weeks or so.


This gestapoesque type of regulation should make everyone so angry they see red! There will still be trash out there that causes a problem, this is just another money maker for big brother. They are monitoring the stores to keep a check on the brown bag money and how many each store uses. The rule is that customers have to pay “at least” .10 per bag. That fee is based on the number of bags ordered by and used by the stores. Another stupid regulating agency that our tax dollars have to support; including overinflated pensions.


“My utility and public works people …” Last time I checked, public and utility works people received their paychecks from the City of San Luis Obispo (I think they are CITY employees). Hurry, put these people on Jan Marx’s payroll – oh yea, I forgot she doesn’t have one!!! Let’s see, what does Marx, Aranguena. and Ashbaugh all have in common, DEMOCRAT PARTY hardliners, let me control your life because you stupid people don;t know how and we can do it better for you then you can for yourselves!! Ashbaugh should not have been allowed to vote on this board as a member of the Sierra Club. co-founder of land conservztory, and radical enviromentist he was prejudice to this outcome. Another freeloader eating out of the government trough as a union teacher. How lucky can we get!


Not so SLOBIRD. Marx was abandoned by a large part of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party this year when she asked for its endorsement. A big part of the rank and file voted to endorse Steve Barasch instead, much as this upset the current local Party leadership. Many in the Democratic Party are also shocked at the way Marx has engineered the targeting of homeless people. Ashbaugh’s defense of the City’s actions against the homeless has undermined his support to a lesser extent, but his actions have made many question his commitment to giving boots to those who need boot straps to pull themselves up by.

The better Democratic candidate for Mayor is Steve Barasch, who actually cares about people while working to protect our environment and pocket books. That leaves you, SLOBIRD, with Don Hedrick. Opps. Reconsider, and vote for Steve Barasch even though he is a Democrat.


Was planning on voting for Steve Barasch because I am anti-incumbent. I am a firm believer that we are in the mess we are because of the long-term incumbent politicians who lose site of who they represent vs the power they want. Pork Barrel Queen, Lois Capps, is a perfect example. There is probably no democrat in Washington who is more devoted and has voted more for the party than Lois Capps and is therefore rewarded with all these grants (one of the biggest pork barrel users and knows how to sell her vote better than most). She promised to run two terms, took money big bucks for this promise and then broke her promise, kept the money, cheats on her taxes also, is pimping her daughter, who is married to the number two man in Obama’s communication machine, Bill Burton, to replace her as our next congresswoman. Lois Capps would never have elected on her own if it wasn’t for her husband passing nine months into his first term. This woman had/has no business experience and has been herded by the Democrat Party.


Mr Aranguuena, get your facts together before you speak. SLO is not leading anyone

on this. As someone who works part time in Pasadena, they have had this in place months

ago as well as many other cities. Don’t think I could vote for someone that can’t even get the most basic facts correct.


Oh SLOBIRD? It must be difficult to suffer such blind hatred for your Democratic Party neighbors; to the point that when you find out that your chosen Mayoral candidate is one of them, you have to make up for supporting one Democrat by damning another: Lois Capps (and her family). Lois Capps was chosen by Providence when her popular husband died a year after being elected to Congress. Mrs. Capps won in her own right the Congressional seat against a popular Republican Assemblyman, Tom Bordonaro, in a district that had elected Republicans for many decades. Lois Capps has worked hard to stay in touch with the people in her district. You may criticize Capps for hewing too close to the Party line, but: You do little to advance your own reasoning by suggesting that her daughter is being “pimped out” when Capps’ daughter, who is an intelligent committed individual in her own right, is actively advancing her own political beliefs.

Open your eyes to focus on the issues.


You got that right! The loyalties of Marx, Ashbaugh and Aranguena rest with the Democratic Central Committee — the local political machine and not with the City of San Luis Obispo. They all need to go.

Cicero is absolutely wrong if he believes that the DCC is actually supporting Marx’s opponent, Steve Barasch. Marx is still knee deep in the DCC.

Kevin Rice

Crusader, I don’t think you can refute that Mr. Barasch prevented Mayor Marx from getting the DCC endorsement. I believe it requires a two-thirds vote from the Committee, thus Mayor Marx failed to get support from at least one-third of the DCC, it appears. This poked a big hole in the Marx campaign, as she is not able to appear on the thousands of DCC slate pieces being dropped door to door this weekend.


OK I will concede what you mentioned, but I still maintain that if Marx is indeed re-elected, she’ll still be the DCC’s lapdog…

The Gimlet Eye

Marx said plastic bags create….greenhouse gases….?

Sounds like junk science.


Marx is a moron.