IWMA votes for San Luis Obispo County-wide Styrofoam ban

October 10, 2019


The San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) voted Wednesday to approve a countywide ban on Styrofoam. The ban is slated to go into effect in six months.

Currently, five of the seven cities in SLO County — Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo — have existing Styrofoam bans. Each of the ordinances prohibit restaurants and stores from providing food in Styrofoam containers.

The proposed county-wide ordinance mandates that businesses provide recyclable, biodegradable or compostable food containers. Likewise, the ordinance prohibits the sale of Styrofoam ice chests, marine buoys and packing peanuts.

The IWMA is a joint powers authority made up of a representative from each of the county’s seven cities, all five members of the SLO County Board of Supervisors, and one representative from the the county’s community services districts.

SLO County supervisors Debbie Arnold and John Peschong voted against the ban noting their concerns with the six-month jail sentence for violating the ordinance, the costs to small business owners, and the possibility that the IWMA does not have the legal authority to pass ordinances.

In regards to the six-month jail sentence for violating the ordinance, Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee said they would fine first-time violators and only penalize willful repeat violators with jail time.

Since 2008, the IWMA has passed eight ordinances, the legality of which is now being questioned. Many of those ordinances resulted in a steady income stream for favored local contractors.

The California Constitution grants only cities and counties power to pass ordinances —  not joint powers authorities such as SLO County’s IWMA.

The California Government Code specifies rules regarding city and county ordinances. Title 1 of the Government Code list the authorities of joint powers authorities, which does not include the ability to pass ordinances.

John Daly, an attorney who worked in the county counsel’s office for more than 30 years, said the IWMA is operating outside of its legal jurisdiction.

In response to Peschong’s concerns about the IWMA’s legal authority to pass ordinances, IWMA legal counsel Jeff Minnery said the agency has the legal authority to pass ordinances and enact criminal penalties for those who break them.


Clearly the IWMA does NOT have the authority to make ordinances. What’s concerning is that elected officials are voting on issues that affect cities other than their own jurisdiction. And those cities or county residents have no election remedy to shit-can those politicians from other cities. You would think that the IWMA being viewed as an enabler of the past abused crony contracts that they would lay low for awhile. Nope…they just get more audacious by thinking they can take shortcuts and abuse power they never had. This is how a fascist deep state organization works. They are really nothing more than an advisory board that can participate in pooled contracts with vendors.

I sort of thought Supervisor Arnold had her act together, but she has voted “AYE” on some of the past illegal IWMA ordinances or was just absent during those votes. It appears after years of being part of the problem she finally had an epiphany that she overstepped by being part of those 8 previously passed IWMA ordinances.


Gotta love the IWMA… so crooked just a few months ago, so sanctimonious today. See here the public agency for what it really is:



“Jeff Minnery said the agency has the legal authority to pass ordinances and enact criminal penalties for those who break them”

says who?….


If Jeff Minnery truly said this, he needs to head back to law school. CRIMINAL penalties? If I use my styrofoam cooler to ice down some Bud Light I’m going to face criminal charges? The John Dillinger of polystyrene. I think he meant to say civil penalties, and even that is very questionable.


As a Joint Power Authority, I believe the correct process would be for the IWMA to draft a model ordinance, which it would pass to its member jurisdictions (all the cities plus the county) and it would be up to each jurisdiction to individually pass it into law through their normal legislative process (or reject it through that process). That’s called representative government. What they are doing now is called authoritarianism.


“the correct process would be for the IWMA to draft a model ordinance, which it would pass to its member jurisdictions”

This is correct.

However they painted themselves into a corner. If they did the right thing now, they would have to admit all the past ordnance’s are not valid.


John Peschong and Debbie Arnold did the right thing. Why hasn’t the IWMA been disbanded? What do they do other than overstep their bounds and pay salaries? Many counties do not have this type of agency.


keep going California democrats and loose the state to the GOP….


“loose the state to the GOP…” Lol, not going to happen.


GOP? What GOP? They’ve been gone for some time now, replaced by The Party of Trump The Pervert and his Trumpster Dumpsters (those willing receptacles of his trash).


What about meat?…so now we will have to bring in a bag to bring our meat home from the store?…who’s stupid idea was this?….


Not to worry…


And to the rest of the naysayers! I don’t know the legalities involved but to bitch about the past misdeeds of the IWMA in this context is so out of touch with what this ordinance will do it exemplifies self induce ignorance and continued stupidity at it’s ugly ass best.

Styrofoam is non-biodegradable, which means it lasts almost forever. It is not recyclable so it can’t be reused. One of its components, styrene, is a carcinogen to us humans (back in 1986, a study by the EPA detected styrene in 100% of human tissue and breast milk samples).

I know, I know; just another left wing movement to further inconvenience our lives, right? So what!!! A little inconvenience now beats the hell out of the consequences future generations will have to suffer if we keep treating our planet like shit!


Wasn’t there a legal opinion last year that said the IWMA doesn’t have the authority to enact ordinances? What if this is ignored? Who will enforce it? Is IWMA starting its own police force to track down people who use styrofoam? How about styrofoam I already possess? Will there be a government buyback program for the now-banned styrofoam?

I have so many questions, including:

What the heck ever happened to the forensic audit that IWMA was supposedly having done to review the financial activities of the prior manager?

fat chance

This is great, the world is now officially saved……I was getting worried!!


To save something you first have to act. Whether it’s the first act or not doesn’t matter. Whether it’s just a small act or a large one doesn’t matter, it just takes someone(s) to act.

What you imply is not to act, not to do a damn thing, just to sit back and do nothing, which in my opinion is the act of a coward or someone who just doesn’t give a shit.

No, the world is far from being “saved” as it, the world, will go on. The world has been around for a few billion years, with and without us, to think we have the power to “save” it is pure ignorant arrogance.

What we may have the chance to “save” is all the species of life that call this world home; but as days go by with those that would do nothing that chance gets smaller and smaller.


Where do we get these clowns? Must be nice to feel so empowered and not have to answer to anyone….