Yesterday I blogged about how California residents feel about their legislature failing to pass a ban on plastic bags. Today, we'll let columnists from several California newspapers weigh in. One common theme: The American Chemistry Council won this battle with a strong lobbying effort. Patty Fisher of the San Jose Mercury News attributed the Senate's "no" vote to "the lobbying blitz of the American Chemistry Council." I think she's right on target when she says the debate will now shift to local communities. "Before long, there will be individual ordinances all over the state," she wrote in a column today, "The bag ban debate? There's only one way to make it go away." Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times wrote "It took an army of lobbyists to kill California's ban on plastic bags." ACC spent millions opposing the bill, he wrote, adding: "It would have made neighborhoods cleaner and waterways safer for wildlife, but Sacramento is often where good ideas go to die." John Bogert of the Torrance, Calif., Daily Breeze let legislators have it with both barrels. His column, "Plastic bag lobby shows politicians come cheap," draws a bright line between the contributions given to politicians by the ACC and its members, and the bag ban vote.
But what really bothers me isn't that elected officials appear to sell out. No, what gets me is how they aren't open for competitive bids. C'mon, $1,500? A politician will wag his little doggie tail for an amount a single concerned citizen could raise outside a post office with a tin can and a photo of a sweet otter smothered in a grocery bag? That's outrageous! The least they could do is open up for online bids so we can all have a chance at being heard. Fact is, I would have paid $1,500 for a vote in favor of a bill to stop this one tiny assault in a massive war on our own planet.