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Mailbag: A brand new bag for council

August 24, 2011

The plastic bag ban deliberations before the City Council on Aug. 15 represented much more than an environmental issue ("Plastic bag ban in works," Aug. 18). They demonstrated that being pro-business is not mutually exclusive with being pro-community. Developer-backed and business-oriented council members Devin Dwyer and Keith Bohr voted to address a community concern that is polluting our beaches and causing damage to our marine environment. It was not lost on either that the engine of our tourist trade, our coastal environs, needs some stewardship.

The meeting also demonstrated the abject lack of leadership on the part of council members who either failed to see the problem or were afraid to stick their necks out in order to deal with it. Ideology and partisanship, remarkably, seemed to have little to do with the dissent offered by Mayor Joe Carchio, Mayor Pro Tem Don Hansen and council member Matthew Harper. Just lack of political will.

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Those who have assailed both Dwyer and Bohr for their pro-development votes in the past may have to lower their brickbats a bit if a trend toward serving the community needs of our citizenry continues from both of them. Swing vote Bohr added to the solution process by insisting on a coordinated education and notice process for any ordinance developed.

Recognizing the problems of actual community constituencies, such as downtown neighbors, coastal environmentalists or mobile home residents, and being part of the effective solution process, is what real leadership is all about. Not just the wielding of political power.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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Reusable bags have dangers, too

Regarding Mona Shadia's article referring to our City Council's plan to outlaw the use of plastic bags at grocery stores ("Plastic bag ban in works," Aug. 18): Apparently no one has considered the unintended consequences of such an action. Having little kids pull your heartstrings is obviously a means to get this done, but you may well consider that plastic bags, when left out in the sun, will decompose within a short period of time, whereas the use of reusable bags, as numerous studies have found, can lead to infection and illness caused by the accumulation of bacteria in those bags. This is just another "granny-state" law that should have been scrapped when first proposed.

Hans Anter

Huntington Beach

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Police vote better now than later

Seems to me City Council members Joe Carchio, Connie Boardman, Keith Bohr and Joe Shaw demonstrated good business sense in accepting the compensation concessions now from the police employees instead of postponing these gains to some unknown point in time ("Council extends police contract," Aug. 4). In the business world, this practice acknowledges the time value of money, and in the world of proverbs, it is known as "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Good job!

Pat Goodman

Huntington Beach

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