, Newburyport, MA


May 14, 2014

An ordinance we should bag

To the editor:

I feel the same way about our city councilors wasting time discussing a plastic bag ban ordinance as I do our U.S. congresspeople holding multiple hearings on steroid abuse in baseball. Do I think steroids should be banned in baseball — absolutely; I just don’t want my tax dollars and their time being focused on an issue that has little relevance in our country. Maybe Congress should be more concerned about partisanship, debt reduction, war, economic factors, employment — take your pick.

There are two issues that bother me about this proposed bag ban ordinance.

1. The role of our local government making decisions for our community without completing their full due diligence in research.

2. The time this has taken our city councilors away from issues that may actually matter to more than just a very small vocal minority of residents in Newburyport.

We should expect our own city councilors to show a modicum of respect for the majority people they represent, and not to impose gratuitous legislation because they “feel” it’s the right thing to do. One city councilor’s attitude is “let’s just pass the ordinance and then if the public doesn’t like it, ask for a ‘do-over.’”

Is this really the kind of thinking we want from our local government officials? We have a city of educated residents who have voices and our leaders should not take for granted the assumption of the minds of the majority of the people who live and vote here. After plastic bags, what is next — Poland Spring water bottles? After Poland Spring water bottles, what is next? Please tell me.

The four municipalities in Massachusetts that currently have adopted a bag ban ordinance are: Nantucket, Manchester by the Sea, Brookline and Great Barrington; with the exception of Brookline, they do not have a major food chain in their city/town/island limits. Could it be possible that the affluent do have more ecological insight over the rest of us? Or maybe they just can afford to pretend they do because it’s a good PR campaign.

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