Editorial: A deserved third strike for plastic bag ban

The San Clemente City Council made the right call May 7 when three council members voted, for the third time, against imposing a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Mayor Robert Baker, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Brown and Councilman Chris Hamm formed the majority in the 3-2 decision to reject a staff recommenation to begin work on crafting an ordinance that would have seen the city outlaw plastic bags.

“To me, an outright ban basically says to our community: You obviously do not understand the issue well enough to make a decision on your own, and, so, we, as community leaders, are simply going to remove that option from you,” Mr. Brown said during deliberation.

Decisions made at the local level are often the most important because they directly affect residents and can allow for greater interaction between citizens and their government.

We understand that, with the number of California cities imposing or considering plastic prohibition growing by the day, a ban on plastic bags may seem the politically popular thing to do. But, at a time when the California Legislature is considering a statewide ban, imposing a local version, of questionable benefits, in San Clemente, at an estimated cost of $15,000 just in staff time, was not the fiscally prudent move.

We expressed our concerns with the proposed ban in a May 6 editorial and are glad to see that three members of the San Clemente City Council did the right thing.