(Ed. Note: This post is a press release by anti-bag ban advocates Save Our Choice. King County Elections disputed the number of signatures submitted on Oct. 2 and said "approximately" 567 additional signatures were submitted for review by the Sept. 28 deadline.)
Broadest-ever Issaquah petition drive submits excess of 4100 signatures demanding a public vote on shopping bag regulation
On Saturday September 28th Save Our Choice submitted a petition amendment to the City of Issaquah containing 662 signatures, amending 3687 signatures submitted on August 30th.
Of the 3687 signatures submitted on August 30th only 2197 were deemed valid, or 370 valid signatures short of a “sufficient” 2549 signatures (or 15% of Issaquah registered voters at time of the November 2011 municipal general election).
“At no time have so many signatures of Issaquah voters been collected. If declared sufficient the Save Our Choice petition will grant every Issaquah voter a citizens’ initiative ballot choice for the first time in city history,” stated Save Our Choice volunteer and co-founder Craig Keller.
On September 30th the City of Issaquah relayed SOC’s petition amendment to the King County Elections office in Renton for validation. King County Elections expects to complete validation by weekend.
“Since March 1st hundreds of wonderful citizens mailed in petitions, while a small band of freedom fighters collected signatures at storefronts and on doorsteps of every Issaquah neighborhood. “
“Save Our Choice has aggregated the voices of thousands of Issaquah shoppers who increasingly realize how they have been gyped and insulted.
- Gyped by the grocery stores like Fred Meyer and Safeway who colluded with “nanny” banners on Council to enact law that effectively skims more coins from shoppers’ pockets.
- Insulted by six feel-good “nanny” banners (Mullet, Butler, Marts, Goodman, Winterstein and gun-banning Mayor Frisinger) for our frugal reuse of ‘thin film’ plastic shopping bags.
“But most of all, Issaquah voters refuse to be muzzled by now-state senator Mark Mullet whose Senate Bill 5386 would jerk away their petitioning rights. Mullet thought he could slip his trickery past the voters just as he slipped it past his 5th District Housemates Magendanz and Rodne. Now his game is up,” revealed Keller.
Since the petition’s March 1st launch SOC volunteers may have easily spoken with as many as 20,000 Issaquah shoppers and merchants. We have learned:
- Shoppers are incensed that Council disrespected their frugal resuse of “thin film” plastic shopping bags.
- Shoppers are spending more dollars outside of Issaquah.
- Some shoppers (particularly those who have lived the life in Europe) feel smugly OK to impose their personal preference for dirty vinyl and cloth bags upon others via Council dictate.
- Store clerks report a shoplifting increase [when purchase of items is not confirmed via store bag]
- Shoppers constantly backtrack to their cars to retrieve their [unclean] vinyl/cloth bags, or forget them entirely to then be forced to pay for paper bags or to pack their car with loose items.
- Stores have not dispensed so many paper bags since decades ago when forest conservation and superior performance brought about the advent of thin film bags.
- Major grocery stores have attempted to “stop the bleeding” of customer loss by providing medium sized paper bags at no charge.
- Shoppers are sales taxed on 10¢ or more of bag charges. (Fred Meyer and Safeway charge sales tax. Front Street Market does not charge sales tax on “non-food” bags as required by law.)
- Safeway has halted its nickel rebate for customer-supplied bag. Fred Meyer and Target have retained this “reward” policy.
- Sales tax accrues to city and state, while the 5¢ bag charge is fully retained by stores. Many store clerks deflect customer wrath by misrepresenting their store’s retention of the forced charge.
- The bring-your-own-bag routine is slowing down checkout speed.
- Since some grocery stores assign cashier hours based upon efficiency, recent checkout congestion has introduced a workplace disadvantage for some clerks.
- The so-called “reuseable” bag is generally larger in volumn than a “thin flim” plastic bag. Clerks tend to pack too much into these larger volume sacks damaging fragile items.
- Public health and store clerk health has been jeopardized by the increased use of unclean “resusable” bags.
- Roadside and waterway litter effects of the Issaquah ban have been immaterial.
- Even supporters of bag regulation continue to use plastic garbage bags – now purchased rather than gratis. (In fact, some neighborhood associations continue to require confinement by plastic bags for prevention of blow-away garbage on collection day.)
- A reduction in plastic film to “landfill” is nonexistent or not measured.
“Lest we forget, Mullet’s law slams into Issaquah’s unique and treasured small shopkeepers (<7500 sq.ft.) come March 1st 2014. If our petition is deemed sufficient, and if the Council does not first reverse its own folly, then. in early 2014, Issaquah voters will directly abolish this train wreck to soundly rebuke junk science and Mullet’s sly deception in Olympia.” concluded Keller.