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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2011 / 9 Kislev, 5772

Where Windbags Dare To Outlaw Plastic Bags

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On his official website, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi starts his list of accomplishments with this item: "Plastic Bag Ban: First-in-the-Nation ban on plastic bags in chain grocery stores and drug stores, which sparked similar legislation around the world from Oakland to Canada to Paris to Beijing." In his final month as supervisor before he becomes sheriff, Mirkarimi wants to expand the ban so that it applies to all stores and requires retailers to charge customers for bags at the checkout counter.

"First in the nation" is rarely a good thing for a law. First, it means the measure is liberal. (Conservatives don't brag that their proposed laws are an experiment.) Second, its target is virgin territory probably because there's been no need for a law. Third, the measure may cost someone else his job and surely will be paid out of your pocket.

Exhibit A: San Francisco's groundbreaking Happy Meal law. McDonald's got around the ordinance that banned free toys with meals that don't meet City Hall's nutritional standards by announcing it will charge customers an extra 10 cents if they want a toy with the food.

Exhibit B: The Mirkarimi plan. Supervisors will vote on Plastic Bag 2.0 this month. It would come with a mandatory charge of at least 10 cents per bag starting July 1, possibly rising to 25 cents in 2014. Retailers would get to keep your dimes.

Mirkarimi told me that San Francisco no longer is in the lead when it comes to bag laws. Other governments — Ireland, Beijing, Marin County — that followed Ess Eff's lead are "now blowing by us. Their laws are much more vigorous."

Single-use bags don't just end up in landfills and wetlands; they litter streets and become a "nuisance" and "blight." Science is on his side, Mirkarimi told me; it takes 500 years for plastic bags to disintegrate. (How does anyone know it takes 500 years for a bag to disintegrate?)

Mayor Ed Lee told KCBS' Barbara Taylor that he supports the measure because it probably would "modify behavior." Spokeswoman Christine Falvey walked that position back with an email that said Lee supports "the goal of the legislation and incentivizing consumers to bring their own bags." He will weigh in later.

Mirkarimi argued, "You've got to deal with the hidden costs of pollution that were never factored in (to) the retail point of purchase."

This is how City Hall sees the bag bill playing out: Thanks to enlightened San Francisco politicians, shoppers begin to take reusable bags wherever they go. Bad consumers pay for their own bags. Good consumers no longer have to subsidize bad consumers.

Even the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is on board. "You're outlawing the plastic bags but also encouraging reusable," said Vice President Jim Lazarus.

"The chamber reflects the community we live in," Lazarus added. I ask how big department stores, which send off their merchandise in brightly colored bags, feel about the bill. "A number of retailers must prefer not to have this regulation," he answered, "but are resigned to the changing demands of communities of how bags are used."

That's the story of San Francisco. The left squawks when, say, the mayor suggests that Occupy SF activists decamp from their illegal digs in Justin Herman Plaza. The mayor backed off for weeks. But when City Hall tells law-abiding businesses and customers to change their behavior, it gets results.

But not always the desired result. A Safeway spokeswoman explained that Mirkarimi's 2007 plastic bag ban prompted customers not to bring their own reusable bags, but to ask for free paper bags.

Given a choice, San Franciscans chose free bags. Bingo, a new law.

Of course Safeway supports the new Mirkarimi measure. It makes Safeway charge for bags it has been giving away.

The lonely job of opposing the measure falls to Stephen Joseph, who represents plastic bag manufacturers. Because most reusable bags are made overseas whereas most plastic bags are made in America, he claims, the new measure essentially would kill American jobs and replace them with Chinese jobs.

Joseph doesn't believe consumers will use reusable bags as often as expected. They get dirty, so you don't want to put food in them.

Also, San Francisco is a tourist mecca. Where's the hospitality in charging visitors to buy a bag to take their purchases home?

My objection: City documents report that single-use plastic bags represent 0.13 percent of California's total waste stream. If the supervisors want to address a "nuisance," as Mirkarimi calls plastic bags, they should work with the mayor to go after bigger nuisances that dramatically alter the quality of life in San Francisco. Read: aggressive panhandlers, hostile street people who use the city as a public toilet and substance abusers who drive up crime rates. But that would require city pols to moderate their politics.

So they go after people who have the cheek to buy things in San Francisco stores and expect a free new bag. They're the only group in San Francisco that won't protest.

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© 2011, Creators Syndicate

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