Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bob Dunning: Mixed signals on our bagless future

BobDunning2W

By
From page A2 | June 29, 2014 |

As we move ever closer to our toughest-in-the-nation plastic bag ban (if we’re not No. 1, why do it?), the city is sending out conflicting messages in an apparent attempt to “educate” the unwashed masses of this town.

Just last Friday, as an “Environmental update,” The Enterprise ran a city of Davis communiqué under the headline “Be prepared to pay for carryout bags.”

It explained that even restaurants are not exempt from the July 1 start date for the ordinance, although “plastic bags can still be provided for soups and other foods that may spill or drip.”

I’m not sure where spaghetti and meatballs fits into this take-out scenario, but I can see a confrontation brewing when an unsuspecting Davis diner encounters an officer from the DPBBFP (Davis Plastic Bag Ban Food Police) as the diner heads home from his favorite downtown restaurant.

“What’s in the bag, sir?”

“Spaghetti and meatballs.”

“That requires a paper bag, sir. It’s right here in Section 22, Item 4-b. I’m going to have to write you up.”

“But my order of spaghetti and meatballs was especially spilly and drippy. According to Section 11, Item 12-a, I’m entitled to a plastic bag free of charge.”

“No, this restaurant’s menu says the sauce on their spaghetti and meatballs is “extra thick,” which means it’s not considered spilly or drippy under Exception 16-z. Not only am I required to give you a ticket, I must confiscate your food as a public health hazard. Please place your hands behind your back.”

“But, but …”

“Do I need to call for backup?”

In addition to last Friday’s Enterprise article, I have in front of me an email distributed several months ago by someone billed as the “City of Davis Public Works Conservation Coordinator.” I realize that’s a lot of information to fit on a business card, but that’s what the email says, so that’s what I’m going with.

Because I do not enjoy Most Favored Nation status with the city of Davis, I did not personally receive this particular email, but it was forwarded to me by a member of my vast network of spies who have infiltrated the very highest levels of city government.

It appears to have been forwarded from something called the “City of Davis Toad Hollow Dog Park Email List Subscription,” which is clearly code for something else, given that the Most Relevant City in America would never have an email list with such a silly name.

“Please consider the environment before printing this email,” it asks politely, so I stepped outside, gazed at the clear blue sky, then came back inside and printed it. Still, there’s little question that printing this simple email caused the world’s entire population of polar bears to migrate another mile south.

“As you may already have heard,” the email begins, “in November 2013, the Davis City Council passed Ordinance #2422, the Single-Use Carryout Bags Ordinance, to reduce the distribution of single-use carryout bags and promote the use of reusable bags at all retail stores, restaurants and take-out food establishments in Davis.”

No more bagging your baguette, Mrs. Robinson.

“On and after July 1, 2014 single-use plastic carryout bags cannot be distributed to customers at retail stores and restaurants.”

I think you already said that. And we get your message loud and clear. Untold sea birds are flying in circles around Davis at this very moment because their heads are stuck inside Walmart bags and that’s bad for our image, even if Dixon and Woodland are the main culprits here.

We all understand that plastic bags are bad for people and dogs and cats and ocean-going mammals and pretty much the entire world.

They contribute to global warming, crop failure, the decline of the American family, cracked pavement on Covell Boulevard and the Broncos’ inability to win the Super Bowl. They are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Of course, “Non-profit reuse stores are exempt from the ordinance, as are customers paying with WIC, SNAP or CalFresh food stamps,” since studies show that whales, dolphins, seagulls and those cute-as-a-bunny river otters specifically eschew, rather than chew, plastic bags from these sources.

To be clear, I believe the WIC, SNAP and CalFresh folks — plus anyone shopping with money borrowed from Uncle Harry — are exempt only from having to pay a dime for a paper bag, not from the entire ordinance altogether.

All of which makes the next sentence in this top-secret Toad Hollow Dog Park communiqué such a complete head-scratcher.

“Since plastic bags will be harder to come by starting in July, you may want to start saving your bread bags, produce bags, sandwich bags, and all other plastic bags for doggie duty!”

All other plastic bags? Now wait a minute. I thought we were trying to eliminate plastic bags, not hoard them.

In other words, this city official seems to be saying that even though Davis is banning plastic bags as the malevolent items that they are, we realize that dog owners in this town desperately need plastic bags so they don’t have to handle their canines’ end product with their bare hands.

So it turns out plastic bags are a bit of a necessity after all.

Maybe it’s time to revisit this ordinance in the next 48 hours and add one more blanket exception for yet another class of beleaguered Davisites: dog owners.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

 
Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

.

Sports

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8