Issaquah plastic bag ban appeal request bags enough signatures

October 4, 2013

By Peter Clark

NEW — 1 p.m. Oct. 4, 2013

The petition is in the bag.

After consumer group Save Our Choice fought a long battle to gather enough local support, King County officially approved the petition to end the ban on plastic bags Oct. 4.

“King County Elections has completed verification of the signatures submitted to our office for the City of Issaquah Initiative Petition regarding the Repeal of Plastic Bag Ban and Forced Paper Bag Charge,” Sherril Huff, director of King County Elections Department wrote in her letter notifying Save Our Choice of the findings.

“Of the signatures that were compared against those on file with our office, 2,597 were determined to be registered voters of the city of Issaquah,” she wrote. “Since that number met the requirement of 2,549, it is determined that the petition is sufficient.”

After the first round of signatures was found invalid, Save Our Choice had 10 days to collect more, which it resubmitted to the county Oct. 2.

“It’s back in the city’s court,” King County Communications Manager Barbara Ramey said.

The Issaquah City Council has two choices before it — approve the language outright and strike the ordinance from the books, or put the measure on a ballot and let voters choose whether to continue the ban.

Ramey said the county must be notified by Dec. 27 if the City Council wishes to put the issue on the Feb. 11 election ballot.

The ordinance to ban plastic bags was approved last year and went into effect March 1. It currently applies to larger retailers, but would include all stores beginning March 1, 2014.

Save Our Choice founder Craig Keller took the county’s findings well.

“I am much relieved,” he said, though it won’t mean the end for the West Seattle resident’s time in Issaquah. “I want to continue to educate voters and be a voice for the people in the city.”

Due to language included in the petition, should the council wish to pass any similar measures, it would now have to go through a referendum process.

“What we earned is the City Council can adopt the petition immediately or they can pass it on to the voters,” Keller said. “Which is what we want. I welcome a vote.”

It has not yet been determined when the City Council will address the petition.


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6 Responses to “Issaquah plastic bag ban appeal request bags enough signatures”

  1. Issaquah Resident on October 4th, 2013 4:31 pm

    When I declined to sign the petition, the Save Our Choice member chewed me out over everything from big brother tracking our purchases, to invading Syria, to the Issaquah Police seat belt safety patrols. As soon as I said I voted for Obama the man stormed off in a huff.

  2. gregg on October 5th, 2013 9:49 am

    The bag ban I suppose on an extreme level is an infringement of rights, but really, sometimes it takes an act to point out that it is not a bad idea after all. If everyone could be counted on to recycle the bags responsibly, i.e. clean, dry, not loosely placed in the bin then I would advocate for keeping the plastic bags active. But honestly, is 5 cents that bad for paper (which may be a worse choice for resource uses?)….or re-use your plastic bags more than once.
    The re-useable shopping bags work fine as well, wash them time to time, etc…
    If you look around, plastic bags get everywhere, take decades to breakdown, and are simply just too convenient and an after thought for too many people to handle responsibly. We have speed limits too, are those infringements as well?
    I’d love to ban plastic fast food cups that are huge and I see everywhere as well. Or, make the customer pay for a deposit fee……

  3. Fred Riler on October 7th, 2013 11:36 am

    The Issaquah City Council has more to be concerned about than to be an invasive part of our lives telling us what we can and can’t use for grocery shopping. Focus on solving bigger issues such as your traffic mess on Front street, improving your services to areas outside of your core ‘downtown’ area, and more importantly, focus on fixing the dysfunctional growth between the I-90 exits 15 and 17.

  4. Ken Holmes on October 7th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Glad to see the voters might actually get a voice in this. To Gregg (above), please understand that the largest organization who was lobbying in Issaquah (and throughout the NW) to ban bags is the NW Grocery Association. They aren’t an environmental group, and could care less about single use plastic. Take a look around in grocery stores… EVERYTHING is packaged in truly single use plastic. The large store chains would rather sell you a bag than give you one for free. People were reusing plastic bags for trash, pet clean up, and many other things. But that cut into the sales of the stores. The current ban, like other bans, makes it mandatory that stores charge, and keep, at least nickle for every paper bag (yes, much worse for the environment) and up to a buck for each reusable. Paper by the way, creates many times the pollution and uses far more resources than plastic. And the plastic bags are far stronger and easier to carry. Bans are nothing but a huge moneymaker for BIG Grocery.

  5. jeffr on October 8th, 2013 7:27 am

    of all the issaquah city council decisions that have ever been made, or might be made – shopping bags, folks, shopping bags – this is what we are UPSET about? this is where we need to petition our government for a redress of our GRIEVANCES? i am depressed…

  6. Todd Randich on October 8th, 2013 5:45 pm

    For Seattleites, the checker’s question at the grocery store — “Paper or plastic?” — is enough to strike fear and indecision into the minds of unprepared shoppers. Forget paper bags; if you don’t have an eco-friendly reusable shopping bag, prepare for relentless glares from your fellow shoppers.

    Plastic bags aren’t as bad as we thought — unless they’re left on the beach. Photo by Getty.
    But it turns out that the champion of grocery-bagging options is the most unlikely candidate: the plastic bag. A UK study suggests that overall, plastic bags have less environmental impact than paper bags or even reusable canvas bags.

    The study found that a paper bag emits four times the carbon dioxide as a plastic bag. So to make up for choosing paper over plastic, you’d have to reuse your paper bags at least three times instead of just tossing them into the recycling.

    Even worse, you’d have to use an eco-friendly cotton shopping bag 171 times before it could even counteract the negative environmental impact from its production. Only after that many uses is your reusable tote truly the greener approach to shopping. Since the average consumer only uses canvas bags 51 times before retiring them, those stylish totes we see in grocery stores everywhere are probably doing more harm than good.

    Looks like we made the right choice when we voted against a 20-cent fee for each paper or plastic bag shoppers get at supermarkets in 2009.

    Of course, we still have to remember plastic bags aren’t biodegradable and often end up in oceans and waterways, harming aquatic life. So if you can commit to using your green shopping bag 200 times, by all means, do so. Otherwise hold your plastic bags high as you carry them out of stores — just make sure you reuse them or recycle them as trash can liners.

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