Props 65 and 67 – Revenge of the Plastic Bag Industrial Complex

by on October 14, 2016 · 0 comments

in California, Culture, Election, Environment, Organizing, Politics

plastic-bag-windBy Doug Porter

The bastard sons of the dirty energy industry are trying to pull a fast one on California voters with Props 65 and 67.

In a perfect world, the people who put together Proposition 65, along with forcing us to vote to uphold a legislatively passed ban (Prop 67) on the crappy plastic bags handed out by retail stores, would be tried for crimes against the planet.

If found guilty they would be sentenced to picking up cigarette butts on beaches in Libya for a term of no less than two years, wearing tee shirts emblazoned with We Love Imperialism on the back.

What Proposition 65 is all about is revenge. The plastic bag industry and the oil companies who sell them raw materials want to have it both ways. If they’re gonna lose the vote to ban plastic bags, then maybe they can fool voters with a measure falsely promising to do something good for the environment.

plastic-bag-ban-logoThe dirty energy industry and their illegitimate offspring could care less about the environment, and they certainly hate the idea of growing government in any way shape or form.

Yet they’re somehow ‘concerned’ enough to pour $6 million into creating a new state fund, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund.


A group calling itself the American Progressive Bag Alliance put together Props 65 and 67. Dig down far enough and you’ll discover who’s footing the bill for this group:

Proposition 65 assumes Californians are so stupid as to be swayed by the appeal of greenwashing originating from the manufacturers of single-use plastic bags.

Here’s a snip from the Los Angeles Times editorial:

plastic bag


On the surface this measure seems to complement the environmental goals of the bag ban. But coming from the same people so desperately trying to stop the ban, the measure seems more like a cynical ploy to confuse voters or, at the very least, punish the state’s grocery stores for supporting the ban.

The reality is that the fee for paper bags isn’t likely to be a windfall for stores that provide them. The California Grocers Assn. estimates that stores pay an average of 10 cents per paper bag. It seems reasonable for stores to recoup their cost when forced to collect a fee. The law also sets guidelines for how the money is used by grocers: to offset the cost of complying with the law and promoting the use of reusable grocery bags.

Furthermore, according to Los Angeles County (whose bag ban was the model for the state law), about half of the carryout bags are handed out for free, meaning grocers are collecting about 5 cents per bag.

What even more outrageous about Prop 65 is “the vote for us and you’ll be screwing The Man” character of their arguments.

Ten cents per bag, we’re told, somehow adds up to an additional $300 million in profits for big evil corporations owning grocery stores.

Never mind that switching from plastic was costing big San Francisco grocers $60,000 annually when that city’s ban went into place.

The fiscal argument on the State Voter Information Guide says “Potential state revenue of several tens of millions of dollars annually under certain circumstances…”

plastic bag

Via Heal the Bay on Flickr

I guess this is another example of the RepubliMath™ that’s all the rage with certain politicians these days.

This banning of plastic bags thing, we’re told, is another “Sacramento Sweetheart Deal.”

Yada, yada, yada. This is all focus group and poll-tested language and has very little to do with the truth.

They want voters to gum up the works if a bag ban (Prop 67) passes, which it probably will.

Plastic bag bans and taxes on their use work, as this short article from Scientific American and this longer piece from Media Matters with point-by-point debunking of dirty industry arguments demonstrate.

The opposition to Prop 65, is which has raised exactly zero dollars is hoping that grassroots work by environmental advocates and the fact that no major newspaper in the state has endorsed this scheme.

Do yourself and Mother Earth a favor and Vote No on Proposition 65.

For More Information

Proposition 65


Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through mandated sale of carryout bags. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund to support specified environmental projects. Fiscal Impact: Potential state revenue of several tens of millions of dollars annually under certain circumstances, with the monies used to support certain environmental programs

A YES vote would: Require a charge for carryout bags to be deposited in a state fund to support certain environmental programs. (If state law prohibits giving customers certain carryout bags for free)

A NO vote would: Allow charges for carryout bags to be directed for any purpose.

Yes on 65 Website
No on 65 Website
No on 65 Twitter (inactive)

Ballotpedia Page

Polling: There does not appear to be any polling on Prop 65.

The First Dirty Energy Dirty Trick on Plastic Bags

Two years after the bag-banning Senate Bill 270 passed, we’re still using disposable plastic bags in California.

Public Domain photo

Public Domain photo

Here’s what the legislature passed, and what is now to be decided at the ballot box (from Ballotpedia);

  • The measure would prohibit large grocery stores and pharmacies from providing plastic single-use carryout bags and ban small grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores from doing so the following year.
  • It would allow single-use plastic bags for meat, bread, produce, bulk food and perishable items.
  • Stores would be required to charge 10 cents for recycled, compostable and reusable grocery bags.
  • Revenue from the charge would be spent on covering the costs of non-plastic bags and educating consumers.
  • Proposition 67 would exempt consumers using a payment card or voucher issued by the California Special Supplemental Food Program from being charged for bags.
  • The measure would provide $2 million to state plastic bag manufacturers for the purpose of helping them retain jobs and transition to making thicker, multi-use, recycled plastic bags

So why are we voting on this after the legislature already passed SB 270?

The American Progressive Bag Alliance took to the streets, hiring petition gatherers who stood in front of retailers dishing out an often-false narrative about what they were asking people to sign.

‘California vs. Big Plastic’, a group supporting SB270 and opposing the referendum drive, filed a complaint calling for the secretary of state to investigate allegations that opponents seeking to overturn the measure were misleading voters to get them to sign petitions.

From the Los Angeles Times:

via APBA Archives

via APBA Archives

To ensure the integrity of the state referendum process is not tarnished by criminal behavior, we request an immediate investigation into these disturbing reports of voter fraud during circulation of the ‘Referendum to Overturn Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags’ petition,” wrote attorney Lance Olson, representing the group supporting the ban.

He submitted the names of 50 voters who felt they were not given an accurate description of the referendum by the signature gatherers. Some voters, including Anita Simons of La Jolla, said that petition gatherers told them the referendum was to get rid of the 10-cent charge for alternative bags, but if voters defeat the referendum it will repeal the entire law.

“It’s become clear that signature gatherers are saying and doing anything to trick voters into signing these petitions,” said Mark Murray, a spokesman for Californians Against Waste. “Given the overwhelming strong support for the law, it’s not surprising that this turkey of a referendum attempt is such a hard sell.”

As we in San Diego know all too well, it’s difficult–if not impossible–to make a charge like this against signature gatherers stick, even when there’s video evidence.

Now the group (the so-called Progressive Bag alliance) behind getting this referendum on the ballot is opposing it to the tune of more than $6 million. (Some of that money is being spent in support on Prop 65)

An unusual coalition, including the Surfrider Foundation and nearly all of the state’s grocers, are supporting Prop 67. They’ve raised just shy of $4 million.

I’ll let a Bakersfield Californian editorial sum this up:

In 2014, such a ban became the law of the land in California. But out-of-state plastic bag manufacturers weren’t happy about that. So they cooked up the confusing package of propositions we now see on the November ballot that is intended to overturn the ban, one way or another. If you are concerned about the proliferation of single-use plastic bags, such as the ones we get at the grocery store, clogging up our waterways, littering our streets and yards, and endangering our wildlife, here’s what you need to do: Vote yes on Prop. 67 and no on Prop. 65.

For More Information

Proposition 67


A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, a statute that prohibits grocery and other stores from providing customers single–use plastic or paper carryout bags but permits sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags. Fiscal Impact: Relatively small fiscal effects on state and local governments, including a minor increase in state administrative costs and possible minor local government savings from reduced litter and waste management costs.

A YES vote would: uphold legislation banning plastic bags enacted by the California State Legislature in September 2014 under the name Senate Bill 270.

A NO vote would: overturn Senate Bill 270.

Yes on 67 Website
Yes on 67 Facebook
Yes on 67 Twitter

No on 67 Website
No on 67 has no social media presence.

Ballotpedia Page

Polling: A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll from 2014, shortly after the legislature passed Senate Bill 270, found nearly 60% of Californians in favor of the bag ban.

For information on the November 2016 General Election, see our San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide


From Doug Porter’s column at San Diego Free Press.


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