The battle over plastic bags in Michigan is about more than just plastic bags. It’s about keeping progressive municipalities from exploring solutions to the problems that we’re facing. It’s about squashing both innovation and local democratic rule.

img_8318

A few days ago, Michigan Republicans made national headlines for passing a ban on the banning of plastic bags… And, yes, you read that right. They didn’t pass a law banning plastic bags, but they passed a law making it illegal for local jurisdictions to ban the use of such bags, which are increasingly clogging our drains, killing our wildlife and filling our oceans. How’s that for priorities? Instead of passing new lead standards in the wake of the Flint Water crisis, voting on a tax credit for educators who spend their own money in their classrooms, considering any of the criminal justice reforms that have been proposed, or any number of other things that actually matter to Michigan citizens, our Republican representatives in Lansing pushed through legislation (Senate Bill 853) that would make it illegal for individual municipalities within the state to protect the environment by passing laws intended to cut down on the rampant proliferation of plastic bags. [To give you a sense of scale, according to a 2015 study, the eight million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans each year translates to roughly five grocery bags per every foot of coastline around the globe.]

This recent ban on bans, for those who aren’t aware of the history, was pursued in order to kill a June 1, 2016 decision by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners to pass Michigan’s first Carryout Bag Ordinance, which would have required, starting on Earth Day 2017, that a 10-cent “eco-fee” be charged for each disposable bag distributed within the boundaries of the county. The decision, at the time, was commended by the Ecology Center, the Michigan Environmental Council, and the Sierra Club, among others, all of whom acknowledged the growing local problem. Apparently, though, business interests interceded with our Republican legislators in Lansing… The following comes by way of the Washington Post.

..The new public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers,” including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.

Bans and restrictions on the use of plastic bags are widespread in other parts of the country and around the world. The rationale is simple: Plastic bags are infamous non-biodegradable sources of pollution — although they will eventually break down into tiny pieces, scientists believe this process can take hundreds of years, or even up to a millennium, in landfills.

Many scientists are growing particularly concerned about plastic pollution in the oceans. Research suggests that 5 million to 12 million metric tons of plastic may have been dumped into the ocean in 2010 alone. There, the waste is frequently eaten by seabirds and other marine animals — or it breaks down into tiny pieces known as microplastics, which scientists believe can be harmful or even toxic to sea creatures who ingest it.

Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban certain types of thin plastic bags in 2002, after they were found to have choked the nation’s drainage systems during a series of devastating floods. China instituted a similar ban in 2008, and also prohibits businesses from giving out thicker plastic bags to customers for free. Other nations, including South Africa and Italy, have also enacted similar restrictions.

San Francisco became the first U.S. municipality to institute a plastic bag ban. And in 2014, California became the first state. Many other municipalities around the country have bans or fees in place, including Austin, Seattle and Chicago, which will be repealing its citywide ban in favor of a 7-cent tax next month.

On the other hand, Michigan is not the only state to have implemented a ban on bans. Idaho, Arizona and Missouri all have enacted similar laws. In these cases, proponents of the laws have defended them as a way of protecting businesses from having to comply with additional regulations.

The new Michigan law was met with praise from the Michigan Restaurant Association for this reason.

“With many of our members owning and operating locations across the state, preventing a patchwork approach of additional regulations is imperative to avoid added complexities as it related to day-to-day business operations,” said Robert O’Meara, the association’s vice president of government affairs, in a statement…

Coincidentally, when I heard the news that Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley had signed this “ban on bans” into law on behalf of the vacationing Rick Snyder, I just happened to be in Hawaii, a state which outlawed plastic bags at the grocery checkout in 2015. While I wouldn’t say that I spent a great deal of time researching the effects of the plastic ban on businesses in Hawaii, as I was busy with wedding related festivities, I didn’t really notice any huge issues. People, as far as I could tell, were still going to stores, and still buying stuff. And, somehow, they were able to transport their purchases with them without plastic bags. I suppose that, elsewhere in Hawaii, people could have been falling down left and right, unable to manage getting their toilet paper and eggs to their cars without plastic bags, like those horribly inept people in the infomercials that just can’t seem to crack eggs without a special egg-cracking tool, but I didn’t see any sign of it. Everyone I saw either brought their own bags with them, or used paper bags, like the one at the top of the page, which I got from the grocery store near where we were staying. [My brother-in-law, by the way, is now officially off-the-market. So, if your plan was to join my family through marriage, you’re going to have to find another way.]

For what it’s worth, I’ve read the critiques of plastic bag bans, and I know that it’s a complicated issue. I know, for instance, that paper bags aren’t a perfect solution, as, among other things, their manufacture also contributes toward global climate change. With that said, though, I can understand why states, countries and municipalities are looking for ways to nudge people away from plastics, which are now clogging our oceans. And this is especially true for places like Hawaii, which are seeing the devastating effects firsthand. [According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, “Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean.” Furthermore, I’ve seen it noted in multiple places that “85 percent of all sea turtles will be injured or killed by plastics in their lifetimes,” although I can’t seem to find credible research at the moment to substantiate that.]

As it’s not a debate that I follow closely, I can’t say whether or not, when everything is factored in, that a plastic bag ban would have been good for Washtenaw County. What I do know, however, is that it shouldn’t be the state’s call. As former Grad Rapids Mayor George Heartwell recently pointed out, “in Washtenaw County alone, 25 percent of costs for equipment repairs at recycling facilities are from damage caused by plastic bags jamming equipment,” and our local officials should be able to respond accordingly, finding and implementing solutions that work in our community. And the state shouldn’t tie our hands. And, for what it’s worth, I also know that the current system, in which the average American takes home approximately 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year, each of which is only kept only about 12 minutes, just isn’t sustainable. And, with this in mind, I think our leaders in Lansing should be helping to facilitate the local exploration of alternatives, not standing in the way of progress and innovation. [What about a state incentive to reward the municipality that comes up with the best solution to reduce plastic bag use, rather than a blanket ban?] The bottom line is that we need to start talking about these issues like adults, and not just pretending that they don’t exist. That, in large part, is why our young people are leaving Michigan, and we cannot allow it to continue. The very future of our state depends on it.

Lastly, I’d just like to point out that this is yet one more instance of Michigan Republicans, who so often talk about the importance of protecting local rule, drawing the line when it comes to issues that they (and their wealthy, corporate donors) don’t agree with. I know this hypocrisy doesn’t appear to bother Republican voters, but it irks me no end to see how easily these leaders of ours, after talking about the importance of local rule, then use their considerable power to strike down local ordinances having to do with things like civil rights, living wages and plastic bags. But, as the New York Times pointed out in 2015, it’s not peculiar to Michigan.

…So-called pre-emption laws, passed in states across the country, have barred cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems and raising the minimum wage. In the last two years, eight Republican-dominated states, most recently Alabama and Oklahoma, have prevented cities from enacting paid sick leave for workers, and a new law in Arkansas forbids municipalities to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Already this year, bills introduced in six more states, including Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina, seek to do the same. At least five states have pre-empted local regulation of e-cigarettes. And in New Mexico, the restaurant industry supports a modest increase to the minimum wage only if the state stops cities from mandating higher minimums.

Often these efforts are driven by industry, which finds it easier to wield influence in 50 capitols than in thousands of city halls, said Mark Pertschuk, the director of Grassroots Change, which opposes the pre-emption of public health measures.

The strategy was pioneered by tobacco companies 30 years ago to override local smoking bans. It was perfected by the National Rifle Association, which has succeeded in preventing local gun regulations in almost every state.

More recently, the restaurant industry is leading the fight to block municipalities from increasing the minimum wage or enacting paid sick leave ordinances in more than a dozen states, including Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

“Businesses are operating in an already challenging regulatory environment,” said Scott DeFife, the head of government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “The state legislature is the best place to determine wage and hour law. This is not the kind of policy that should be determined jurisdiction by jurisdiction.”

This year, a combination of big money in state politics and a large number of first-time state legislators presents an opportunity for industries interested in getting favorable laws on the books, Mr. Pertschuk said. Increasingly, he said, disparate industries are banding together to back the same laws, through either the business-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, or shared lobbyists. “There is going to be a feeding frenzy all year long in the state legislatures,” he said…

Like it or not, that’s the world we live in. Even when we try to do the right things in our little progressive enclaves, they find a way to stop us. If we pass a law protecting LGBT rights, they kill it. If we talk about implementing a local living wage ordinance, they stop it. If we say that we’d like to explore ways to slow the sale of assault weapons, they make sure it can’t happen. And all while telling us that they truly value local rule. This, my friends, is what we’re fighting against… national lobbying interests paying our representatives in Lansing to keep us from exploring solutions to the problems that we’re facing. It’s anti-democratic in the extreme, and it needs to be stopped.

This entry was posted in Environment, Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

37 Comments

  1. Jean Henry
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Plastic bag waste matters because of plastic pollution not climate impact. Comparing the climate impact of a paper v plastic nag is largely meaningless. Your trash is a tiny portion of your climate impact. The energy used to produce the stuff you put in the bags has much more impact.

    But… plastic waste in our waterways is a very serious issue. In Ann Arbor the impetus was also at least in part that people keep throwing plastic bags in with their recyclables and gumming up the works (literally)– the recyclable material sorting machinery became clogged with bags, also the water treatment plant has trouble with them. Also it makes us look good. And AnnArbor likes that.

    The reason to take your own bag, beyond avoiding plastic waste, is really to take a step towards being a conscious consumer. It may not matter much in terms of climate impact but it’s a better way to be in the world.

    Plastic bags become pollution too often. Plastic was invented for durability not disposability and the material should be used with that in mind. Plastic bag bans are a tiny step in the right direction. A marker of sorts. There is no economic argument for plastic bags even. Reusable is cheaper for the consumer and the store. The poorest people in the world only started using plastic bags recently. A smart retailer will make money off the ban by selling re-useable bags.

    Chris Jordan documents US consumption (and other failings) by making visual images of the scale and end form of our collective waste.
    http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/camel/#gastrolith

    I hope Hawaii is swell.

  2. Jcp2
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    A business could choose not to offer bags, or ask if one is wanted, and a customer could always choose not to take a bag. The bags do come in handy for many things; I use them for trash bags and many people use them for pet poop.

  3. Lynne
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I think Washtenaw County should look to the GOP playbook on the abortion issue for the solution here. We should pass an ordinance requiring cashiers to give a five minute speech on the dangers of plastic bags before they are allowed to give one to the customer.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Businesses don’t choose to do so because the consumers don;t like it. The consumers dont like it because they don;t like to think about their consumption. In this case, there is clear state’s interest in reducing plastic bag waste. You would still be able to purchase poop bags and garbage bags. There would just be fewer plastic bags getting tossed after one use. And the vast vast majority get tossed after one use,

  5. zargo
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    How long before the Republicans in Lansing ban the new got to be 21 years old to purchase cigarettes in Ann Arbor ordinance?

  6. Jcp2
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    One place I visited has all stores charging a dime per bag. That’s not a ban but a disincentive.

  7. Jean Henry
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    It’s not disincentive enough to change personal behavior. It’s not like this has never been tried before in many different forms. The bans work better. The goal is important. It’s fairly unbelievable that humans are unwilling to give up any inconvenience no matter how destructive. But it’s true. Because people suck at changing. They need more than an incentive. Buying one’s way out of it should not be an option unless the bag is re-useable.

  8. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Some people are truly outraged that plastic bags are anything to worry about it…
    So the best way is to bring your own tote bag, if you can remember to do that….
    I wait for the day plastic is not so ubiquitous in food and shopping overall. That would be big deal too.

  9. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The reality is that Republicans in the state have overreached legally…so..this ban…what did th ey want to achieve with it? I think, to be business friendly…it really isn’t..
    it would be cheaper for people to bring their own tote bags…
    No city can make a rule the state doesn’t want uniformly..that may be what they were doing. They want to be dominant….Still, the plastic is bad for the environment. It stays in the water forever and then animals, fish and birds end up eating bits of it, and sometimes pieces of plastic get stuck in their bodies, in their ears and noses and if they can’t alway as manage to get them out by themselves.
    So, boo…not a good law… you can’t tell them that, though.

  10. Matt Roush
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    There’s lots of fake news out there about reusable canvas bags being unsanitary and a source of disease. Well of course they are if you never wash them, idiots!

  11. M
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I can see how, from a business’s perspective, it would be frustrating if there were a patchwork of laws around an issue like plastic bags.

  12. Lynne
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I can see how, from a business’s perspective, it would be frustrating if there were a patchwork of laws around an issue like plastic bags.

    I used to work with POS systems for a national retailer and trust me, that frustration is NOTHING compared to the patchwork of sales tax rates across the country. There are state sales taxes, county sales taxes, city sales taxes, DDA sales taxes and I swear some malls have them too. If companies can figure that out, they can figure out now not to send plastic bags to some stores, trust me.

  13. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I didn’t click on all the links, so not sure if you included this one – but it definitely struck a cord with folks on my org’s page.

    http://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2016/12/30/study-nearly-10000-metric-tons-of-plastic-flow-into-great-lakes-each-year

  14. Vivienne Armentrout
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the need to ban plastic bags and also dislike the pre-emption of local control. But this particular ordinance was bad legislation. It affected paper bags as well – any non-reusable bag. There are arguments for reducing use of paper bags but it is a different subject from plastic. The fee imposed would doubtless have been paid by many because most people do not carry cloth bags around with them or dislike using them. So in effect, this was really a revenue item. Further, the fee was shared with the vendor.

    So actually, there was a monetary incentive both to the County and to the vendor to have people take the plastic bags (paper bags are more expensive to the vendor). It would have been a new revenue source at a time when municipalities have a hard time imposing new taxes or fees. I doubt that the effect would have been reduced use of plastic bags.

  15. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-plastic-bag-bans-work/

    “A plastic bag tax levied in Ireland in 2002 has reportedly led to a 95 percent reduction in plastic bag litter there. And a study by San Jose, California found that a 2011 ban instituted there has led to plastic litter reduction of “approximately 89 percent in the storm drain system, 60 percent in the creeks and rivers, and 59 percent in City streets and neighborhoods.”

  16. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Vivienne,

    I wonder where your assumption is that most people would not be more likely to carry cloth bags around, or reusable bags of any kind. It’s not entirely similar but remember that we do have a recycling system with a fee – our bottle deposit law, which is the most successful recycling program in the country last I checked (97%, which is astounding). … which makes our overall recycling rates in Michigan look really bad, actually.

  17. Vivienne Armentrout
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    To reiterate, I favor an outright plastic bag ban. This ordinance is not really a ban but instead provides a monetary incentive both to the vendor and the County to make plastic bags available.

    As for the comparison to the bottle deposit law – we have a lot of low-income assistants in making that work. Have you ever been at Kroger when someone wheeled in a cart containing a couple of trash bags full of gleaned bottles? Most middle-income people do not carry their bottles back to the store on the next visit, but take in a monthly load. And a lot of them end up in public trash containers, which keeps the gleaners in business.

  18. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Kroger–a major national retailer– paid a 5 or 10 cent per bag discount at checkout for each bag one brought. They ended this a few years ago.

    I could not get any “environmental” groups interested in fighting this change. Kroger’s explanation to me was they were satisfied with the percentage of customers using their own bags. They would not tell me what the percentage was.

    I’m sure Kroger pays much less than 5 or 10 cents per thin plastic bag (probably more like 1/100th of a cent per bag), so it seemed to me a profit move they figured they could get away with (and they were right).

    Fyi, Chicago just instituted a ban on the thin plastic bags–so retailers switched to really thick plastic bags……at least Walgreens did in Chicago.

  19. Lynne
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    The bottle deposit works through economic incentive. Even people who don’t recycle otherwise, recycle their returnables. I have found though that 10 cents isn’t really enough to motivate me to take then to the store but I save them anyways just because there are a lot of people in Ypsilanti poor enough to do it for me. I just give them the returnables.

    An economic incentive would work with bags too. Some stores would decide it is a pain in the neck and just stop carrying them. Others stores will charge although how much a few cents will be as an incentive to the customer is not clear. I know that I would have no problem paying 10c per bag but it might motivate me to try to remember to bring my cloth ones. I don’t know.

  20. Maria E Huffman
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    So Kroger used to collect plastic bags and I quit putting them in their recycle barrel because I read they burned them and did not recycle them. So. I grew up on the Jersey shore and plastic in the water and on the beach is very real and very disgusting. I don’t agree with the ban of the ban..I think retailers.like.the plastic bags and use them as receipts almost, verification the person has obtained the goods from the store. So imagine if people simply skipped bags entirely and just put their stuff.back in a cart and left..the store people would lose the visual confirmation that the goods.were paid for..that is how I see their insistence in the plastic bag use.

  21. Maria E Huffman
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Just don’t expect a freebie from the store, bring your cloth bags…that is the message..I really think the Republican legislators were not too worried about plastic in the oceans or in animals. And no city is to regulate businesses, that is up to the state legislators. ..that is the take home message. And take it we should or else. there will be another law somewhere to teach how to take that law better…plastic or paper? one day not too soon in our futures will be so yesterday.

  22. Andy
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    One solution would be to organize a ballot initiative to ban plastic bags. This would address the environmental concerns on a larger scale and address the issues business owners have expressed.

    FWIW, I believe most people, republicans and democrates care about the health of the environment. However I understand the concerns brought up by business owners. Having a patchwork of regulations across municipalities is bad policy and would be costly for businesses to comply. If this is a priority for Michigan residents we can design a policy that will cover the entire state through a ballot initiative.

  23. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    @Andy–ballot initiative? We tried that on an issue of great consequence (repealing the first Emergency Manager law), and the Governor and his Republican colleagues merely re-passed a new EM law, six weeks later, this time with a little funding attached so it can never be overturned in the future by a……..ballot initiative.

    I’m surprised ballot initiatives are even still legal………..they should fix that!

    (and businesses could easily and cheaply comply with a bag law, if told to do so–they already comply with all sorts of local differences, as pointed out above).

  24. Tom
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Essentially, people are lazy. (Just witness parking patterns at shopping malls.) The path of least resistance is chosen by most. We use the bags because the merchants give them to us. How often does anyone refuse a bag when shopping? Unless banned, they will be pervasive and continue to clutter our lives.

    Once banned, and the choice removed, we would adapt. When I am in the Bay area where all plastic bags are banned, it seems to work well. I see folks routinely pull collapsible nylon bags out of their purse/pocket and use them for carrying purchases. Stores have spares for sale in checkout lines. I am always surprised by how ordinary this is for all concerned. Also I am surprised by the utility of these bags which are strong, large capacity, and yet collapsible enough to tuck away. These are not the bulky bags one sees at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s here. These are thin, tough nylon, capable of holding 3 gallon volume, yet can compress into the ball of your hand.

    The separate and very difficult part is to convince our lawmakers that not only the ban works, but it works rather well.

    (I’m not holding my breath on this or any other sensible issue that comes before our state government.)

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Re incentive models: Bottle deposits work in MI (90% redeemed) because the incentive is high. Nickel deposits get a 53% rate of return.

  26. Lynne
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Tom is right on the money that a ban would work best.

    Yes, Jean, incentives matter. That is the very first thing I learned in my Intro to Econ class. The higher the incentive, the better it works. I actually think that Michigan should raise the returnable rate to 25cents. Not because I think it would increase the recycle rate a lot due to The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns but because I think the poor people who go around picking up returnables deserve a raise.

  27. ytown
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Let’s just legislate everything, the government knows best.

  28. Lynne
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    ytown, that would be as bad as suggesting that we legislate nothing. Maybe. I suppose it could be debated which is worse, Totalitarianism vs Anarchy but both are pretty awful.

    I know you are being sarcastic of course though. Because legislating plastic bags in no way is legislating everything. In this case, it is legislating something that makes absolute sense to legislate for the reason Tom mentioned in his post above. People will take the path of least resistance so designing systems with that in mind (say by banning plastic bags), is a very good use of government power, i.e. it is always appropriate to use legislation to create a public good, in this case a clean environment.

  29. EOS
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    It was the environmentalists that promoted changing to plastic bags in the first place. The retailers were happy to go along because plastic is cheaper. I very much prefer paper. They hold more, they stand up in the trunk and don’t spill all over, and I always find ways to re-use them.

    Paper is a renewable resource. Paper bags can also use a high amount of recycled material in their manufacture. Trees add oxygen to the atmosphere and reduce CO2 levels. Growing and harvesting trees on a continual basis is one of the best things we can do for our environment.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    EOS is correct on all counts. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that. http://www.plasticstoday.com/content/plastic-shopping-bags-modern-marvel-public-enemy-no-1/45902000918427

  31. EOS
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jean.

  32. Vivienne Armentrout
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The intense discussion on this post moved me to do some more in-depth examination of the lifetime of this ordinance. I remember when it was first publicized and I complained about the lack of public discussion, only to be told that it was expected the Legislature would overrule it. I’ve done a blog post with all the relevant links and detailed analysis. I won’t hijack Mark’s thread but I can be found at Local in Ann Arbor.

  33. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s a fair point. Thanks for doing the research – I’ll check it out later today.

    I was surprised with the lack of public discussion as well, but I’m also not terribly familiar with County level workings. There was one (semi?) public meeting I did attempt to attend that was cancelled (after I drove out, which is why I remember).

  34. Vivienne Armentrout
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. One of the sad things here is that so few people pay attention to what is happening in the County. I was on the BOC for 8 years and I was always amazed at how ignorant people in Ann Arbor are about all the programs run by the County. (People in the rest of the county think Ann Arbor is stuck up and self-absorbed. Um.)

    So if they call a public meeting, they should hold it! Thank you for investing that effort. I have some hopes for Andy LaBarre since I know he is good at organizing public meetings and seeking input. (He is the new chair.)

  35. Andy LaBarre
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Vivienne Armentrout, Thanks. Jennifer Schlicht, part of the reason for less attention was the timing issue and another reason is the smaller amount of attention County issues get compared to City/State. Yousef worked really hard with staff in developing the language. It’s a shame the state acted on it.

  36. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t necessarily suggesting anything nefarious, and I did speak to Yousef about it. There was certainly a good amount of work and care that went into it.

    I don’t follow every county (or city) development – hours in the day and all. I do wish I could, and mean to make more of an effort there. It was just surprising as it (recycling/plastic waste) is an issue I care about quite a bit, and I try to keep an eye out for local developments on things that are important to me personally.

  37. Andy LaBarre
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Jennifer, I didn’t mean to make you feel like I thought you were saying anything nefarious. I think most folks are like you in terms of the amount of time they can spend on following county government. I wish there was an easier way to connect people to the organization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Connect

BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Poop Modrak