Category Archives: press release

Seattle Bag Ban Repeal collects signatures insufficient to refer ORD 123775 to August ballot.

January 17, 2012, Tuesday

Today the all-volunteer Save Our Choice reports that over 2000 signatures were collected toward the 16,503 requirement for ballot referral. The signature deadline to the Seattle City Clerk is Tuesday January 17th, 5PM. Consequently, the Save Our Choice referendum cannot force City Council to refer ORD 123775 to the August ballot. Rather, City Council may still refer ORD 123775 to the ballot or repeal ORD 123775 at its own choosing.

“The damage so arrogantly and swiftly inflicted six days prior to Christmas by McGinn, O’Brien, Licata, Conlin, Clark, Rasmussen, Godden, Harrell, Burgess and Bagshaw was never going to be easily reversed,” observed SOC co-founder Craig Keller. “Especially with near zero financial participation from the businesses who will be most directly impacted. Many are really struggling in this Great Recession. This bag ban is the classic overregulation by zealots who refuse to calculate the cost in jobs and the drain from consumer wallets and purses.”

“Each councilmember disrespected the citizen vote of 2009 by launching their attack upon retailers who employ thousands of real people in Seattle. Their mischaracterization of the plastic grocery bag as ‘single-use’ is dishonest on its face as 90%+ of consumers reuse their plastic bags for countless useful purposes. Most resuse their bags for garbage liners or for pet waste. Councilmembers even included biodegradable and compostable plastic bags in their ban.

“I say ‘remember in November,’ suggested Keller. “Unfortunately we must wait until November of 2013 before O’Brien, McGinn, Conlin, Licata and Bagshaw once again beg for our trust. Councilman Harrell is rumored to be exploring a run for Congress this year.”

“In the two short weeks since New Years our recruitment of merchants to collect signatures revealed two things. Number one, most mechants were either unaware of the ban or in denial that councilmembers could be so disruptive to their businesses. Number two, we learned that few merchants have developed contingency plans and if so find them more costly for both merchant and customer. One clothing merchant who collected repeal signatures has priced paper bags for wrapping apparel purchases at 17¢ per bag. Yet that small paper bag costing 17¢ will not accommodate larger purchases that today fit inside one plastic bag. Consumers will pay more and retailers will sell less. Combined with higher parking taxes and meter rates, this ban is just one more council-inflicted wound upon Seattle retail.

Beginning July 1 “greenshirts” from Seattle Public Utilities will be authorized to fine merchants $500 fines for noncompliance. To place in perspective, the $500 fine is higher than the Council’s $140 fine they now levy through their “red light” cameras.

What’s next for Seattle merchants and consumers? That could be a wholesale cleanout of Council or repeal of Ordinance 123775 via citizens initiative (different from the present referendum) which would require collection of 20,628 signatures across 180 days.

“I thank the hundreds of Seattle voters who cared enough to collect over 2000 signatures and lick a stamp to mail their petitions. I thank several of Seattle’s bedrock retailers who collected signatures from their sales counters. They stood up to correct Council’s suicidal behavior. Many more businesses will stand as they come to calculate the damage.

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