Southern California environment news and trends

LA city council's vote on a bag ban: forward movement, yes. Historic? Not quite

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Even in a small market like Grocery Warehouse, LA sanitation workers are ready to talk to people in 5 languages, a sign of the city's diversity.

Over at the L.A. Times, they’re hailing a step that L.A. City Council took toward banning plastic bags as historic. Over here, we’re not. It seems to be worth explaining why.

First, a bit of history. Richard Alarcon joked today at a press conference before the council meeting: “What took so long?” He made that joke because the idea of a bag ban in L.A. first got kicked around seriously four years ago, and he and then-councilwoman Janice Hahn did a lot of the kicking.

Now, let’s get to why this isn’t historic.

The City of Los Angeles did not pass the first bag ban in the state. That honor goes to the hometown of my favorite baseball team, and their ban was actually the first in the country. San Francisco is actually in a second phase of their ordinance.

The City of Los Angeles did not defend its environmental impact report justifying a bag ban all the way to the state Supreme Court. That honor goes to Manhattan Beach, which argued and won the case last year.