How thrilled I was to read that Pleasanton has voted in an ordinance to limit plastic bag usage and waste. I've been shopping in San Jose three times since its ordinance went into effect in January. Each time I forgot to bring bags and had to make the inconvenient decision to carry my stuff out. You can bet I'll remember next time.
For years now, I've had reusable bags sitting in the trunk of my car, and since I've never had quite enough incentive to remember, I never do. Shopping in San Jose last Sunday, I was very happy to observe lanes and lanes of shoppers unfolding their variously shaped and colored reusable bags for the cashiers and courtesy clerks to use. If it takes an ordinance to give people the nudge they need in this direction, I'm all for it.
Council knows best?
The Pleasanton City Council has decided it knows better than we do about the choices we make for our family. We choose the right foods to feed our kids and encourage them to exercise to keep them healthy. They wear helmets on all wheeled toys and pads and protectors to play sports. We support our schools, our church and our local nonprofits. We pay taxes, volunteer our time and even recycle. Somehow in the eyes of our City Council we can do all this but we are still not qualified to choose a paper, plastic or reusable bag at the grocery store. It's no longer OK to select a paper bag at the grocery store to use for our kitchen recycling. No, the government knows best. We now must carry reusable (bacteria-laden?) shopping bags to every store we shop at in Pleasanton (which is often many in a day) or we must pay to receive one from the merchant who has already factored the price of the bag into the price of their product (and we're pretty sure the cost of the groceries is not coming down!).
Choice is no longer important (at least in this situation). Our council members know what's better for our family, and yours. Their actions are overreaching. And we still do have a choice: to either ask the bagger to carry out every item of our groceries to the car, or to shop in a town next door. We may choose both.
Don't turn away business
Councilman Matt Sullivan, alluding to Walmart, was not up-front with leasing the property. If the company did anything illegal, the laws can be used to stop such an effort. Walmart in Pleasanton wanted to expand and was denied that by our city, so it went to a grocery store site; the main contention is because it is Walmart. Walmart wants to expand business here and has done so through proper channels. Are we adverse to a business that wants to do business here?
As the shopping center owner has stated, there is over a 30% drop in traffic, some stores have closed, and others are close to leaving. Would we be better off letting that center go empty and more people lose their jobs? Who wants to live by a deteriorating business park? We would not only have more jobs at the new grocery store but at surrounding places of business. With masses of unemployment, I find it interesting that cities that complain or try to show concern about the issue make little effort to correct the situation.
I would prefer to pay for food that is affordable. By not allowing competition (capitalism), you are driving prices up here in Pleasanton, which I would say is not fair to most citizens, especially senior citizens. To get better prices, you are making people drive to other towns, which creates more traffic.
Last I heard we live in a representative republic. We vote people into office, like Matt Sullivan, hopefully to represent us and our views. If they do not, we have the ability to vote for someone else in the next election.
Bob and I have been doing the Coat and Blanket Drive since 1999. Even after 13 years, we continue to be humbled beyond description at the generosity of our wonderful community. Whenever we've placed a call for donations, we've been deluged with coats, blankets, warm clothing, socks, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. Many have come fresh from the cleaners, some have never been worn, and some people have donated brand new items. All of these were donated in the wonderful, generous and anonymous spirit of sharing. How blessed we are to be part of such a dynamic and thoughtful community -- recession or not, our neighbors still give what they can, and then some.
We'd like to thank you for your continued support in our collection efforts to benefit our "neighbors in need." Sometimes it does "take a village" to help each other weather the storms -- and, boy, does our community rise to the call.