Monrovia City Council Reverses Itself

The Monrovia City Council compromised its integrity on Tuesday when it overturned an ordinance adopted two weeks ago in a 3-2 vote to institute a reusable bag ordinance for major retailers in the City.    The ordinance was included in the Consent Calendar for final reading before implementation; items in the Consent Calendar are considered routine and generally enacted in one motion.


The ordinance had been debated at the Council’s May 6 meeting after lengthy public comment not only at that meeting, but at its April 1 meeting as well when the Council received the recommendation of its Reusable Bag Regulation Ad Hoc Committee to draft the ordinance. On Tuesday, two of the three who voted in favor of the ordinance, Council Members Spicer and Blackburn, were unexpectedly absent and Mayor Pro Tem Shevlin took advantage of their absence and pulled the motion from the Consent Calendar.  Further, there were several persons present to speak in opposition to the ordinance who had not been there when it was docketed for public discussion.  This begs the question of whether they had been recruited to speak and, if so, why the agenda posted on the Council’s website did not indicate as much, thus alerting proponents as well.  The requests of a citizen and Mayor Lutz to postpone the vote until the full Council was present were denied and Council Members Shevlin and Adams then voted to reverse the Council’s prior action.


I was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee that presented the recommendation for a reusable bag ordinance to the City Council.  The recommendation was made after researching the fiscal impact of such ordinances on retailers in neighboring cities that have instituted similar bans (negligible), considering the significant harm done to both the environment and wildlife by discarded single use plastic bags, and acknowledging the reality that only 5% of those bags are actually recycled.  While I was in favor of the ordinance and would have been disappointed had it failed on May 6, I would have understood and accepted that the process of democracy had nonetheless been served.


What happened on Tuesday felt like an ambush and an insult to the democratic process.


Pat Johanson          


R. Ray Morford May 26, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Thanks Jennifer
Gustav Hellbro June 04, 2014 at 04:22 PM
I like the small bags, and reuse them all for one purpose or another. I use them as waste can liners in several spots around my home, use them to carry small items to and from work, etc. My family, and my office workers, reuse them in many ways. I hope the City decides to keep them in all the markets. Why should everyone be punished for the bad habits of a few people who don't dispose of the bags in a proper manner?
Tom Adams June 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Pat, Democracy worked just as it is designed to, an item was placed on an agenda and the folks who showed up and voted did so. Would you have votes that are not cast count? In Tuesdays election 18% of the voters voted, shall we count those who did not show up. I learned long ago that your voice is silent when you are absent. No one was ambushed, people voted just like the system asks them to. Every member of the council has missed meetings and not been able to vote. Would you have all of the votes thrown out?
R. Ray Morford June 09, 2014 at 02:33 PM
Tom......Even one bag ban is crazy. Citizens get numbed by all the regulations etc Then a long comes another regulation piled on top. The object of a Socialist Government is to retrain people to a Socialist way of thinking. Big Government knows better than "We The People." To control all aspects of our lives. As long as I'm on this good earth, I refuse to be retrained. WE CANNOT LET A SOCIALIST, FASCIST GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER.....EVEN AT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY LEVEL. Too many good people in the past have worked hard to bring our City to its present level. I personally will try to expose the THREE AND THEIR EVIL AGENDA.
Gustav Hellbro June 11, 2014 at 06:03 PM
Mr. Adams, I appreciate your common sense approach while sitting in chambers. Keep up the good work protecting us from this unrelenting stack of proposed regulations and useless state bills the State is trying to get passed. I do my part to be "green", and don't need to ticketed to do what is right.


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