A group of local residents, led by Tom Jamieson and Ginny Scantlebury, have joined forces with the bag ban activist group Save Our Choice to seek repeal of Shoreline's new plastic bag ban.
Ordinance No. 653, which regulates the distribution of plastic and paper carryout bags by Shoreline retail establishments was adopted by the Shoreline City Council on April 29, 2013. The new regulations become effective on February 1, 2014.
A referendum petition is underway, which would require the City Council to either repeal the Ordinance in its entirety or put the question to the voters in the next general election. Jamieson said that the petitioners need to get at signatures from 15 percent of the number of people who voted in the last general election by May 29, or about 6,000 signatures.
Jamieson, admits that's a tall order, since voter participation generally rises in a presidential election year. Two similar efforts by Save Our Choice, in Seattle and in Issaquah, missed the mark last year when bag bans were passed in those cities.
If the referendum petition does get enough valid signatures, the the city has two options, repeal the ordinance or put it to the voters, Jamieson said.
"I believe if they put it to the voters the voters will reject it," he said.
Shoreline is not the first Washington city to resist the regulation of retail carryout bags. “Save Our Choice was founded in December 2011 to first oppose the Seattle bag ban and bag tax,” says co-founder Craig Keller. “We are a band of volunteer citizens dedicated to fiercely defending consumer and merchant choice and to questioning the authority of utopians.”
Some Shoreline residents agree. Jamieson said, “The City has not made a compelling case. This ordinance unjustifiably restrains trade, punishes customers, provides no provable benefit to the environment, and includes no method for measuring reductions in waste or litter. Moreover, reusable bags have not been shown to be in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Shoreline.”
Ginny Scantlebury, speaking on behalf of the Shoreline Caucus, supports a repeal of the bag ban, the group said in a news release. “This ordinance goes against 3 core values that the Caucus believes in strongly: limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. We don’t think that the Shoreline City Council should be involved in whether there should be plastic bags or not. They should not dictate what kind of bags the stores can offer, and they have more important issues to deal with.”
According to the Shoreline Municipal Code, a Referendum Petition must be submitted to the City within 30 days of the passage date of the ordinance. The Shoreline City Clerk has communicated a deadline of May 29 at 5:00PM for the referendum petition.
The Shoreline Referendum Petition is available for download at www.saveourchoice.us
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Tom Jamieson at 206-300-7606 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ginny Scantlebury at email@example.com. Contributions (check, no cash) may be mailed to Save Our Choice, PO Box 16716, Seattle, WA 98116.