I Need a Bigger Shovel

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Now what is the big deal over a little blue bag?

What blue bag do I refer to?  If you walk your dog, you know that I am referring to: your doggy poop bags.  For years the Village Elders have been telling us that our dog’s poo gets washed out to the ocean and through the Back Bay.  So we have been scolded to pick up after Fido.

For our convenience, the Village Elders have been providing those little dispensers with the little blue bags to pick up Fido’s poo.  Some of you may not know that one of the companies that have been providing for Fido’s conveniences is a homespun company that started on Balboa Island, and now located in Costa Mesa.  The Doggie Walk Bags Co. (DWB), according to its website, “is a family-owned-and-operated business.”

Chris Crosson is the owner and president of the company, and he actually grew up on Balboa Island.

Crossen’s company’s products have been cleaning up after Fido, helping to keep the nitrates, E. coli, and other bacteria out of Newport Harbor, since 1988.  I would call that environmentally friendly.

So the People’s Republic of Santa Monica (PRSM) is suing DWB because a recent state law, AB 1972, by Assemblyman Desaulnier (D-Martinez) went into effect in 2009.  This law forbids plastic container (bag) manufacturers from claiming that something is biodegradable even when they are.

Different bags degrade at different rates and under different circumstances.  But until the state figures out the standards, it has banned the use of “biodegradable” altogether. But DWB actually says “biodegradable” on its packaging, and the PRSM is going after them.

Hey, as far as I am concerned, as long as the bags don’t let Fido’s used dinner through the bag into my hand when I pick it up, I am happy.

So DWB is facing fines of $1,000 for the first bag and $2,000 for every bag after that (for rolls of 12 bags that is $25k each).  When notified, DWB immediately started putting labels over the “biodegradable” on their packaging that was in stock and for product that had not shipped.  They also redesigned their artwork to delete the undesirable words, at considerable expense.

According to news reports, the PRSM is not satisfied and is pursuing the fines – must be another revenue enhancer.

The PRSM is also pursuing DWB’s customers who may have products on the shelves with this offensive word.  Petco, in particular, has been targeted, told that these products were illegal and ordered to remove them from shelves in California.  Petco shipped them to stores outside California (now that sounds environmentally friendly – let’s ship them twice!).

PRSM is pursuing fines for them, as well.

All of this is without a trial or any judicial determination or a chance to correct.  I guess the PRSM doesn’t have any real crimes to pursue.  The PRSM has said that they will not even allow the words “Earth Friendly” on the packaging.  Who would have thought that picking up dog poo was NOT “earth friendly”?

PRSM is doing a Vladimir Lenin impression in their obsessive crusade to eliminate all plastic bags.

So DWB has enlisted the support of Assemblyman Allan Mansoor.  Mansoor would love to repeal the law, but knowing that this was pet legislation for the state at the time, is instead working to clean up some of the unintended consequences of the legislation.

And, as you may have guessed, there are many companies, beyond DWB, that have fallen into this quagmire with vindictive City Attorneys and District Attorneys, like the PRSM’s.

Mansoor is proposing legislation that would provide for warnings before fines, centralize the prosecution of the enforcement in the office of the Attorney General, establish some sort of administrative appeal process, and only hold the manufacturer responsible for the packaging.

Apparently there is some needed cleaning up in Sacramento.  Maybe DWB can loan Mansoor some little blue bags.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. This is just another in the endless siege against citizens and small business. You would think that these unnecessary civil servants would find a better way to spend their time. The green group wants a clean environment. So, what better way to start than having pet owners act responsibly? Now this. It is amazing how government has entered our lives in so many ways we do not need or want. Instead of shipping the bags out of state, let’s ship the government bags themselves elsewhere. It would certainly go a long way towards cleaning our environment of job killing legislation by the un-elected elite.

  2. I would expect nothing less than that form the PRSM.

    I remember the day when paper bags were everyone’s friend, then they were bad because the forests would disappear if we kept using them. We went to those flimsy little plastic bags. They were great, they saved the forests, held more weight, and wouldn’t fall apart when wet. All was well until they discovered that the bags were not edible for fish and they didn’t rot as fast as paper. Now the savior of the forest is the evil Satan of pollution. So we now have heavier plastic “reusable” bags. Many made from heavy plastic or synthetic fiber, they should take only 10 times as long to biodegrade. As soon as people realize that reusing bags with moist products in them, contaminated with raw chicken juices, milk products leaking into the bags, etc, people will get sick, a law will be passed, and we’ll all be saved from ourselves again, yeah!

  3. Scott: What an interesting story that echos of many others about the continual decline of Americans using sound judgement to do what’s right; and instead justify your existence by passing ludicrist laws to make a profit money. The Peoples Republica of Santa Monica (and all others like them) will one day have to give an account of their lives.

    What a bunch of phonies dressed in tree huger costumes drafted by Al Gore. To deny someone the commerce and usery to sell a product has a high need and has been used effectivly to clean the environment is evil on it’s own merits. But to make this decision to carry out this evil purly for the love of money puts you in the “Depart from me, I know you not” Department. Darkness and the smelling of sulfer begins for them and my it’s getting hot.

    Then the PRSM will know what crap they stirred up. And for what? To make the strokes on their BMW?

  4. One of my favorite hobbies is giving back to cities like the People’s Republic of Santa Monica. I like to remind them of their own crazy policies and words. They hate it when you do that.

    Let me give you a simple example. Any time any government agency’s performance is demonstrably lacking, they ALWAYS use the excuse of lowered revenues. “Our budget has been cut,” they whine. Here is your counter:

    “So if I am having tough times, can I use that as an excuse not to pay my property taxes or income taxes? Will you accept that?”