OP/ED: Why is WeHo fighting plastic utensils when businesses are struggling to recover from pandemic?

West Hollywood….our city council is at it again!

Tucked neatly into the consent calendar for tomorrow night’s city council meeting (a strategic move to avoid discussion, debate or dissension) is an ordinance put forth by Sepi Shyne and John Erickson that bans the use of plastic products in food service. This means that restaurants, already overwhelmed as they attempt to keep up with new pandemic-related operational guidelines, will have to allocate time and resources to sourcing replacements for the single-use plastic straws, utensils, containers, lids, lid plugs, cups, bowls that were actually mandated during the pandemic. And you can bet that the cost of suitable replacements for these items will be higher, meaning one more hit to the bottom line of these businesses that are already dealing with the huge losses of nearly two years of business interruptions resulting from the pandemic and the protests that closed businesses throughout West Hollywood repeatedly.

Once again, the actions of the council raise the question, “Why Now?” And why without any discussion or study?

The issues of both the timing and lack of study of this ordinance are far more complicated than they may seem at face value. First, restaurants are already having to make adjustments to their operations to adhere to a profusion of new guidelines coming at them from the state, the county and the city in response to the latest stage of the COVID pandemic. Why would our city council add to their burden with a new ordinance now? Santa Monica took two years to study and consider their food service plastic ban, and it certainly wasn’t relegated to consent calendar.

Second, there is a lack of clarity as to the benefits of the bioplastics recommended to replace the current plastic of the single use items. A growing body of scientific research suggests that the bioplastic alternatives recommended to replace the plastics currently used may not, in fact, suitably bio-degrade. In fact, the headline of an article published in a 2016 issue of the UN Environment Programme reads “Biodegradable Plastics Are Not the Answer to Reducing Marine Litter.”. So why is our council ramrodding this ordinance through when we are lacking confirmation that the recommended alternative products are actually doing the job of reducing marine litter?

Third, if you’ve opened a newspaper or listened to the TV news recently you should be well aware that Americans are facing shortages of cars, shirts, electronics, raw materials and many, many more products because of COVID-19 related manufacturer delays and shipping tie-ups. And these delays are driving up wholesale costs. Until these issues are resolved businesses will likely face long delays and higher costs in procuring adequate inventories of the new single use replacement items. Unless our council members have their heads in the sand, they are well aware of this issue and the impact it could have on our restaurant owners. Shouldn’t the council have taken this into consideration before pushing this ordinance through?

As was the case with the hotel ordinance, I am at an absolute loss to come up with any reason how or why our city council would propose such an egregious ordinance on our restaurants with no discussion or study and at this moment in time when they struggle to recover from a year and a half of tremendous business losses due to COVID. But it does appear that a pattern is emerging that suggests for our newer council members the rush to build a portfolio of “vanity” legislation to establish their own personal political identity and legacy supersedes any commitment to supporting our local business community as they fight to keep their doors open and their staffs employed in the face of the significant losses incurred during the pandemic.

First it was the hotel ordinance. Next it was the introduction of the new, higher minimum wage. And now we have a plastics ban impacting restaurants. Three clear examples of policy (in a rather short period of time) that undercuts the pandemic recovery efforts of our businesses. West Hollywood, I urge you to let our city council know that you do not support the passage of this kind of vanity legislation at the expense of the businesses and residents of our community. Remember, government exists to serve the people, not themselves. Demand accountability.

Keith Kaplan is a resident and property owner in West Hollywood for over 35 years. This reflects his voice, not the voice of any other individual or organization.

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Richard Luna
Richard Luna
16 days ago

Why??? The answer is obvious. They’ve officially run out of problems. Utopia at last! It’s a miracle! Systemic stupidity.

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
17 days ago

we’re dealing with socialist liberals who also happen to be Californians, need I say more.

Buzzcuts
Buzzcuts
17 days ago

Typical Weho. Making bad situations worse. All those ex meth heads that run the city are the worst kind of control freaks. Besides Weho rarely does anything to better the quality of life for anyone, except developers.

Michael
Michael
17 days ago

Dogs have a much bigger CARBON FOOTPRINT than plastic cutlery. Where are the proposals to curb the sale of pets? Does anyone realize that the meat dogs eat in their food is environmentally not friendly? Or all the poop bags that are made of the same material as the plastic fork LOL? Or the dog walker that drove from the valley just to walk a dog in West Hollywood? If West Hollywood was interested in Saving the environment then they would examine how the public space sprinklers at night water the streets and sidewalks. It’s a farce. Smoke and mirrors.… Read more »

Arbitrary Ideas
Arbitrary Ideas
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael

There is a dearth of common sense and logic residing at City Hall. Instead of necessary critical thinkers there are interminable studies done by folks that never leave the four corners of their screens or desks. There are also a few that are overqualified so it is nice they are here. The inconsistent cross-section creates its own chaos.

Meanwhile the dog situation is exponentially out of control.

Danny
Danny
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael

The sale of dogs is illegal in West Hollywood.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
17 days ago

We can do both, Keith. We can do both.

Why do you call out certain councilmembers by name? This didn’t pass by the vote of only two, it passed by a majority vote.

Keith Kaplan. Chamber Board past-president. Executive Director of the Fur Information Council of America. (Seems you’re still sore about Mr. D’Amico’s bill to ban fur sales in WeHo.)

You seem to shill for anyone who will put another dollar in your pocket. Your bubbe must be proud.

Fisher Man
Fisher Man
17 days ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

Michael King why don’t you use your real name? At least Keith Kaplan is honest and uses his real name.

Chloe Ross
17 days ago

Lack of due diligence in terms of how one impacts the other. And often since elected – some of our councilpersons jump to hot button issues without forethought, impact and benefits v. negatives. Like the scooters. The job isn’t to find a ‘good’ thing to champion and just run with it. The job is to see the benefits and deficits for both sides, weigh them and then offer them to the city.Issues hiden within the agenda are GOP tactics and not good politics or consideration for the tax revenues that support WeHo. This is ‘look at me’ button pushing. If… Read more »

Arbitrary Ideas
Arbitrary Ideas
17 days ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Bravo Chloe! Logic and reason….in short supply these days as some must think that type of consideration to be obsolete.

BTW, In China, people carry their own chopsticks so problem solved.

Richard Luna
Richard Luna
16 days ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

GOP tactics??? It’s a one party state, you half wit.

Arbitrary Ideas
Arbitrary Ideas
16 days ago
Reply to  Richard Luna

What is it with the wave of sarcasm here tonight? She likened it to GOP tactics admittedly in a one party state.

Danny
Danny
17 days ago

Keith Kaplan, the guy who supports and fights for the fur trade is against the ban of single use plastic? Surprise, surprise! This is the same guy who said that all retailers will move out of weho if we banned fur while receiving paychecks from the fur trade to promote the barbaric and brutal skinning of sentient beings. The Restaurants that serve good food, are smart business people and know how to treat customers well have had the opportunity to double their space since Covid and are doing extremely well… Bravo to council for taking any and all measures to… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
17 days ago

The ban would not go into effect immediately. Every company or corporation that uses plastics is not coming into new information.
We have to do everything possible to mitigate plastics and to see if we can lessen the severity of climate chaos.
Be prepared to change or be prepared to pay.

WehoFan
WehoFan
16 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Which weho business is yours?

Eric Daniel
Eric Daniel
20 days ago

I agree now is not the time. If the city wants to help, they should go after and fine the people who keep tossing their trash on the ground that winds up in storm drains. this includes the people that dumpster dive and toss stuff out of the large dumpsters at several business.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
17 days ago
Reply to  Eric Daniel

Why not minimize the trash in the first place? If there’s less trash, there’s likely less on the ground as well, less in the storm drains, less being tossed ‘overboard’ by dumpster divers. (Perhaps too intelligent a solution for you?)

Randy
Randy
21 days ago

Imagine that, a business lobby, who will complain about something that affects businesses, without much regard for anyone else, including the environment. Puh-lease. I’m so sick and tired of people in our community claiming to have “liberal values,” and then being against anything that might inconvenience them, including taking care of the homeless, making things better for the environment (this includes, the use of scooters and e-bikes), “hero pay,” the hotel ordinance, or anything similar. Most things that affect the most oppressed in our society. Such hypocrisy. People’s “liberal values” go away swiftly when it affects their bottom line. NIMBYism.… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
21 days ago
Reply to  Randy

The comments on Wehoville DEFINITELY do not reflect the actual values of West Hollywood residents. Your comment is spot on though.

Plastic spoon
Plastic spoon
21 days ago
Reply to  Randy

That may be so – and certainly the future seems to hold for more scarcity, and with lowered standards of living compared with the prior two generations for many if not most people. But heres the deal: the people doing the talking arent showing credible leadership through their actions. Oh, sure, they talk a good game on progressive and virtuous political stances that ever so conveniently align with those of the ruling class society causes de jour. Are they leading by example? I dont hear too much about how they have gone zero carbon in their lives, have eliminated single… Read more »

Graham
Graham
17 days ago
Reply to  Randy

Liberal values plastic covers on paper straws pretty much sums up their thinking. Plus supporting this brain dead a** h*** in the White House. What a disgrace to this nation.

Buzzcuts
Buzzcuts
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham

As if the previous White House resident was better. It’s cute when y’all pine for failed fascism and a pathetic loser.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Buzzcuts

Fascist how? Course you won’t have an answer because you’re as brain dead as your unelected pedophile in the White House. Just go play your Cardio B. Records, that’s as deep as you get.

FREE WEHO!
21 days ago

Sign the petition to recall Erickson NOW! Send a message to our tyrannical leaders that NOBODY is above reproach.
Go to TinyURL.com/FreeWeho
-or click on username for link-

HatersBGone
HatersBGone
22 days ago

Syne and Erickson need to go! They continue a march towards copying everything Beverly Hills and Santa Monica do until the entire City is filled with “affordable housing”, ultra-wealthy penthouses, and statues of our dear leaders with their pockets bursting with outside money.

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