Atascadero shoudn't secede from countywide waste agency

Two weeks ago, I was stuck in traffic on Highway 101 near Buellton and soon ordered by a CHP officer to turn around and head back to Santa Barbara. Up ahead I saw black smoke.

I learned hours later that there had been a terrible traffic collision between a passenger car and a big rig.

The driver of the truck was killed at the scene. But a young mother and her two children, one only 10 weeks old, survived because they were wearing mandatory seat belts and the children were strapped in car seats.

Thirty years ago I was against mandatory seat belt legislation, just as I opposed smoking bans, being required to wear a helmet when I rode my motorcycle and more.

It was my right to decide if I needed to be buckled in or wear a helmet, I thought then.

But now I don’t back out of the garage until I buckle up. I love smoke-free restaurants and public events and I am glad I was made to wear a motorcycle helmet.

I’ve come to accept the fact that some government regulation is necessary in our personal lives, for our own good and the good of the nation, as well.

At one time I may have opposed the county’s action to ban plastic bags.

Now I applaud it, only wishing the ban went into effect next month. I see those bags everywhere along the road, in the flower beds of the condominium where I live and elsewhere.

My wife and I are slowly learning to carry cloth bags into the grocery store. I wish we could reduce the plastics used in packaging nuts and bolts to some food products.

I bought my wife a tiny flashlight the other day and it took 10 minutes of cutting to extricate it from its plastic cocoon.

I know that voting for the ban was not easy for those who did so because they knew they would incur the wrath of those who believe government once again has overstepped its bounds.

I read last week that Mayor Bob Kelley has suggested that the City Council may consider at a future meeting the idea of withdrawing from the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority in protest of the plastic bag ban.

At one time, this city was a leader on such environmental issues as reducing its waste products in the landfill and preserving trees.

To withdraw from the waste authority would be an embarrassment and go a long way in proving the theory (held by those living over the hill to the south of us) that intelligent life does indeed end at the top of the Cuesta Grade.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.