Bouquets and Brickbats: Cheers for plastic bag ban

We’re delivering a biodegradable bouquet to each member of the county waste management board who voted in favor of the ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. The change may take some getting used to, but any inconvenience is minor when you consider the benefits, including a reduction in ugly litter on roads, parks, beaches and waterways.

... and boos to threat of legal action

Even before the ink was dry on the newly enacted countywide ban on plastic shopping bags, opponents were bombastically threatening to sue within 30 days. In addition to dire warnings about dangerous bacteria lurking in reusable bags, opponents attacked the ban as “tyranny wrapped in environmentalism” and an intrusion on personal choice.

We wonder, is this really about protecting personal choice, or about the plastic bag industry wanting to protect its turf by fighting bag bans in every community where they’ve been proposed?

We don’t expect everyone to like the bag ban, but portraying this as a tyrannous attack on the freedom to choose plastic over paper is an insult to all who face real attacks on their personal liberties. The next time we hear such over-the-top rhetoric, we’ll unpack the load of brickbats we’re storing in our reusable canvas sacks — but not to worry, we washed them to eradicate all those “deadly” bacteria.

Savor event a great showcase

We’re preparing a well-done bouquetfor Savor the Central Coast, the four-day food and wine festival sponsored by the county Visitors and Conference Bureau and Sunset magazine.

Last fall’s event was a big economic boost for local governments and businesses, generating nearly $68,000 in sales tax and $77,000 in bed taxes. About 50 percent of attendees were from out of the county, and they spent nearly $1 million here. Overall, the economic impact of Savor was nearly $3 million last year — up nearly $500,000 over the initial festival held in 2010.

But enough talk of cabbage. Savor is a prestigious event that includes celebrity chefs, winemaker dinners, seminars, cooking and gardening demonstrations and plenty of opportunities to sample fine food and wine. It’s a great showcase for local farmers and vintners — and that’s sweet.

Join in on weekend food drive

We toss a public service bouquet to Cal Poly students and other volunteers who will spend the weekend honoring Martin Luther King by taking part in a food drive. They’ll distribute food collection bags Saturday at several neighborhoods throughout the county. Bags will be collected on Monday, and donations will be delivered to the Food Bank Coalition. If you’d like to join the volunteer effort, log on to http://www.slofoodbank.org.