Thursday, December 29, 2011

Manhattan Beach, Smokers, and Plastic Bags

So the wealthy seaside community of Manhattan Beach has won the legal battle to ban plastic bags. They have also banned smoking along the Strand.

Regarding the California Supreme Court decision to uphold the bag ban, let us ponder the things that the city could have done with tax-payer money besides pursuing this bag ban. Improving local transit in the community comes to mind. Enacting bold innovation in the successful school district would also have been commendable. What exactly was the point of telling local merchants that they can no longer provide plastic bags to customers? While trying to save the environment, they have wasted time, energy, and political will.

I deeply regret the pain inflicted on a councilmember who lost a parent to smoking, but micromanaging the lives of consenting adults will not bring a parent back nor restore the health of one so dearly loved. Enacting or enforcing a fine for littering would have been simpler, effective, and more respectable than an outright ban. Do we really need more peace officers divert to police such individual follies?

Parochial concerns and private interests have no place informing or moving public policy. Public interests alone should dictate the role of local government, which ultimately should be as limited as possible. All of this nanny-state liberalism is a joke, whether it affects small businesses ore entire communities.

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