Straw Ban Can Suck It    

  By: Katie Petrick
   Published : July 30, 2018

Of all the reasons that could possibly land you in jail, sipping your water from a straw should not make the list. But leave it to California to suck it up and make plastic drinking facilitators illegal.

Starbucks recently announced its plan to rid itself of plastic straws by 2020, and now California cities are jumping on the bandwagon. Starbucks announced on July 9, its intent to remove plastic straws from all of its 28,000 stores worldwide, thereby eliminating an estimated one billion straws per year. Straws are out, but they want to treat you like children and give you sippy cups, which makes perfect sense in the hysteria of 2018. Other private companies joining in the removal of straws include Disney, American Airlines, Hilton Hotels, and Ikea.

Private companies can make the switch if they choose, but now city governments are telling its citizens that straws are banned. It started in predictable Seattle, but California cities are claiming the last straw, with Santa Barbara giving out the most stringent of ordinances. A citizen caught with a straw will be given a written warning notice for a first offense, but a second offense may cost up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months. Now the city has backpedaling on the jail time stipulation, saying “there is no intention to strictly enforce the ordinance.”

Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Cruz also have bans, but the real kicker is San Francisco, the largest of these cities and the one which reveals the most hypocrisy. The San Francisco board of supervisors unanimously favored an ordinance last week, which requires a second vote this upcoming week.

San Francisco seeks to amend its Environment Code, effective January 1st, 2020, prohibiting the sale or use of straws, stir sticks, and takeout containers treated with fluorinated chemicals. Restaurants would also not be allowed to offer napkins or utensils for takeout orders unless specifically asked by the customer, or if there is a self-serve station.

The board laid out its concern for environmental impacts and cited the litter on the streets and waterways as evidence for the necessity of banning straws. At the exact same time, headlines about the streets of San Francisco include drugs, needles, and human feces.

A bus driver this past week found it necessary to warn patrons about possible drug needles—made with plastic—sticking out of the seats and to look before they sat down. He was kind enough to repeat the warning at every stop before an employee came onto the bus to take care of it. And recently elected mayor, London Breed, said in June that the city was in essence a feces dump.

“There is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here. That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans,” Breed said.

Unfortunately, this newest rage is not really about saving the environment, just as all of these so-called-movements are never about what they claim. This is about trying to get conformity and one world order of you-must-bow-to-our-will. Banning straws across cities is the newest trend and will fade when someone puts a spotlight on the next crisis.

Elected officials are looking at what is the latest uproar and then making policy about it without analyzing all sides of the story. Banning straws is no exception. This is clearly seen in Santa Barbara’s ordinance having no exemption for the disabled. Certain disabilities make it impossible for some people to drink without the aid of a straw. And straws are commonly used by elderly and the young. Without this exemption, Santa Barbara best be prepared for lawsuits.

“People with disabilities want to save the planet. We also need to be able to drink. These two positions do not have to be mutually exclusive. Banning plastic straws entirely is not the answer,” said Robyn Powell, a self-titled proud disabled woman and attorney, in an article written in Huffington Post explaining the detriment of the straw ban.

What the politicians are missing, especially in San Francisco, but all throughout the state are the issues that affect the mass population. They are not focusing on the fact that California has the highest total homeless population at more than 134,000 or the fact that less than one-third of schoolchildren are proficient in math or reading. And what about those tax rates?

But the elephant in the room question is: What happens if an illegal alien gets caught sipping on a straw?

The straws are not good for the environment, but they are not the issue to focus upon and call a win for passing some legislation. But we know that more cities will follow suit and claim themselves courageous. So for everyone reading this, suck it up now, because by 2019 it is going to suck pretty badly if these ordinances continue to be approved.

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