Plastic bags are not the problem
Like Richmond and El Cerrito, the city of Pittsburg recently approved a plastic bag ban. Brentwood and Oakley are considering doing likewise.
Guess they haven't done their fact checking. Illegal dumping is the problem, not plastic bags. Plastic bags represent a fraction of California's total waste stream, are 100 percent recyclable and take 80 percent less energy to make than paper. In addition, politicians want merchants to charge consumers a fee for paper bags and fine merchants if they don't.
Currently, consumers can drop plastic bags, sacks and wraps in plastic bag recycling bins at participating stores. The recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products such as backyard decks, playground equipment and fences. Any tax or ban would threaten this quickly growing green industry and threaten jobs.
Unintended consequences of plastic bag bans are increased shoplifting and spikes in emergency room treatments due to E. coli infections attributed to the use of reusable grocery bags.
Also, Health Canada and the U.S. military have recognized the health risk inherent in reusable grocery bags, which should be cleaned and disinfected between use to prevent food cross contamination.
We must help homeless vets
As we approach Veterans Day, I would like to call attention to AB 639, which will be a ballot measure next June.
California has 2 million veterans and leads the nation in homeless vets -- some 19,000 of them. Twenty-five percent of homeless vets in the United States live in our state.
Many of these veterans need access to multifamily housing they can afford and units equipped with community support services such as mental-health counseling, substance abuse treatment and help with physical injuries.
Our veterans, who served us and returned home, need to find that civilian life welcomes them.
Control renters, control crime
I would like to respond to Donna Tavis' letter to the editor on Nov. 1 (Contra Costa Times) titled "Control renters, control crime." In my opinion this letter hit the nail on the head concerning the problems people are encountering in the old and surrounding sections of downtown Antioch. In February of this year, a Community Crime Prevention Forum was held at Antioch High School addressing the many problem encountered by Section 8 individuals.
One interesting fact that was disclosed is Antioch has 1,977 Section 8 vouchers (the most in the county) while there are 398 vouchers in Brentwood, and 297 in Oakley. I have tried to find an answer to this outrageous variance of numbers between the cities.
The only answer I have received is "Antioch's bigger." It seems to me the answer is landlords are greedy and need the money, and the "heck" with anything else. The people who need Section 8 help are seniors and ill people, and they seem unable to qualify for this assistance.
The Antioch City Council needs to step up and start addressing this problem. The Housing Authority needs to hire more fraud investigators to crack down on the problem areas that are so obvious to the people that see them every day. City Councilman Gary Agopian stated "The time for talk is over. The time for action has begun."
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