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Burbank City Council endorses statewide ban on plastic bags

The Burbank City Council endorsed on Tuesday a state proposition on the Nov. 8 ballot that aims to uphold a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Council members voted 3-2, with councilmen David Gordon and Bob Frutos voting against the move, to formally support Proposition 67, which if approved by state voters, would ratify Senate Bill 270, legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2014 that prohibited grocery stores and convenience stores from distributing single-use plastic bags to customers.

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It also imposed a 10-cent charge on paper bags.

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Though the governor signed the bill, it was suspended in early 2015 after a statewide referendum effort backed by more than 800,000 residents put the issue on the November ballot.

Unlike neighboring cities, Burbank does not have a law on its books banning the use of single-use plastic bags, said Bonnie Teaford, the city's public works director, adding that the City Council in the past has advocated for a statewide ban.

"We recommended support of Proposition 67 because it's consistent with longstanding city policy," she said.

The discussion regarding whether council members should take a stance on the issue came up during a meeting on Oct. 11, when David Roesner, chair of the Sustainable Burbank Commission, asked council members to consider supporting Proposition 67.

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During that meeting, Roesner talked about the negative effects plastic bags have on the environment, saying that marine animals ingest plastic bag fragments causing health issues.

Gordon stated during last week's meeting that he was not in favor of a statewide ban. However, on Tuesday, his issue was not with the state law but rather the city choosing to take a stance on the proposition.

"I don't think it's appropriate for us to set the precedent of taking votes on propositions that are statewide measures as a council," he said. "There are people in Burbank that might support it or not support it. We're here to do decision-making that affects them and our little circle in Burbank."

Frutos concurred with Gordon, adding that it should be up to residents throughout the state to make a decision on the matter.

Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy argued that approving to support the proposition would only be reaffirming what council members have approved of in the past.

"By saying that we support [Proposition] 67 is merely acknowledging something that we agreed to when SB 270 was adopted," she said.

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Anthony Clark Carpio, anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

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Twitter: @acocarpio

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