A first-hand account of what happened at the last thirty minutes of Pasadena City Council’s meeting on Monday, May 9, 2016, in which the City Council vote to ban polystyrene food and beverage was unanimous .
What a night!
By Morey Wolfson
There was a large, positive outpouring of citizens in the Council Chambers- the room was packed.
Staff of the Public Works Department did a fine job outlining the problems with Polystyrene; including (for the first time) a statement to the Council that Styrofoam is imposing a cost on the City.
It was so encouraging hearing one Councilmember after another citing Styrofoam’s health hazards and environmental problems.
Probably about a dozen Styrofoam restaurants were present at the start of the session. But after they heard Staff’s report and Councilmembers’ statements, they could see the writing on the wall, and ran for the exits.
There were about 40 people who spoke in favor of the ban!
Only one Styrofoam restaurant stuck around to speak in opposition to the ban. One person applauded – probably the DART lobbyist.
The writing on the wall didn’t deter the well-paid lobbyists, who went to the microphone in a last-ditch effort.
A representative from the California Restaurant Association said “alternative take-out containers cost an additional 25 to 50 cents.”
The real cost difference is anywhere between 1 and 4 cents.
It was a decidedly bad night for DART Container Corporation.
The photo above shows about a third of the citizens who celebrated in the hallway after the vote.
Two Councilmembers (Victor Gordo and Gene Masuda) are in the picture.
A few minutes later, Mayor Terry Tornek (read his speech here), Councilmember Margaret McAustin, along with Councilmember John Kennedy and Pasadena Director of Public Works Ara Maloyan, came out to the lobby to congratulate us.
> Watch a Video of Mayor Terry Tornek, Councilmember Margaret McAustin, and Councilmember John Kennedy coming out to the applause of citizens outside of the chambers.
What happens next?
- The Council sent instruction to the City Administration to prepare the ordinance.
- A draft has already been prepared, dating back to October 2015.
- The Administration will send the proposed ordinance to the Council for First Reading- probably in a few weeks.
- Then it will be up again for Second Reading.
- Then it will (presumably) pass.
It could take almost 60 days before the ordinance is officially passed.
Morey Wolfson is a member of the Pasadena Environmental Advisory Commission.