The Lacey City Council Thursday night voted 4-3 to bring a plastic bag ban ordinance before the council for a future vote and bring the city a step closer to joining Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County as communities that have already adopted a single-use plastic bag ban ordinance.
Voting for the next step in the process were Mayor Andy Ryder, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt, Councilmen Jeff Gadman and Michael Steadman.
Councilmen Lenny Greenstein, Jason Hearn and Virgil Clarkson voted against it. They also lost on an effort to bring the vote to the people.
Ryder said it was time for the council to show leadership on the issue, noting that the council has spent almost a year discussing it.
He said it was time to do this for the “greater good.”
As part of the city’s process, comment cards were mailed to 15,000 utility customers within the city limits. That data, compiled and recently presented to the council, showed the city received 1,276 responses. More than 50 percent – 51.49 percent – are in favor of the ban, while 44.44 percent are against it, with 4.08 percent still undecided.
Those in favor of the ban said it was the right thing to do for the environment, while those against it argued that single-use bags are not that at all, but are reused for many purposes.
Pratt supported the ordinance, saying the city has done plenty of public outreach on the issue, while Gadman said it is time to lead.
“Our job is to lead on significant issues,” he said.
Council members Clarkson, Hearn and Greenstein leaned in favor of putting it to a vote of the people.
Greenstein said the survey data did not show clear direction and that it should be put to a vote, while Hearn said that not putting this to a vote of the people was a “dangerous precedent.”
“We need the direct consent of the voter,” he said.
Clarkson was concerned about the number of low-income children in the city — he said it numbered 1,700 — who participate in a weekend meal program that uses single-use plastic bags.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com