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Education Matters: Antonovich's arguments are short-sighted

November 26, 2010|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

Mike Antonovich was the lone dissenting voice on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in voting to ban plastic shopping bags in all markets and convenience stores in unincorporated areas. He defended his position by stating that it is not "sound public policy" and that it was not the "appropriate time to clean up our environment" or "impose regulations on business."

I honestly don't know where to begin to express my disdain for this elected official. He's been around for a number of years, has represented his constituents well in matters of overdevelopment in our area, but falls flat on his face in this one. Let me try to address some of the supervisor's concerns.

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He says it's not the time to be thinking of cleaning up the environment because our economy is bad. I find that an interesting set of priorities for one we look to for leadership. That exalted title has more to it than seeing to the short term comfort of the voting population. It should include, it must include, decisions based on the welfare of unborn generations, and if that involves urging "sacrifice" for us all now, then so be it. Anything less than that is a dereliction of duty. Just where is Mr. Antonovich coming from on this one?

I've got to believe that the plastics industry has ample weight to throw around in its continuing campaign to absolve itself of any liability whatsoever from the harm that its products cause. I know enough about the political process in this country to be just a little wary whenever a politician sides with a major industry that has come under public scrutiny, or, heaven forbid, government regulation.

But there is another industry, more powerful by far than plastics that enters into this picture. The enormous demand for plastic bags ties into the surging global demand for oil — plastic bags are made from ethylene, a petroleum byproduct. In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used annually to make plastic bags that Americans consume.

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