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Free to choose: Will voters choose freedom on Oct. 1?

Posted: September 18, 2013 - 3:16pm

The water was tranquil, with hardly a ripple as far as the eye could see. 

Dad had gone around the corner in the boat while the rest of us stayed on the long gray gravel beach. He returned a short while later with the floating dock from our cabin in tow. He anchored it off shore about 20 feet. From it, my brother and cousins and I could use it as a diving platform into the icy clear waters.

You could see the ocean bottom with bright orange and red starfish, green sea urchins and the occasional fish swimming by. For hours we would brave those frigid waters and splash about, and then back on to the dock to thaw in the high summer sun.

Yes, growing up in Homer with our backyard being Kachemak Bay was a blessing. It is with pride that I reflect on my choice to also raise my family here in Homer, and in turn my oldest daughter is likewise raising her children here.  

Some of my favorite memories include fishing in the rich waters of the bay and Cook Inlet; hiking the banks of the crystal clear Rocky River; and my weekly visits to Bishops Beach to clear my mind.

I share these memories with you to explain, yes, I love not only the lifestyle of living in Alaska, but I also have a tremendous amount of respect for her environment.

So why not support a ban on thin plastic single use bags? 

Because the law banning these thin plastic bags is a feckless law designed not to reduce pollution; rather it is designed to change your behavior. The proof of this is in the commentary by the councilmen who proposed the law: “Nice to see more people bringing their own bags to the store.” Not once have they mentioned seeing fewer bags in our waters; and after all it was the nature of these bags and their ability to float that was used as the impetus of this law (tax increase).

It was never about pollution; it is a behavior modification law with the specific goal of changing the way you shop. It feels good to be part of a movement that could eliminate the massive garbage patch in the ocean; or prevent even one sea turtle from confusing a floating bag with food and choking to death.  

This is a law that “sounds too good to oppose.” When you look closer you realize that plastic bags are not banned, just the ones that allow vendors to provide them as part of the natural course of doing business. If they hand out the thicker bags they will have to charge for them; this is a tax.

Already stores have brought in pallet loads of paper bags. Imagine the carbon footprint expansion based on shipping these thousands of pounds of bags to the end of the road, in addition to the massive expense. Not to mention the countless trees that must be sacrificed to meet this growing demand. 

I’m not sure about you, but the thin plastic “single use” bags that have been banned were never single use in my household. We use and reuse these bags for lunches, trash can liners and many other uses.  

In closing, remember also that not all thin bags have been banned; you are still able to put your organic kale, nuts, bolts and more in the very thickness of bag that has been banned, and these bags are truly single use. And yes, the city of Homer is still giving these thin bags away to entomb your animal’s excrement at sensitive beach locations.   

The argument that you hear most often is, “it’s not that hard to remember your own bag.”

When we start allowing a city council or any elected body to modify your behavior into the image they see fit, it’s only a matter of time before all freedom to choose is forfeited in favor of laws designed to sound too good to oppose.  

There are ways to prevent pollution and promote better stewardship of our environment without encroaching on our freedoms. Choose freedom while you still can.

Chris Story is the owner-broker of Story Real Estate and the host of Alaska Matters, a radio show that airs every Tuesday on KGTL AM620.

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Alaska Jo
Alaska Jo 09/19/13 - 12:15 pm
enough with the bags

There are many, many more issues facing our community such as the way the city council ramrodded all of the citizens of Homer into paying for a gas line for Enstar and the rich who could afford a complete appliance makeover, or the fact that the city council continues to ignore what the community requests and does whatever they want with our funds from our tax dollars.

I have been listening to your show and am gravely disappointed in the way you dismissed the concerns of at least three people that wrote in about the community center and the children in our community who need a Boys and Girls club and Teen center, and instead went on your own rant about how we need a 15 million police/fire station.

Do you serve the community with your talk show, or are you expecting the community to blindly follow your self serving ideas?

JackO 09/21/13 - 05:50 pm
Grow Up Chris

Children reach adulthood when they realize that no, they can't always have everything they want. Some "grown-ups" stay children their whole lives. "Freedom" is the code word they use when throwing a tantrum because they just don't like not getting to do whatever the hell they want to. Alaska seems to be the last refuge for many of these brats. Adults realize that they are part of a local and global community and that the greater good can sometimes infringe on their child-like wants and wishes.

Parapraxis 09/22/13 - 09:15 pm
Grow up and move on!

You need to grow up and move on mister! The world has changed while you remain prepubescent, dragging around your wubby in a plastic bag no doubt! You see Chris, by sticking to a topic that you care about, you are in danger of accomplishing something. #BORING

While you were in a timeout from your last tantrum the world has shifted into digital high gear. The blogosphere and twitter now excrete out bite size talking points that help us know what to care about from minute to minute.

You babble on and on about freedom, but isn't it true that you would take away our freedom of choice? Once you get the bag ban repealed I will no longer be able to bring my own reusable bag with me to the grocery store, right? I will be forced to use the bags that the store provides, thus you would see us restored to a time when eagles donned “Safeway Ponchos” and people were free to throw plastic bags into the sea.

Do you see what I did there? Instead of naming calling like a child, grown-ups present cogent arguments to advance the debate. Think on this as you follow Cooper around with that blue bag of yours!

JackO 09/23/13 - 03:42 pm
Blinded By The Light

Of your cleverness. #we'renotworthy.

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