Council Postpones Vote On Plastic Bag Veto

Final Vote Likely Sept. 24th
Aaron Selbig


     The people of Homer will have to wait a couple more weeks to see whether or not a city-wide ban on disposable plastic shopping bags will go into effect. Last week, Homer Mayor Jim Hornaday vetoed the plastic bag ban but the city council took no action on the mayor’s veto at its meeting Monday night.

     For the third Homer City Council meeting in a row, a handful of people testified one way or the other on the plastic shopping bag ban. The very first to testify was Mayor Jim Hornaday himself.

     Hornaday left his seat at the council table to speak about his personal feelings on the plastic bag ordinance.

     "It kind of reminded me of the smoking ban," said Hornaday. "It's intersteing that most public buldings are now smoke-free and I'm hoping someting will happen about this."

     Hornaday reiterated his feelings that the ordinance is poorly written, with only vague notions of how the City of Homer would enforce it and what the penalties might be for violators.

     Sue Post is co-owner of the Homer Bookstore. She said she was thrilled when she first heard the plastic bag ban. Post said that for the last two years, she has made the conscious choice to use reusable cloth bags when she goes shopping – but she’s not sure the rest of Homer is ready to make that change.

     The main sponsor of the plastic bag ban – council member David Lewis – was absent from Monday’s meeting. His vote would possibly have been the necessary fourth vote needed to overturn the mayor’s veto.

     City Clerk Jo Johnson made a recommendation to postpone the vote on Hornaday’s veto. Johnson said that if council waits until its next meeting September 24th – when all of the council members are expected to be preset – it will still be within the 21-day deadline to take action on the matter.

     And with very little discussion, that’s exactly what the council did.

     After the vote, council member – and mayoral candidate – Beth Wythe agreed with Hornaday that moving away from the use of disposable plastic shopping bags isn’t necessarily a bad idea – but it shouldn’t be up to government to force that change.

     "Homer is a city of grassroots movements and I don't believe the city needs to establish a task force," said Wythe. "I do believe it is something that can be accomplished by the community without the council having to have a law put into place."

     The Homer City Council will once again take up the proposed ban on plastic shopping bags at its next meeting September 24th.