Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Plastic bag ban proponents release rap video

A large pile of washed-up trash, including old plastic bags, sits alongside the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Calif.
A large pile of washed-up trash, including old plastic bags, sits alongside the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Calif. AP

In the final days of the 2016 election cycle, campaigns are reaching for ways to break through the noise and sway voters.

One example: A rap video promoting the plastic bag ban.

The video, paid for by the Northern California Recycling Association, follows a mass of plastic bags walking along the California coast. The song’s hook – “The planet is in trouble, ban the bags, nature needs our help, ban the bags, the ocean is suffocating, ban the bags, Prop 67, Prop 67”– plays up the detrimental effect plastic bags have on the environment.

While a low-budget music video may seem like an odd way to connect with voters, almost everything about Proposition 67 is unusual.

The campaigns for and against the ban are operating with pennies compared to other ballot measure coalitions. The plastic bag industry has raised $6.1 million so far to fight the ban. The environmentalists and grocers on the other side report substantially less: $1.6 million.

Neither campaign has aired a traditional advertisement, but the plastic bag industry silence is particularly curious.

After Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 270 banning single-use plastic bags across the state in 2014, the industry launched a referendum that halted the law from taking effect and turned it over to a vote of the people. They also launched a sister measure, Proposition 65, that takes the revenue off paper and reusable bag sales away from grocers and into an environmental fund.

The No on 67 campaign has spent $2.5 million so far, with the bulk of the money spent on early signature gathering, and just $36,000 in the last three months. It has no website and a “No on Prop 67” Twitter account has two followers.

The apparent lack of an opposition campaign gives credence to the theory that the referendum was a ploy by the industry to postpone the ban for two years to sell more bags in the meantime.

WORTH REPEATING: “An “F” grade that my Chinese parents are proud of.”

– Tweet from Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, touting the voting record grade he got from the National Rifle Association.

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