A couple of days ago, a gentleman came to my door asking for my signature, which would help put the matter of banning the single-use plastic bag on an upcoming ballot. Of course, I signed it, and the gentleman went on his way.

After he left, I thought to myself, who in their right mind wouldn’t sign such a petition?

Well, apparently there are those who won’t sign it. I call these folks elitists, and I cannot think of a clearer illustration of the elitist mentality.

An elitist is someone who believes that they know better than everyone else. So, an elitist would not want the public to decide what’s best for the public. The elitist knows best. He or she doesn’t want the matter put to a vote, because, perhaps as they see it, the public is too stupid to make its own decisions.

Accordingly, an elitist is the very antithesis of someone who believes in democracy, which requires some level of trust in the average John Q Public.

So the next time someone comes to your door asking you to help put a matter on the ballot, think about elitism, democracy, and on which side of the fence you are.

Jeff Limon


(10) comments


Then, again, there are those collecting signatures who are mis-representing themselves, or are paid by someone I don't want to support. If we, the public, intended to vote on every single thing, why do we have representatives? Council people? Congress or Senate? Why not just let everything go to a vote of the people? Let's see......it could be that nothing would ever get accomplished. Driving from Albany to Corvallis on Saturday, the trash by the side of the road was mostly comprised of plastic bags. All the supporters of this scourge keep harping about them being re-cycled, only - they are NOT re-cycled, and that's the problem. Bottom line, though, Limon - name calling isn't going to make me sign your petitions!


Mr. Snort Halbany, are you claiming that the people who want to put the bag ban question on the ballot are misrepresenting themselves, or are being paid to do so by someone? That's a pretty serious allegation. Do you have facts to back this up?

You're using the typical argument of a false dichotomy. Your implication that by putting this issue on the ballot we'd have to put every action of the city government on a ballot is just, well, ludicrous. Typically ludicrous.

Yes, we have representatives. We also have not just the right, but the DUTY to call them on things when we think they've been representing people other than the citizens. People like The Sierra Club or other eco-active organizations who want to make a statement and see the Corvallis City Council as a weak-willed carrier of other people's water. Like large grocery outfits that would love to get rid of free paper and plastic bags. Of course they'd love to sell you all the cloth bags you want, at a markup, or the same paper bags you now get for free. Will their prices go down when they don't have to hand bags out for free? In a pig's eye.

So, That, you make some serious claims. Did you ask the same things about the pro-bag zealots who snowed the council with touchy-feely warm-fuzzy eco-nonsense? I doubt it. Do you have anything to back up your charges here, or is it just more flummery?

W Kettle

so Mr. or Ms. thatsnorthalbany, before you make blind accusations, perhaps you should check the facts first. Some of us learned a long time ago that when you point a finger at someone, three of your fingers are pointing back at you. If you had taken the time to check the with the Corvallis city recorder you would have discovered that the petition to repeal the bag ban was filed with a state form SEL301 which states in no uncertain legal terms that "No Petition Circulators Will be Paid." Someone please correct me if I am mistaken but the "bag monster" costume used to gain support for the ban appears to have been sponsored by a reusable bag company based on information from multiple sources. Now that I say that I believe I will check with the city recorder about which, if any, SEL301 form was filed with the petition to support ordinance 2012-13 (the bag ban ordinance). Thanks for the tip.

Is it really so hard to believe that some of us feel passionately enough about democracy's claim to represent the people that we would file such a petition without financial motivation? Why do we have representatives? Obviously, to represent the people. What, then, do you propose we do when we feel those same representatives did not represent the will of the majority with a particular decision. Are you really trying to imply that our state constitution is wrong in providing means for citizens to take action if they feel it is warranted?

As to your comment about the "scourge" of trash, could it be that this is the only trash that you choose to notice? I challenge you to participate in an adopt-a-highway program and take pictures of every single piece of trash you see (and don't cherry pick the photos please); paper, chip bags, drink containers, aluminum cans, plastic wrap, sandwich bags (the list is too long to keep going). After you collect your pictures you will discover the exact same thing that every state and national litter study has found: Plastic "retail" bags make up less than 1% of all litter (closer to 0.5%) , which is also a category more broad than "grocery bags". If you tell me the mile markers of road you are referring to, I would be happy to gather the pictures for you... Please try to quote documented facts next time if you wish to impress your readers, and yes, I encourage everyone to critique the very lengthy litter study reports linked on our website (most were sponsored by governments, not plastics manufacturers): https://sites.google.com/site/veepcv/


What an absurd argument. By this rationale, every issue anyone wants on the ballot should be supported by everyone, always. The very point of a petition is to demonstrate that there is a population of people who are interested in the law being changed from it's current status. This argument not-so-subtly negates the need for a petition at all by claiming that since everyone should support all petitions (if not, they embody the antithesis of democracy), every issue should be decided by a vote, so why not do away with petitions all together?

I especially like how at the end, Jeff implies that you're either an elitist, or a bag-ban petition signer. There is nothing else. Reminded me a bit of the Tim Matheson's speech near the end of Animal House. Good stuff Jeff, needed a laugh.


Why would I sign a petition to waste my tax dollars on silly little issue that a cranky subset of the populace was unable to argue convincingly to the city council? Seriously, with all the issues that need addressing in local government, you wanna put all this effort into plastic bags?!? It's kind of pathetic, actually.

W Kettle

to andyg. So I believe you said that we wasted tax dollars on anything to do with banning plastic bags. Can you explain to me why we have a ban at all then? Didn't our city council and the Sierra Club do exactly that? Didn't the Sierra Club club distract our city council from "all the issues that need addressing" as you stated with inarticulate conviction? They did it for more than 6 months if you care to check the city meeting records.

Has anyone else noticed that those against a vote are unable to quote fact and instead vehemently spout their opinion? Why are so many people afraid to find out if they are part of the minority or majority? That's what a vote will show without a doubt and I can only speculate the anger is derived from a fear of NOT being part of the majority... this subject would make an excellent thesis for a sociology or psychology major btw. After all those that choose to litter, or choose save the environment are doing just that; they had the opportunity to CHOOSE! This issue should be decided by the majority, not the speculated majority.

W Kettle

...and if anyone was in doubt, the bag ban and the petition to repeal are city measures for which the state only authorizes voters with city limits to have a say. If you live outside Corvallis city limits you can forgo comments about how your tax dollars are being spent or how you won't be signing the petition.


You mean the VOLUNTEER city council? Just how much money was wasted during their deliberations? Hey, if people want to argue this ad nauseum and they get enough signatures on the petition to put it on the ballot, and even if the bag ban gets repealed, so be it. Maybe next we can have a vote on whether we should replace those phallic sculptures in downtown, or require all drivers to salute the flag when they pass the courthouse, or something... Meanwhile our country is being sold to the highest bidder.

curious one

to KETTLE & JULES: "Then, again, there are those collecting signatures who are mis-representing themselves, or are paid by someone I don't want to support." That's the quote from Northalbany, but you two turned it into the straw man so you could knock down the straw man. Why? She didn't say whoever was collecting signatures for the bag ban was doing it, in fact, just the opposite (assuming you understand how our language works).

Why is it you people have to build up straw men every time someone disagrees with you? It really makes you look silly and small, and that may not be what you are. (now, go ahead and play with that one)

The bag ban itself is ridiculous. It doesn't solve any real problems as there are many more plastic bags around than those which are banned. Maybe the ones Northalbany saw have nothing to do with the type which are banned.

As to petitions in general: over the years people have been cited for paying people to obtain signatures. There have been fake signatures used. Currently (since 04 anyway), our friend Nathan (republican) has engaged in a big scheme country wide to obtain signatures theoretically to register to vote - that was really cute. If interested you will find the rest of his name with Romney (works on his campaign), and then look up what has gone on. This may or may not be what Northalbany was referring to, I don't know. We have people pretending they are from the recorder's office (another state) saying they will register you to vote, but want to know if you are a Romney supporter first - the rest they will throw away. Yes, this is on tape. This is like the robo calls Bush pulled on McCain about McCain's wife in the republican primary a way back when!

There are many reasons to sign petitions, and many reasons not to. Everyone is free to choose and shouldn't be called an elitist if they choose not to.

Patriotic Correct
Patriotic Correct

See, this is why people need to have a better understanding of civics. This is not a problem about whether it is a good idea to do this or not. It is about the fact that the city doesn’t have the authority and it is something we the people have placed in the authority of the state. If we the people think cities should have the ability we have to enact a state law giving authority to the city. I don’t care if you think this is a good thing or not, you should be mad at city council for doing something we the people have not told them they are allowed to do.

Even if you think this is a great idea, you should be mad at the city council for violating their authority. Next time they do something to violate their authority there is no guarantee you will agree with that.

Under the Law this is legally a "Sales Tax". I know Corvallis wants to argue this is a "Fee" but it does not meet the legal definition and just because they say they are not collecting revenue doesn't change that. The state “recycling program” for plastic bottles and cans is legally defined as a sales tax and required “we the people” to enact an amendment to the State Constitution; same as the Lottery.

This matter was settled legally many years ago in 1952 in the Case of Eugene Theater v City of Eugene. This case may a bit difficult to find because of its age. Not only that but a lot of things could have changed. That said, I personally love the case of AT&T v City of Eugene from the Court of Appeals in 2001 where they cite this case as still valid and explain it. What I love the most about this is AT&T was trying to fight against a tax and they were trying to use every excuse in the book. Now, in that case, it is legal for a city to tax telecommunications. However, because they used every excuse the Oregon Court of Appeals addressed every single one of them and citing examples of the proper use of that reason.

The Eugene Theater case was the example they used to explain the difference between the state having pre-emptive authority and the city actually not having the authority in the first place. And yes, they found the City didn't have the Authority in the first place. When you look under ORS 221.410 thru 515 there was no where they had the authority granted to them. So the court said they never had the authority to do it in the first place.

Now because they are getting people to bicker over plastic bags and not the real issue here they are setting precedence to be able to do ANYTHING they want. Which is why, Eugene is getting sued for this. I expect Corvallis to be next on the list because guess what. I AM THE ONE DOING IT!! So I tell you what, anyone gathering signatures and who is also ticked off about this. Please make sure you contact me.

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