EDITOR: I bagged groceries for a large supermarket. Plastic carry-out bags were easily the most-efficient vehicle for meeting customers' needs. Placed on a rack, plastic bags are much easier to pack than "reusables" (or even paper bags).
Usually reusables don't stand on their own (if at all), obliging the bagger to use one hand to hold them open while packing with the other. Using reusables takes substantially longer to complete the bagging process; it's nowhere near as efficient and orderly as using plastic.
Reusables get dirty and aren't washable. Health-sanitation issues have multiplied with their increased use.
If the well-heeled environuts who push the schlep-your-own concept were serious, they'd spend some of the vast sums they and their lawyers get from lawsuits they're constantly pursuing to sponsor development of processes for converting plastic bags back to the petroleum from which they were made.
But they're less concerned with the environment than they are with their hatred not only for oil companies but also for petroleum itself — in the present era, civilization's lifeblood.
The packed-on-a-rack, plastic carryout bag revolutionized the grocery industry. Prepare now for longer, slower checkout lines.
EDITOR: I have tried following the new power agency proposal and end up feeling suspicious of the motives. To my way of thinking, PG&E has not been the big bad wolf in supplying energy. Many of its sources are renewable. It has provided reduced rates for customers who conserve energy and rebates on products that are more energy efficient. The only fly in the ointment is its SmartMeter program.
I would consider supporting the new agency if renewable sources were a high priority; the benefits of reduced rates were distributed to the customers, not some unknown investment stream; no high-paid consultants were hired to oversee the program; and the lifestyle of the people setting up the program reflected a goal of a lower carbon imprint.
<b>A bad apple</b>
EDITOR: I'm eating Gravenstein apples as I write. I ate them while picketing the Paul Hobbs Winery on day and when addressing the Board of Supervisors about Hobbs' toxic practices Tuesday. Each of my 20 years here I've eaten Gravs.
How long will we have Gravs here? The 2011 crop report listed 600 Grav acres left; it's probably less than 400 acres now vs. 5,500 acres in 1957. Among the fallen Gravs were those on the 48-acre orchard around Apple Blossom School that Hobbs clear-cut.
Hobbs is a bad apple and a bad neighbor. Last week, the CBS evening news showed the orchard he cut and interviewed one of the mothers complaining about his practices.
After Hobbs illegally cut the creek-side vegetation, we got a stop-work order that shut him down for a month. Hobbs is a repeat offender who does not follow the rules. Neighbors have written to the district attorney suggesting she shut it down permanently.
Among the especially bad killers Hobbs uses are the fungicide Mettle, the herbicide Trigger and Monsanto's notorious RoundUp. They cause cancer and other diseases, groundwater contamination, developmental/reproductive damage, endocrine disruption and other problems.
Fortunately, there are sustainable grape growers here. I praise organic wineries, such as Porter Creek, Benzinger, Cline, Quivira and Topolos.