By Gloria Zuurveen
“It’s a pandemic for crying out loud!” Why is this cry not heard by those, including my local state assemblywoman Kamlager-Dove, who have put forth a bill that will be injurious to families and restaurants alike? Kamlager- Dove is the co-author of AB 1080 along with Senate Bill 54 Yes, that’s right. If you didn’t know now you do and as it is written, it has to go because penalizing poor people during a pandemic is insensitive and quite frankly deplorable. SB 54, the bill that Californians for Recycling and the Environment says is the “Wrong time, Wrong Approach” is against the bill as it is written. CRE is against the bill and say that it is flawed and that it fails to fix the state’s recycling problem at the same time it will increase cost for families and restaurants alike.
Sen. Ben Allen, the Santa Monica Democrat carrying the Senate bill, said in a San Francisco Chronicles’ article in April during the height of the pandemic, that it’s unclear whether the measures will get any attention when lawmakers return from an extended recess.
From the looks of it, it appears that the bill is primed to pick up traction and my concern is that it is happening without a sufficient enough public engagement about a critical bill that will ultimately affect the public immensely and without any real public awareness due to there being no public notices placed in the local adjudicated newspapers of general circulation to inform, educate and elevate the general public and especially the Black community and also many restaurants who can ill-afford to pay absorbent increases due to recycling laws that will gravely affect their bottomline.
Again, I say it’s a pandemic for crying out loud! SB 54, as it is written has to go. Penalizing poor people during a pandemic is insensitive and deplorable. The public has a right to know and before SB54 is considered by Kamlager-Dove or any other members of the Assembly or members of the Senate, the legislative body must ensure that the public has a right to know so that they can choose to fight. Yes, so they can fight against the enormous increase in cost that this bill will impose especially during a critical crisis like COVID19 that surprised everyone when it showed up on the scene.
Never before in history, has there been the need for government to be more sensitive as well as more cognizant to the businesses like restaurants and others in the community, especially the marginalized and the disenfranchised, not to be penalized, no, not for one cent more.
So like CRE, I too, say that SB54 is the wrong time and certainly it is the wrong approach in times like these. Why? Again, “It’s a pandemic for crying out loud and SB54 as written has to go because penalizing poor people during a pandemic is insensitive and deplorable.