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Chicago Finally Passes a Real Plastic Bag Tax
Brian Dale Chicago:
This week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's tax plan finally went into effect and with it Chicago passed a seven cent tax on single-use plastic bags for all stores. It will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 throughout Chicago.
Emanuel's budget includes a new seven-cent fee on store-provided plastic and paper bags. A late change means people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would be exempt from that fee.
Five cents of the fee will go to the city and the remaining 2 cents to retailers. It's expected to pump about $13 million into city coffers and encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags after a 2014 ban on thinner plastic bags did less than hoped to achieve that goal.
For more details please read the article at Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-city-council-budget-test-vote-met-1108-20161107-story.html
Some have doubts that this will reduce waste. I think we have seen in many cities that when these laws are enacted they drastically reduce waste and Chicago should not be any different.
Read more at the Daily Herald: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161116/business/161119209/
This Election and What It Can Mean for Liberals
Brian Dale Chicago: To say that people here in Chicago, as well as throughout this country are devastated this week would be an understatement. Its just impossible to believe that this country could go from having a classy, respectful president like Obama to a reality TV star, caricature who has more than half the country frightened.
I've written here before about politics and referenced the Tip O'Neill quote that "all politics is local." However, this has taken on a whole new meaning as we see the massive highly tuned, localization of political interests. In the current age of big data, real time polling online and elaborate probability analysis, a candidate can highly target specific messages to what I call micro camps. This could be a group of KKK members in the rural south or PTA mothers in Connecticut. Its taken on a whole new ability for a candidate to come in and say specific messages to them micro camps, which add up and can get you elected.
We saw that this week. If you're scared, you have every right to be after what Trump has said during his long campaign. Our words matters. They can't just be deleted like he loves to do with his Tweets. They shape and they teach and they matter. I hope our president starts to think more carefully about his actions from his Tweets to his actual presidential orders.
With the Trump presidency, I hope we do not lose the progress we have made with respect to environmental progress and our using recycled materials as well as simply consuming less waste. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/nyregion/new-york-city-council-backs-5-cent-fee-on-plastic-bags.html?_r=1)
This country has a tremendous number of plastic bag bans and taxes which has massively reduced the billions of plastic bags that end up in our oceans, landfills and consume needless oil in their manufacture. We should be proud of our recent changes and not allow a conservative backlash to unravel our progress.
Here in Chicago, as well as other major cities across the country, demonstrators are showing that we will not be steamrolled by Trump and the Republican Congress. I hope that we can use our past successes as proof to the right that these changes have paid off, not harmed anyone and make sense regardless of your side of the aisle.
So is there reason to be afraid? Yes. As Aaron Sorkin wrote this week in an open letter to his daughter "I'm not going to sugar coat this." (read it in full at http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/aaron-sorkin-donald-trump-president-letter-daughter).
However, I ask that you partake in a thought experiment. What if Trump said much of what he said to simply motivate the micro camps he needed to simply win. For instance, I don't believe he is an anti-Semite. His daughter has converted to Judaism and he has worked with Jews in New York for decades. Its actually almost ludicrous to think.
I don't believe that he will start mass deportations. Recently he has spun back and said he would cap only new entrants. That's tremendously toned down. The infamous Mexican wall may not be built.
However, I do believe he will appoint conservative justices, pull back progress for feminists, the LGBTQ community and many other minorities. I do not believe he will economically improve the lot of his rural followers. I think that civil rights will suffer under him and I shutter to think about his "deal making" foreign policy strategies.
Here in Chicago, as well as elsewhere, we will spend our time trying to reverse whatever gains he does try to make for himself. And that's good. That's democracy. Its messy, but let's not sit in fear. Take action in the way you can - locally and in your own way.
Ironically, the musical Hamilton is all the rage this year. Alexander Hamilton wrote the majority of the Federalist Papers, but it was James Madison who penned the most famous, No. 10. In it he states that one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Constitution is the fact that it establishes a government capable of controlling the violence and damage caused by factions. This was Madison's chief concern: The Tyranny of the Majority.
I can only hope that Trump will stop in one night to see the show and think about the factions that did get him elected. Perhaps, he will be inspired and realize that as the executive in charge of the Federal Government he has a responsibility to prevent this tyranny. We can only hope at this point.
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