War on Straws

Sal Rodriguez

On Jan. 18, Assemblyman and Democratic Majority leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, announced legislation making it a criminal offense for restaurants to provide straws to customers before being asked for them.

Under Calderon’s legislation, unprompted straw dispensing would be punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

In this scheme, the dividing line between someone being thrown into a cage or not is whether they followed Calderon’s demand that the customer first request a straw.

While there’s nothing wrong with raising awareness about the potential harms of plastic waste, the mere threat of force against individuals for not partaking in government sanctioned procedure for straw dispensing is a sign that government is too big and politicians are too empowered.

Legislators like Calderon evidently have lost touch with the connection between what they do and what happens or can happen in the real world. In times like this, I wonder if we’d be better off letting the suits in Sacramento and Los Angeles City Hall grandstand and approve all the bills they like, so long as we just ignored them and didn’t implement anything they passed.

The state of California and the city of Los Angeles have bigger and better things to deal with. Rising pension debt, failing public schools, crumbling infrastructure, high rates of poverty, a housing crisis and a massive homelessness problem are among the many problems to contend with.

Unfortunately, California legislators like Calderon, and Los Angeles council members like O’Farrell and Martinez, would rather insert themselves into how restaurant customers get their straws than tackle problems of actual substance.





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