When liberals see a problem, the solution is often to call for a ban.
- Washington Times, May 26, 2015
First they came for our plastic grocery bags. Then they came for our plastic straws.
Foam meat trays? Fuggedaboutit. You shouldn't be eating meat anyway.
Flavored tobacco? Banned (meanwhile, in the land of mixed messages, California legalizes another smokeable addictive substance, marijuana).
Vaping products and e-cigarettes? Outtahere, even if many smokers use vapes to break their smoking habit. And, naturally, the kids, who can't buy these products legally, will still be able to order them on Amazon.
Also, a recent investigation by the CDC found that the main culprit in reported vaping lung injuries and deaths was a Vitamin E additive in tainted, illicit THC vape cartridges. But no matter, a total ban was the path of least resistance for 4 of our 5 councilmembers.
So what's next on the agenda for the mini-nanny state over which the Manhattan Beach City Council presides?
How about banning the sale of all tobacco products?
Because we know a ban on cigars and cigarettes will cure all smoking issues in Manhattan Beach and send a strong message to kids (who can't legally buy cigarettes anyway).
I mean, look how well the deterrent effect of a 50-state ban on the sale of marijuana (with criminal penalties for possession to boot) worked in dissuading teenagers from using it.
If you're old enough like me to remember college in the '70s, dorm hallways, particularly on the weekends, resembled the pot smoke-filled van in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
The tobacco ban is slated to be taken up by Council on December 3. If passed, smokers will still buy their cigarettes (and, in the process, other groceries as well), just not in Manhattan Beach. Too bad, local retailers.
At least one of our councilmembers thinks our mom-and-pop retailers should bring in a business consultant to advise them on how to revamp their business model.
What, maybe re-open as a pet store? Only problem is pet goldfish may be on a future list of items to be banned (see below).
But at least our beaches and oceans will be cleaner, right? Never mind that smoking is already banned in public spaces including the beach, which would seem to imply that it's really an enforcement issue.
PS: Let's hope enforcement regarding smoking on the beach is done a little more assiduously than enforcement of the littering and plastic straw ban ordinances (see photo below taken by the author a week ago). Maybe, through strict enforcement, this will take everyone's minds off the fecal matter being deposited on our beaches and in our storm drains where it gets washed into the ocean.
How about banning Saturday construction (already restricted to between 9:00am and 6:00pm), also on the agenda for the next meeting of City Council? Because building and remodeling in Manhattan Beach isn't expensive and time-consuming enough.
But why stop there, Council? You're on a roll.
Here are some additional things that other cities and counties have already banned or have considered banning:
Plastic water bottles - San Francisco banned sales in public places (like the airport) of plastic water bottles that hold less than 22 oz.
Sugary drinks - restricted in New York to a maximum 16 ounces.
Gas appliances in new construction - banned in Berkeley starting next year (Hermosa Beach has considered this as well).
Happy Meal toys - both Santa Clara and San Francisco counties have outlawed restaurants from offering toys to children in conjunction with "unhealthful food and beverage choices."
Goldfish - ban proposed but not adopted in San Francisco.
Accurate pronouns - Berkeley's City Council was recently considering doing away with gender-specific language in the city code (bye-bye, manhole cover: hello, maintenance cover).
As the traditional Chinese saying goes, "May you live in interesting times." That saying, however, was intended not as a blessing but as a curse.