The Plastic Bag Referendum and the Connection to the Sec. of State Race

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

If the referendum filed to overturn SB 270, the plastic bag ban law signed by Governor Brown yesterday, makes the ballot arguments against the ban will deal with lost manufacturing jobs and charging consumers 10-cents for paper bags that grocers’ pocket. Those arguments should be highlighted during the signature drive and later in the campaign if the referendum qualifies.

But is there a chance that the referendum effort will bleed into the state’s Secretary of State’s race?

The Secretary of State’s office has nothing to do with implementing the new law.

But in another era, the Secretary of State’s office had nothing to do with outlawing pay toilets especially for women. However, Oakland Assembly woman March Fong Eu rode that issue into the statewide office in 1975. She held the position of Secretary of State for 20 years.

Senator Alex Padilla is the author of SB 270 and a candidate for Secretary of State.

Will Padilla’s connection to the plastic bag ban become an issue in the Secretary of State’s race? With the 90 day period to collect signatures for the referendum ballot overlapping the last month of the election campaign, how often is Padilla’s name mentioned by the signature gatherers? And will voters make the connection?

Probably, the connection will have to be made by Padilla’s opponent, Pete Peterson. That doesn’t seem to be the kind of campaign the Peterson camp is running. But who knows if an Independent Expenditure effort is lurking somewhere.

The electorate is different today than it was 40 years ago and the issue of plastic bags may cut differently with voters than the pay toilet issue did in the 1970s. But you have to believe those supporting the referendum have done some polling on the question.

History tells us stranger issues have been exploited in Secretary of State’s campaigns.

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