One would think Charlottesville City officials had not gotten word that the United States of America (and by extension, the City itself) is in a serious recession.
Perhaps Democratic Socialist Republic of Charlottesville Minister David Norris (Mayor) and Chairman Gary O’Connell (City Manager) were not tuned-in when President Barack Obama described our Nation’s current financial situation as “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
In spite of Norris’s dauntless declaration that Charlottesville City government is no longer “swimming in cash,” the City’s wanton and cavalier disposal of hard-earned taxpayer dollars under his mayoral regime belies his allegation.
Foolish expenditures like the $60,000 “Community Dialogue on Race” (which could and should have been done privately) and a City-sponsored, frivolous 9/11 “peace” party (which never should have happened) have become so banal, that local media and most Charlottesville residents no longer consider such profligate resource squandering as newsworthy.
In the midst of ongoing City Council absurdity, why would anyone take notice that our tax dollars are being prodigalized on Dave Norris’s radical environmental agenda? Well, they wouldn’t, unless they more closely examined Minister Norris’s “green” grocery bag scheme.
The ruse was launched via press release on April 15, 2009 (tax day!). Signed by Ric Barrick, the City Department of Disinformation (DoD) document reads in part:
City Launches a Reusable Bag Partnership with Local Businesses
Kickoff Event Scheduled for Tomorrow to Introduce Initiative to the Public
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA -The City of Charlottesville will unveil a new partnership and program to promote reusable bags and conversation at a community press conference, Thursday, April 6th, at 11:00am on City Hall Plaza. In cooperation with the new Shop Charlottesville, Better World Betty, and local participating businesses, this campaign will encourages our community to take this small, but meaningful environmental step of bringing their reusable bags into local stores when they shop instead of using plastic bags. In turn, area businesses who are participating will be offering at least a .05 cent rebate at the register for this good green deed. Sixteen hundred bags will be given away to area residents tomorrow and through the spring.
Noticeably absent from the DoD’s missive is the cost of Charlottesville City’s latest foray into social engineering. A Freedom of Information Act request yielded a copy of the receipt (pictured below), and it turns out that taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $5,000, or $3.10 per bag.
And, who are the lucky recipients of these environmentally “friendly” bags? Barrick’s press release indicates that “œarea residents” are the beneficiaries. However, “area resident” are not all footing the bill. That detail is left to City taxpayers, whose funds are being consumed to subsidize the “green” shopping fantasies of City and non-City residents alike.
Moreover, additional problems with this “promotion” are myriad.
Note the list of participating businesses:
- Giant (grocery—Albemarle County and Charlottesville)
- Whole Foods (specialty grocery—Albemarle County)
- Integral Yoga (specialty grocery—Charlottesville)
- All Good Groceries (specialty grocery—Earlysville)
- Harris Teeter (grocery—Albemarle County and Charlottesville)
- Bittersweet (specialty clothing—Charlottesville)
- Nature’s Child (specialty clothing and supplies—Charlottesville)
- Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (specialty sporting goods—Charlottesville)
The majority of these retail establishments primarily cater to a wealthy, socially elite clientele. Minister Norris and his City Hall comrades are, in fact, robbing from the poor and middle class (by stealing City residents’ tax dollars) to give to the rich (via provision of “free” “green” bags).
And yet, it gets worse.
In their quest for market manipulation, Charlottesville’s “Gang of Six” (City Manager + City Council) has neglected to consider the unintended economic consequences of their folly. Harris Teeter, and other local grocery and retail establishments already sell virtually identical bags to their customers, some priced as low as a dollar each.
Therefore, by dispensing 1,600 “free” bags at taxpayer expense, Mayor Norris and his merry band of thieves actually have stolen sales of nearly $1,600 to $ 2000 from local retailers, who in this recession, can ill afford to lose them. The fact that fewer retail sales at local businesses translates into fewer tax dollars and potentially lost job opportunities from said businesses, also seems entirely lost on the economic “gurus” inside City Hall.
Did Norrishood, et. al. ever consider that the City could have saved $3,400 tax dollars and supported the City-based Harris Teeter simply by buying 1,600 bags directly through that store?
And finally, Norris and Co. apparently did not know—or basking in paroxysms of eco-excitement, did not care—that reusable grocery bags are replete with environmental, health and PC related issues of their own.
First, they are made of polypropylene (plastic).
In an April 25, 2005 Sydney Morning Herald, Australian researcher, Dr. Mike O’Shea, describes polypropylene as “a byproduct of oil refining,”—supposedly a great environmental and economic “evil” for those of Norris’s ilk—as follows:
Produced during the process is propylene gas, which, when put into a reactor, becomes propylene powder. After stabilisers are mixed with the powder, it is placed in an extruder, which produces propylene pellets, which can then be turned into a range of things including car bumper bars and food containers. If the pellets are melted, they can be made into a fibre which can then be made into bags.
Second, re-useable grocery bags pose a serious health hazard to humans, according to a Canadian study entitled: A Microbiological Study of Reusable Plastic Grocery Bags. The report concludes, in part:
The strong presence of yeasts in some bags indicates the presence of water and microbial growth substrate (food). The yeasts are thus a ‘canary in the mine’ confirming that microbes are growing in the bag.
There is a potential for cross-contamination of food if the same reusable bags are used on successive trips; and
Check-out staff in stores may be transferring these microbes from reusable bag to reusable bag as the contaminants get on their hands.
In cases of food poisoning, experts are now going to have to test reusable bags in addition to food products as the possible sources of contamination.
Oh, and we can’t neglect to disclose that the City’s “free” bags are made in Red (Communist) China. The same Red China that has been declared an arch-enemy of Charlottesville City Government (due to China’s persecution of Tibet and of Falun Gong practitioners in China).
To recap, and in conclusion, Norrishood’s $5,000″green” grocery bag fiasco:
Features bags paid for by city taxpayer dollars, but which are distributed freely to surrounding county residents.
Features bags made from an oil byproduct, which promotes continued use of fossil fuels and financially supports “evil” oil companies by increasing their “evil” profits.
Features bags made of plastic, which does not easily biodegrade and is not renewable, instead of natural and environmentally friendly cloth (cotton).
Features bags that otherwise would have been sold to users by local merchants—pitting the government against private business—a practice which is harmful to the local tax base and indigenous, private-sector employment opportunities.
Features bags that pose a public health menace through increased risk—to users and handlers—of serious bacterial infection.
Features bags that are made in Red China, a Communist regime that suppresses the people of Tibet and practitioners of Falun Gong.
The moral of the story is, if you allow Minister Norris and Chairman O’Connell to take your money, they will find a way, no matter how fatuous, to spend it.
If you entrust them with the power to control your life, in any small way, they will seize the opportunity and run with it.
If you believe the hogwash spewing from their mouths, and you vote to seat them in chairs of power, you will get what you deserve.
And if you shop using one of Norrishood’s “free,” “green,” grocery bags, you are helping to kill local business, support the Communists, enrich the oil companies, and you may even get sick, to boot.
Hear Minister Norrishood wax eloquent on his $5,000 “green” bag scheme: