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A matter of interpretation 

Santa Margarita

Since the Shredder dislikes misleading information so much, I thought I’d assist with a correction to last week’s column (“Baa,” May 24). FACT CHECK: The Plastic Bag Ordinance does apply to small businesses. As a lawyer, I too like to base my interpretations on the actual ordinance language rather than propaganda, so let’s review the ordinance again. As the Shredder pointed out, it applies to “supermarkets,” “large stores,” “pharmacies,” and “convenience food stores.” Somehow, the Shredder interprets these terms to exclude small businesses.  Apparently, Spencer’s and Scolari’s don’t qualify as small businesses in the Shredder’s eyes, nor do the Santa Margarita Mercantile, De Palo & Sons in Shell Beach, Last Chance Liquors in Arroyo Grande, nor any of the numerous gas station and convenience store franchises throughout the county. All of these businesses fall under the ambit of the ordinance.

For example, the term “convenience food store” is defined in the ordinance as “any entity engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods that includes milk, bread, soda, and snack foods,” including stores with a license for the off-sale of beer, wine, or spirits. Apparently, the IWMA disagrees with the Shredder’s interpretation that this does not apply to small businesses, because IWMA staffers recently paid a visit to the Rinconada Campground Store, located at Santa Margarita Lake, to advise the owners that they would need to cease providing plastic bags to their customers. For those who are not familiar with the Rinconada Campground Store, it is the epitome of a small, family-owned business—more bait shop than convenience store. If you’ve ever stopped in there, chances are you met one of the owners or their children behind the counter.

Whether you support or oppose the Plastic Bag Ordinance, let’s not pretend that it applies solely to corporate grocery giants. Debbie Arnold’s campaign statements are accurate; what’s inaccurate is the propaganda that someone fed the Shredder.

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