Local News

Jul 29, 2013 3:28 PM

Councilman and Mayor at Odds Over Plastic Bag Proposal

CORPUS CHRISTI -- At-Large City Councilman Mark Scott on Friday called out Mayor Nelda Martinez, saying her handling of an ordinance that would regulate plastic bags was "disturbing."

But the mayor discounted Scott's claims, saying that while she respected his opinion she disagreed with his comments, adding that the city has been "very patient in this process."

The back-and-forth between Scott and Martinez centers on an ordinance that would force some businesses to charge for plastic bags. Under the ordinance, retailers would have to either charge $.10 per bag or a flat fee of $1 per transaction.

Scott said that while he understands the importance of protecting the environment, the mayor is trying to railroad the ordinance through city council. "This is disturbing. I'm disturbed at what this might communicate to the public which is, 'We don't care what you think. We know what's best, and we intend to make it happen.'"

But Martinez refuted claims that she and the city have not sought public input, calling the process "one of the most transparent and long-lasting initiatives." She pointed to several public hearings on plastic bag initiatives, referring to meetings during which plastic bags -- but not the proposed ordinance -- were discussed.

Scott also said he was concerned that the city has not considered other options that would not cost consumers. Martinez, however, said research in other cities has proved that educational campaigns are ineffective.

The city council is scheduled to discuss the proposed ordinance Tuesday. It is scheduled to vote on the ordinance Aug. 20.

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