Santa Barbara’s recent discussion of a straw ban has irked some people across the country including national talk show hosts.
The city’s proposed ordinance is still under review and not officially on the books. Some of the pushback has come from those who believe if you use a straw you could be cited, fined and jailed.
Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo even says the city has a box full of straws that have been mailed to City Hall both in bulk and individually. She said it was a form of mockery of the city’s discussion.
The next meeting with public comment will be in September. That will also include the discussion of banning plastic stirrers. If the ordinance is approved, the earliest it would be on the books would be July of next year.
Greg Gutfield on the Fox national TV show “The Five” sounded on Santa Barbara. In one of his commentaries, he said, “Santa Barbara just passed a bill that punishes restaurant owners with jail time and fines if they give out these straws.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo says that’s not in the proposed ordinance and she would have told the critics if they had called the city to ask.
Gutfield also said on his show, “Which means if you give out straws at a children’s birthday party you could do more time than your average felon.”
Again, the city says that is not true.
Another comment was the law, if it takes place, would impact the disabled who sometimes need a straw to drink. The mayor said that also was not reported correctly. Murillo is also a former journalist.
Currently, voluntary efforts are underway using alternative straws made of paper and other non-plastic materials. Local environmental groups including the Community Environmental Council and ChannelKeeper are strongly promoting the use of environmentally safe or reusable straws.
“No one is going to jail for using a plastic straw – period!” said Murillo.
The City is considering donating the plastic straws they receive to Art from Scrap, a store located at 302 E. Cota Street dedicated to providing the community with reusable, low-cost supplies for art and other creative projects.