It was a normal night in the 91011.The east La Cañada parking lots were full.
The Flintridge Proper waiters served flutes of champagne mixed with gin and flowers.
While the customers at Min’s waited, they leafed through stacks of local papers.
For example, the Valley Sun.
The Valley Sun, which was strangely full of letters to the editor. We were in the midst of The Great Plastic Shopping Bag Controversy. The efficacy of an ordinance banning plastic shopping bags, under which customers could pay 10 cents for a paper bag and evil plastic bags would be banned, filled the pages of the Valley Sun.
It’s not a new idea. La Cañadans could use their Trader Joe’s bags for absolutely everything. Fruits. Vegetables. Clothing.
Many cities ban single-use plastic bags for environmental reasons. Pasadena does it. San Francisco does it. Los Angeles does it. West Hollywood does it.
That night, I searched our city’s website for the date of the City Council hearing on the proposed ordinance banning single-use plastic bags.
“This will be an interesting hearing,” I said. I was speaking to our dog, a black rescue dog from the Pasadena Humane Society. Her name is Miss Audrey Hepburn.
Miss Hepburn nodded her agreement while munching on a pita and humus sandwich on a biodegradable plate from Whole Foods. “Hey, stop that!” I ordered. “Dogs don’t eat Middle Eastern food!”
As to my search, I was out of luck. The City Council hearing date was not available online.
I turned to Google. I found nothing.
I tried Bing. Nada.
I tried Yahoo! There was zilch.
When was the hearing? How could I find the date? I decided to ask my editor. I cranked up the iPhone and texted Carol Cormaci: When's the plastic bag city council hearing?
I was stunned by her reply: NEVER. The council refused to put it on an upcoming agenda.
What? No plastic bag hearing? How could this be? Daniel Webster must be turning in his grave, along with John Adams.
I wracked my brain trying to come up with an explanation. No study session? Not on the agenda? Maybe it was a filibuster? Perhaps the La Cañada Flintridge City Council was about to emulate Cato the Younger, who famously filibustered to thwart legislation requested by Julius Caesar. Despite their origin, filibusters are an American tradition. But even Rand Paul stopped at midnight. Don't knock the filibuster!
My editor reassured me: No, not a filibuster.
She explained that three City Council members were opposed to placing the matter on the agenda. Only two, Laura Olhasso and Jon Curtis, were in favor of studying the impact of a plastic bag ordinance.
Valley Sun reporter Tiffany Kelly later reported that “neighbors arrived en masse during the last two council meetings to urge that the issue be placed on a future agenda. But Mayor Laura Olhasso said unless one of the council members has a change of heart, the city cannot move forward with it.”
Not a filibuster. That’s a relief.
So, when’s the study session? When will it be on the agenda?
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @anitabrenner.