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SF follows Seattle in banning plastic straws

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San Francisco supervisors voted to ban plastic straws on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

Building on The City’s green image, San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday voted to prohibit plastic straws in one year.

The vote comes shortly after Seattle’s plastic straw ban went into effect earlier this month.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in support of the straw ban legislation, which was introduced by Supervisor Katy Tang.

“The negative environmental impacts of single-use plastics are astronomical,” Tang said in a statement. “It’s time for us to find alternatives to the plastic that is choking our marine ecosystems and littering our streets.”

Tang herself actually didn’t vote on the proposal. She was excused from the meeting because she is taking the California bar exam, her legislative aide said.

A second and final vote will occur next week. Mayor London Breed supports the ban.

“San Francisco produces a million straws a day,” Breed said Monday. “In most cases they can’t be recycled. And what that is doing for our environment is a problem.”

The ban would go into effect on July 1, 2019 when restaurants, coffee shops or bars can no longer use items like plastic straws, stirrers or toothpicks. Violators could be fined $500.
“This legislation is really about changing people’s behavior,” Safai said. “We are asking people to take a bold step.”

The effort builds on other bans in the name of eco-friendly policies. In 2007, San Francisco became the first major city to ban plastic bags in large grocery stores and latter expand the ban. That same year, The City banned polystyrene, or Styrofoam, containers use in restaurants.

In other business:

-The Board of Supervisors voted 10-0 to adopt the two-year city budget, which is $11 billion in each of the next two fiscal years. The vote came with a last minute amendment at the request of Mayor London Breed, who added $1 million for residential facilities to offset costs of treating residents not covered by their social security benefits and $724,000 for street cleaning and safety.

A land swap deal was approved involving the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s 1.37-acre Central SoMa parcel at 639 Bryant St. and a Tishman Speyer-owned 8-acre Bayview parcel at 2000 Marin St., the former location of the Hearst Corporation’s printing facility. The 2000 Marin St. site would also serve as a temporary home to the Flower Mart during a development planned at its existing site at 6th and Brannan streets.

-Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Privacy First Policy charter amendment was placed on the November ballot in a 10-0 vote Tuesday to protect the personal information of residents and visitors from being used by technology companies without their knowledge or consent. The measure would require the city administrator to craft an ordinance for the board to approve using 11 principles spelled out in the measure, which would then impact city contracts, permits or other entitlements. Among the principles, “Retain personal information for only as long as necessary to accomplish a lawful and authorized purpose.”

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