In praise of Mark Gold

Few of us come so near greatness as to be crushed by a defeat. This week, after 22 years with Heal the Bay, the man synonymous in Los Angeles with the health of our ocean and beaches was crushed. Moreover, he was flattened while the nation was watching. Until the wee hours of August 31st, it seemed as if Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay, had led California, and hence the country, in a ban of the single-use plastic bags handed out in stores. Then the state senate rejected the ban, 21-14.

On the morning of September 1st, as news organizations reported how plastics industry lobbyists stopped the first bag ban in the nation, Gold’s blog “Spouting Off” was surprisingly empty. Over at Heal the Bay, the Action Alert asking Californians to call their senators to support AB 1998 still sat on the website.

Where was Mark? Aside

Let them eat plastic

It only looks like a jelly fish. A sea turtle eats a plastic bag. Source: Heal the Bay. Click on the image to be taken to Heal the Bay.

A “closely watched, first-in-the-nation ban on plastic grocery bags was defeated Tuesday night,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “That measure, AB 1998, passed the Assembly in June and had the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but faced a withering and well-financed advertising and lobbying campaign from the plastic bag manufacturing industry.” To keep reading, click here or, for the AP account, here. “Opposition arguments last night were straight out of Lewis Carroll,” writes a disgusted Heal the Bay president and bill co-sponsor Mark Gold in Spouting Off. To read in the Sacramento Bee how the American Chemistry Council, whose members include Exxon, Dow and plastic bag manufacturers, “unleashed a flurry of fresh donations to politicians and