Dallas Councilman Lee Kleinman's Incredible Plastic-Bag Flip-Flop

Categories: City Hall

leekleinman.jpeg
The casual observer will be forgiven for overlooking Councilman Lee Kleinman's role in Dallas' debate over plastic-bag regulations. With Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway constantly sermonizing against them on the one hand, and with Sheffie Kadane and Rick Callahan's dismissal of any attempt to regulate them as a thinly veiled communist plot on the other, everything else tends to fade into the background.

Make no mistake, though. Kleinman has a very strong opinion on the matter. It's just changed completely over the past several weeks. Check it out. Here's Kleinman at a meeting back in August:

See also: Dallas Won't Ban Plastic Bags at Stores, But You'll Have to Start Paying for Them

"My wife hates those bags, so I'll be supporting the ban."

His opinion was the same at a January council briefing:

"I think it's important that we recognize this [ban] can work and it can be effective,"

He was more equivocal when The Dallas Morning News contacted him in advance of this week's vote, suggesting that compromise, in the form of the fee-based ordinance that passed today, was the way to go:

"From the citizens, the biggest resistance we hear to an outright ban is it creates an inconvenient situation if you don't have a bag, if you're in from out of town, if you forgot one. And it's low enough that if they don't remember, they pay a dime or whatever."

When it actually came time to vote, however, Kleinman's take had changed completely. Why should the city pass an ordinance it couldn't enforce? he wondered. More than that, why should he, in North Dallas care about something that wasn't a problem in his district -- a statement that was taken as a clear middle finger by his southern Dallas colleagues.

Kleinman wound up voting against the plastic-bag fee he expressed support for just a few days before.

What happened? Did the grocers get to him? Was he just screwing with us? Did his wife do the improbable and change her mind?

None of the above. Kleinman says he simply listened to his District 11 constituents, who have been giving him an earful about the prospect of a bag ban and how much they hate it. They also hate the idea of a fee.

Democracy, in other words.

Kleinman still shares the goals of the bag banners (e.g. litter reduction, environmental protection, a "culture of clean"), but it's never been an important issue for him like, say, the budget. So at the risk of alienating one important constituency, who on Wednesday evening he was fairly confident was not going to make him sleep on the couch, he changed his vote.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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33 comments
dfw_maverick
dfw_maverick

If you like your bags, you can keep your bags, period.  Fine print, you just have to pay a nickel for each one now.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

why you thieving bastards. it never was about cleaning up the city. it was always about stealing more money from the citizens. i hope you rot in prison for something you didn't even do.

dc005
dc005

I'd say,  Democracy at its finest.  He listened,  had the courage to change his mind,  probably anticipating he'd be the subject of stories like this suggesting somebody 'got to him.' 

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

The Bike Rider Helmet Law a good example of a law that was passed but rarely enforced. At least in the non Park areas of Oak Cliff.


Still the idea as I sort of remember it being put forth was banning plastic bags and all the reasons that there were to do it .


Not sure how we got to the place where .05 cents surcharge a bag makes it all good again .



blankcur1
blankcur1

I think he must have realized that there are many other options in Richardson (along Coit) that will pick up business if people want bags. Good call Lee! 

boogerleo
boogerleo

We need more city counsil representation like Mr. Kleinman. He has a clear vision of the city and what representation of the constituents is. Unfortunately, the city leadership has long been made up of the Ragsdale's Lipscombs and Carraway's of the world - more divisive and slowing the growth of the city and moving it in a positive direction!

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

He just decided he did not want to die on that hill.  A politician has to pick his or her hill to defend at all costs.  Plastic bags is one those tiny issues where the right answer is clear, but people on the other side never let you hear the end of it.  You go against opinion on this one and you could lose free hand when a vote matters on serious issue.

submarinequeen
submarinequeen

Now they are making biodegradable plastic. Would it not solve the problem to require grocers to change over to that instead? OOOOHH that's right... No money in it. Who gets that money anyway? They should take the money they make off of this and buy reusable bags and hand them out for free outside the stores.


fliptotheflipity
fliptotheflipity

I thought I was going to see some incredible flip-flops made out of plastic bags. Instead I get a story about a politician being a politician. Boring.

ruddski
ruddski

Imagine that, listening to and acting in the interests of his constituency, and managing to not tell a single cynical, self-serving lie in the process.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Who cares the bag tax passed?  Dallas Council Critters flip flopping is something new?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@oakclifftownie  Actually, it doesn't make it all good again.  But it's a first step in getting it into the public conscience.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@boogerleo  Kleinman is a boob. He doesn't even know about the incredibly trashy parts of his own district. (By trashy I do not mean plastic bags flying around.) 

Lorlee
Lorlee

@boogerleo It's not the Ragsdales, Lipscombs (both way long gone-- get over it) and Carraway's who continually give away the store and pander to Highland Park interests and support silly bridges and too many TIFs

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@submarinequeen 'Biodegradable' does not mean environmentally sound.  It just means that the plastic will degrade into the ground or water.  So will nuclear waste and oil, eventually.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

That ad helps to pay for your forum. There's a little X at the top right which will close the pop-up. Alternately, there's a "Skip this ad" link to click.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Lorlee  Carraway voted for the bridge.


So, everything you said was entirely wrong.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  There's a little X on my ass.  Kiss it.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@oakclifftownie

Myrna's right, once the law is written, the powers-that-be can change it as often as, and in any way that they like - they can even exempt favored groups or use the law to bludgeon those who rile them.

Remember, Dallas went for Obama over any Republican, so, they're unlikely to object to this approach as long as someone is doing something.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@everlastingphelps @Lorlee Not hardly.  The impetus for those projects does not come from the Southern Sector although they can be "persuaded" to come along.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Your capacity for proud hypocrisy is almost unprecedented.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Have you ever wondered why you get so few "Like" clicks in this forum?

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