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California assemblyman Ian Calderon has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for restaurant staff to give customers a plastic straw unless they ask for one. Unrequested straws would draw a fine of $1,000 or even jail time. This measure has led some to wonder about those little plastic umbrellas in drinks, or those who foul the environment by giving patrons too many napkins. If the assemblyman is open to a counterargument he might get on a bike and ride the American River Parkway, which starts in Discovery Park, not far from the capitol.
The parkway hosts a bicycle trail, one of the finest in the country, that runs all the way to Folsom. On any given day riders, runners and walkers can see egrets, herons, otters, deer and countless wild turkeys. Trouble is, the first stretch of the parkway has been occupied by the “indigent community,” whose “campers” generate tons of trash, including plastic materials. This poses environmental and public health problems but with this crowd, an accredited victim group, politicians basically do nothing. (Homeowners and renters might try dumping their trash on public property and see what happens.) Such squalid encampments are fouling the environment statewide but assemblyman Ian Calderon prefers to look the other way and grasp at straws. Who is this guy anyway?
Just so you know, Ian Calderon, 32, is son of former assemblyman and state senator Charles Calderon. Charles Calderon is the brother of former state senator Ron Calderon, sentenced in 2016 to 3 1/2 years in prison in a corruption and bribery scandal. Ian’s father Charles is also brother to former state senator Thomas Calderon, sentenced in 2016 to one year in prison for laundering the bribe money through his firm. Those are tough acts to follow but maybe Ian Calderon is off to a good start with his quest to criminalize waiters for handing out plastic straws.