by Brad Kava
The Santa Cruz City Council may ban the purchase of plastic water bottles by the city government, a step in the right direction toward ending the 1 billion bottles that end up in the trash each year, according to a city report.
The ordinance would forbid the purchase of single-use water bottles in city offices except for times of emergency.
It does not, however, forbid the purchase of the bottles for resale, such as at events held at parks or for use by officers in the field where no other water is available. It will hear the issue at the meeting that starts at 3 p.m.
The council will also consider allowing smoking on October 22 in San Lorenzo Park, as part of a gathering by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which supports the rights of terminally ill patients to smoke the green buds.
The ban will be lifted for five hours, between noon and 5 p.m. The city will also look at strengthening its ordinance requiring city services and goods to be bought locally.
Currently it spends 21 percent of its annual purchasing, or $18 million, in the area, but that is on taxable goods and is a policy that not enforceable.
An ordinance would require that all local goods receive top preference. If a nonlocal company submits the lowest bid for a service, the city would reduce the local big by 3 percent and if that is the lowest big, would award the contract to the local at full price.