California Grocers Association Encourages Los Angeles County Shoppers To Use Reusable Bags

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793
E-mail: [email protected]

California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814

Unincorporated Los Angeles County To Implement Plastic Bag Ban, Fee On Paper Bags on July 1.

SACRAMENTO, CA — (June 30, 2011) – On the eve of the implementation of the County of Los Angeles’ mandated plastic bag ban, California Grocers Association President Ronald Fong reminds shoppers to bring their reusable bags on their next shopping trip.

On July 1, most supermarkets and pharmacies in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and in the City of Calabasas will no longer provide plastic carryout bags at checkout. By January 2012, the ban will include more than 1,000 smaller stores. Customers may purchase paper carryout bags for 10-cents. Grocers will also be mandated to sell reusable bags.

“Our experience has been that many shoppers have the best intentions of using reusable bags but typically forget to bring them when shopping,” Fong said.

Customers are also encouraged to be patient as both consumers and retailers become accustomed to the new mandated ordinance. “The phrase ‘paper or plastic’ has been a part of our industry’s vocabulary for nearly 30 years,” Fong said. “This change will require patience on both sides of the checkstand.”

The bag ban, passed by Los Angeles County Supervisors last year, will impact anyone shopping in stores outside the county’s incorporated cities, including Altadena, Athens, Baldwin Hills, East Pasadena, East Los Angeles, Florence, Hacienda Heights, LaCrescenta, Marina del Rey, Rancho Dominguez, Rowland Heights, Topanga Canyon, Valencia and Willowbrook.

The Board of Supervisors voted to ban plastic bags last November after Legislators failed to pass Assembly Bill 1998, a statewide plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags, supported by CGA, environmentalists and top state officials including then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The county ordinance mirrors the statewide legislation.

Note: For additional information, or to schedule an interview with a CGA spokesperson, please contact Dave Heylen, CGA, at (916) 448-3545.


The California Grocers Association is a non-profit trade association representing the food industry since 1898 and represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada.

Numbers From ABC Show Where Minors Really Buy Alcohol

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793
E-mail: [email protected]

California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814

SACRAMENTO, CA — (June 28, 2011) – Ron Fong, President and CEO of the California Grocers Association, today released the following statement in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 183 (Ma) by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee:

“Research from the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) shows that minors are not buying alcohol at supermarkets. AB 183 is a waste of taxpayer dollars and is designed for one purpose – to pressure non-union grocery stores that utilize assisted self-checkouts, not stopping minors from getting alcohol.

“Our members take the sale of alcohol to minors very seriously and follow policies and procedures to ensure that this does not happen at our grocery stores. In fact, recent data from the ABC shows that the vast majority of minor sales violations aren’t even occurring at grocery stores.

“Given the state’s current fiscal crisis and the unprecedented rates of unemployment, we had hoped that the Senate committee members would see this legislation for what it is – another attempt to kill jobs in California.”

To see the latest ABC information on violations for sales to minors– please visit our Government Relations page.


The California Grocers Association is a non-profit trade association representing the food industry since 1898 and represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 stores in California and Nevada.

Santa Clarita reaches out to retailers on abandoned carts

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Santa Clarita city officials noticed a marked increase in the presence of shopping carts on city streets in recent months and called a meeting with retailers last night to find reasonable solutions to the issue. The city staffers made it clear that their intent was to work with business and were not likely to shove another punitive cart ordinance down retailers throats.

It quickly became apparent that most of the retailers who took the time to attend were already doing their best to keep their carts off the streets with regular cart retrieval service, signs and offering for sale fold-able push carts to customers.
As in many communities, a few retailers apparently do not retrieve any of their carts from city streets, even after the City calls them to report a specific cart location. CGA advised the city to encourage those bad actors to their part without penalizing those grocers who are doing their best to keep carts off the streets.

Pasadena harms grocers with abandoned shopping cart enforcement strategy

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Shopping cart and internet shopping screen (Digital Composite)City enforcement personnel in Pasadena recently tied grocers in a bind by aggressively fining members up to $100 for each cart found off a store’s premises, regardless of efforts to keep carts on store property. After several discussions with staff and council offices, it is obvious that the city has a confrontational attitude towards grocers and intends to continue its zero-tolerance policy towards abandoned carts. Further, the activity is not staff-driven but was actually implemented at Council’s direction. CGA is publishing a letter-to-the-editor in the local paper and continuing to schedule meetings with council members and staff to present the industry position. Even so, there is no easy fix to this crisis and nothing in the pipeline to suggest that the enforcement activity will cease anytime soon. CGA will be scheduling a conference call to coordinate strategy to attack the problem and would like industry participation in an upcoming meeting with City officials. If your company has been impacted by this activity, please call Matthew Dodson at 818-841-8640 to discuss.

LA County Health Department gets it wrong… again

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Man with magnifying glassGrocers have taken grief from the Public Health Department at Los Angeles County for years, from the attempted criminalization of turkey trailers to misinformed inspectors to misguided attempts to have the County social engineer customers’ eating and drinking habits. Two recent issues demonstrate that Los Angeles County still can’t seem to get its house in order.

San Francisco Cell Phone Notification Enforcement Delayed

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old phonesThe San Francisco Department of Environment (DOE) is notifying retailers of delayed enforcement of the Cell Phone Right-to-Know Ordinance. This ordinance would require retailers to post Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) information when selling cell phones. Information on this delayed ordinance is available here.

The delay stems from legal issues identified with the information included in the notification requirements. CGA has confirmed with DOE staff the delay is indefinite. Supervisor Avalos has introduced a currently pending ordinance to change the notification information required. If the pending ordinance is passed, DOE will reinstitute enforcement based on the changes.

Caitlin Sanders with the DOE is the primary contact for questions regarding the delay. She can be reached at (415) 355-3757 or at [email protected] Please contact CGA with any questions or additional information regarding the pending ordinance.

CGA President Joins California Governor Brown In Urging Legislature To Pass Balanced,No-Gimmicks Budget

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793
E-mail: [email protected]

California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814

CGA supports Governor’s effort to take final decision to California voters.

SACRAMENTO, CA — (June 13, 2011) – California Grocers Association President Ronald Fong joined representatives from business, law enforcement, agriculture, education, labor and infrastructure and California Governor Jerry Brown at a press conference today urging legislators to pass a balanced, no gimmicks budget.

Governor Brown invited the broad coalition of supporters to participate in the press conference in hopes of swaying state legislators to present a budget that included new taxes to be approved by California voters. Prior to the event, the Governor met with the coalition to discuss the status of budget negotiations.

“This year, perhaps more than any other, will require extraordinary leadership and compromise from the Governor and Legislature,” Fong said following the press event. “ Our presence here today hopefully sends a strong message to both that the time has come for all sides to unite for the common good of the state.”

He added that as anchors of the communities they serve, California grocers are committed to the state’s success. “Our first priority is our customers, which means our first priority is California,” Fong said. “Let’s work together to restore our state’s greatness.”

While CGA supports the Governor’s intention to allow voters to decide on any type of tax increase, Fong emphasized that it wasn’t an endorsement of the Governor’s budget.

“To be clear, there are components of the current budget proposal that we wish looked different,” Fong said. “It is time to pass a budget that includes both long-term reform in key policy areas and an opportunity for voters to weigh in on tax extensions.”

Lawmakers are required to send the Governor a balanced budget by June 15, or lose pay beginning the following day, according to State Controller John Chiang.


The California Grocers Association is a non-profit trade association representing the food industry since 1898 and represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada.

CGA President Applauds Membership For Grass-Roots Effort

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793
E-mail: [email protected]

California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814

Efforts help industry defeat amendment aimed at derailing Durbin Amendment

SACRAMENTO, CA – (June 9, 2011) – California Grocers Association President Ronald Fong applauded CGA member companies for their involvement in derailing an effort in the U.S. Senate to delay implementation of critical debit card swipe fee reform.

In May, the U.S Senate passed the Durbin amendment that directed the Federal Reserve to determine “reasonable and proportional” transaction fees for debit cards. It was hailed as a major victory for retailers and consumers.

On June 8, Senate opponents to the Durbin amendment sought passage of a provision (Tester amendment) that would require the Federal Reserve to stop and rewrite those proposed rules. It failed to get the required 60 votes for passage.

The failed attempt was again lauded as a major victory for both retailers and consumers and allows the Federal Reserve to issue a final rule on a previously passed amendment to create needed debit card interchange fee reform.

“Our members’ grass-roots lobbying efforts prior to the June 8 vote played a key role in securing support from both California senators,” said CGA President Ron Fong. “With the proponents of the delay provision falling just six votes short of the required 60 needed for passage, it was critical we secure as many no votes as possible.”

In the weeks leading up to the June 8 vote, CGA worked closely with its national counterparts (Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association) to aggressively lobby U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. The campaign included personal visits, both in Washington DC and in California, letter writing and telephone calls.

“This was a very emotional issue with both sides flooding the senators’ offices with emails, faxes and telephone calls,” Fong said. “It was critical both our senators know how important this issue was to our industry and our customers.”

Fong said CGA member involvement in the FMI/NGA/FIAE Day in Washington event last March helped to secure important no votes on the delay provision. Association members also accompanied CGA’s government relations team in visiting Sen. Feinstein’s San Francisco office just prior to the vote.

Fong called CGA’s advocacy plan a perfect case study in effective grass-root member advocacy.

“How we approached opposing the Tester amendment is how we should approach every piece of important legislation regardless of our position,” said Fong. “Strong member involvement, coupled with well-informed and prepared CGA staff, is the key to legislative success. I am extremely proud of both our membership and staff for making this happen.”

While this latest grass-roots effort focused on federal legislation, Fong stressed that the same principal applies on the state and local level. “Our members need to understand that their involvement is key to our lobbying success,” said Fong, adding that with a new Democratic governor, member support is more important than ever.


The California Grocers Association is a non-profit trade association representing the food industry since 1898 and represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada.

Redistricting – State Waits While Locals Tinker

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CaliforniaOver the next few days a tremendous amount of media coverage will focus on redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts. Much of the story will focus on the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC). Previously the California State Legislature carved their own maps, often in closed processes, to create personal fiefdoms. Strangely enough the majority party usually came out ahead. Many thought they did a poor job, which is why the voters of California took away their power and handed it to the CRC in 2008.

But not all redistricting is handled this way in California. All 58 California Counties and every City with council districts (usually just larger cities) are currently slicing and dicing maps based on census data. From Del Norte to Imperial and all parts in between district lines are being shifted to balance population and maintain communities of interest. While the public is involved, the final decision is made by a majority of the elected officials in that jurisdiction.

So how does one go about drawing districts? Through transparency. Most jurisdictions are scheduling a series of public hearings to seek input. A number are taking cues from the CRC and appointing their own commission (advisory only). Several offer access to detailed mapping programs to draw your own suggestion, like Santa Barbara County. No matter what tools are employed, open meeting laws and common democratic ideals push local governments and their elected officials to be inclusive and responsible.

With this short look at California redistricting the cautionary tale is clear. Keep the process open, information available, and conversations public and people will usually trust the decision. Even if a Supervisor or Councilmember argues a little too forcefully for their district to be drawn a certain way they will have to do so looking constituents (and the media) in the eye.

Grocers gear up for SoCal bag ordinances

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not a plastic bagWhen Long Beach passed its carryout bag ordinance on May 17th, it became the fourth jurisdiction in Southern California to pass such an law. Despite the failure of the Legislature to pass AB 1998 and create a single state-wide standard, SoCal governments have mostly passed bills that closely mirror the County of Los Angeles, which was the first jurisdiction to pass such an ordinance in the region.

There are only a few weeks left before most grocers must begin implementing the new regulations. A few things to consider:

1) CGA is producing a poster that you can post in your stores to prepare your customers for Los Angeles County ordinance.

2) The County is prepared to cooperate with stores to give out free reusable bags and educate consumers about the upcoming changes to the checkout process. If you are interested in working with the County, call Nilda Gemeniano at 626-458-5184.

3) LA County information

4) Santa Monica information

5) Calabasas information

6) Long Beach information

In addition, the County has provided CGA with some answers to common questions about the their ordinance:

1) For EBT customers, do we give free recyclable paper bags to the customers that are purchasing taxable non food items with the cash portion of their publically funded EBT card?

WIC and SNAP participants are the only customers to be provided free carryout bags for their purchases. Affected stores would develop and incorporate into their operations methods of confirming customer participation in these programs.

2) Do we charge 10 cents for the small bags such as number #8, #12 and #735? Sometimes these small bags are used to wrap and protect individual items, such as wine and glassware, and sometimes these bags are used as final carryout bags for small items.

When paper bags are being used as carryout bags, they must be charged 10 cents/bag.

3) Are the small poly carryout bags that are used for greeting cards authorized to keep in the stores, and do we charge 10 cents for them?

Affected stores must not use any plastic carryout bags except for produce/food bags. Paper bags that are used to carry out greeting cards and other small items will be charged 10 cents/bag. The stores should ask the customer if they want a bag.

4) We have a large carryout bag with handles for our hot food in the Service Delis. Do we need to discontinue using this bag? If we are authorized to keep this bag, do we charge the 10 cent fee?

If the service deli is part of the affected store, then they must stop using plastic carryout bags. If this large carryout bag is a paper bag, the deli/store must charge 10 cents/bag.

5) Do we charge sales tax on the 10 cent bag fee?

Los Angeles County is not a taxing agency. In developing the Ordinance, we contacted the State Board of Equalization. They advised us that since the paper carryout bag is a “container”, it falls under the Container Rule – Reg. 1589. As long as there are taxable items in the paper bag the charge would be subject to tax, but if there are no taxable items in the paper bag the charge would not be subject to tax.