News

Smoking ordinance could have broad reach

 

Menlo Park's City Council at its March 2 meeting passed an ordinance banning smoking in public places, including ATM lines and parking lots.

In addition to banning smoking in enclosed spaces such as restaurants and places of employment, the revised ordinance will also prohibit smoking in public parks, parking lots open to the public, places of congregation such as ATM machines and bus stops, and in common areas within multi-unit residences.

Perhaps most significantly, the ordinance declares second-hand smoke a nuisance -- enabling people to take legal action against others who smoke in their vicinity, in an adjoining apartment unit, for instance.

The council approved the wording of the ordinance by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman John Boyle dissenting. The ordinance will come before the council at a later date, and will go into effect 30 days after it's enacted.

In dissenting, Mr. Boyle said he thought the ordinance was too restrictive, and would have unintended consequences. As examples, he cited a ban on smoking in parking lots open to the public, such as the lot in front of Safeway, and a prohibition on ash trays in non-smoking areas.

"I think we shouldn't enact legislation unless we've thought through it," he said.

Bill Davis, the owner of Knickerbockers Cigars, pointed out that under the new ordinance, people would not be allowed to smoke in a patio outside his shop. Council members expressed sympathy, but decided against "grandfathering in" his shop.

The city drafted the ordinance in response to an extraordinary lobbying effort by Barbara Franklin, who decided to take up the issue after she was bothered by smoke wafting into her condominium unit from an apartment below hers. She began making presentations to the council about the dangers of secondhand smoke in late 2008, and has attended most council meetings since then, often sitting through the several hours of the meeting.

The council has received a trickle of correspondence about the issue from residents since then with, with several people making nuanced arguments about how far the ordinance should go. At the meeting, incorporated into the ordinance several changes suggested by the California Apartment Association.

The revised ordinance will also enable the city to enforce a San Mateo County law, requiring tobacco vendors to obtain permits from the county. Some believe that requirement would decrease the incidence of vendors selling cigarettes to minors.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine1
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm

What ?? NO ordinance banning GAS powered LEAF BLOWERS !?!?
How much sense does that make to still keep these Hell--on--earth machines LEGAL ???
WHY should Menlo Park residents be required to put up EVERY WEEK with the POISONING of our precious AIR with these Hell--on--earth machines??

I myself clearly REMEMBER a Menlo Park in the 1970s--1980s pre--blower that WAS Heaven on Earth.
Very sadly I no longer consider Menlo Park to be a beautiful city because of the continued weekly operation of these disgusting devices.
Please--Please--Please remember that during the 1970s Menlo Park home prices SOARED.
During the same time period, urban ghettos like West Oakland, East Los Angeles LOST real estate value.
People were able to EASILY tell the difference between a ghetto and a tony suburb without obsessing about a little dust here or there on a property.
In the 1970s there was NO USE of leaf blowers whatsoever anywhere.
This was PRIOR to the mass marketing of these devices that began in the 1990s.
Those obvious Historic facts can be our salvation here that will liberate us from this total nonsense.
We do NOT need to be so very afraid of the occasional mess that mother nature makes.
Mother nature has been around a very--very long time and only recently has this manufactured PHOBIA about nature been created to line the pockets of some very misguided (corrupt) industries.
As I said before we lived very peacefully right here with mother nature just 30 to 40 years ago HERE in Menlo Park.
We simply CAN and MUST follow the POSITIVE example that recent history has shown really WORKS.


Please look at this website and see just how "CLEAN" these machines really make our area:

Web Link




WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LEAF BLOWERS


Leaf Blowers Are Hazardous to Your Health. Here’s 3 reasons why these ozone offenders should be banned. More reasons after this article.

1.Air Pollution. A gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour as an automobile does over 350 miles. The difference is that a car emits all that pollution over a big stretch of road, while a leaf blower deposits it all in one back or front yard.

2.Dangerous chemicals. Leaf blowers spread dust, dirt, animal droppings, herbicides and pesticides into your air, over your cars and into the windows of your home.

3.Noise. Blowers whine "like dental drills gone berserk," said the Detroit Free-Press. Added the Christian Science Monitor: "Blowers blare and screech, kick up dirt and dust and accomplish nothing."

The machines generate unacceptable amounts of air and noise pollution while doing little more than pushing debris into the air, city streets and gutters. According to Regional Air Council studies, 6 percent of the volatile organic compound pollutants in the skies above the Denver-metro area is generated by hand-held, gas-powered tools.

Leaf blowers are more accurately dust blowers; they blow dust from one place to another, containing fertilizers, pesticides, dog and cat fecal matter, top soil, etc. Help reduce air contaminants by banning the leaf blower.

The use of blowers is currently illegal in 20 major California cities, including Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Lomita, Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Claremont, South Pasadena and Santa Barbara for one simple reason: they are hazardous to our health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers noise above 85 decibels dangerous; leaf blowers register at 90 decibels and above. And even though manufacturers recommend wearing protection at all times, gardeners regularly work without protective headphones.

Many also don't wear respiratory gear, an omission with significant health risks considering the machine stirs up dangerous dust, including airborne feces and allergens such as molds and pollens.

"Blowers churn up clouds of fuel exhaust mixed with debris that should be left on the ground," argues Menlo Park ban supporter Cheryl Zaslawsky, "such as pesticides, animal droppings, bacteria, mold spores, brake dust and more."

The American Lung Association recommends that passers-by avoid blowers if possible, especially if they suffer from respiratory problems.

And on the far end of the alarmist spectrum comes this: Leaf blowers are killing babies. At least so claims an attorney for an anti-blower group in Los Angeles, arguing in a recent court brief: "Approximately 45 babies a year die from SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome] in Los Angeles due to airborne particulate matter and many of those deaths are attributed to dust from gas-powered leaf blowers."

In addition to dust, the blowers emit other particulates. The lung association considers air pollution caused by leaf blowers an even more serious problem. According to Margaret Leathers, executive director of the association's local chapter, leaf blowers generate as much pollution in one hour as driving a car 100 miles. In the Bay Area alone, blowers account for 1.4 tons a day of smog-forming compounds and 15 tons of carbon monoxide.

Stop this foolishness!!

LINKS

A bill to restrict cities and counties from banning leaf blowers 1999
Sponsor of the bill:
1. Association of Latin American Gardeners [CO-SPONSOR]
2. CA Landscape Contractors Association [CO-SPONSOR]
3. Lawn and Garden Equipment Dealers Coalition [CO-SPONSOR]
These three sponsors got together and convinced the hired gardeners (peons) that they would lose their jobs if leaf blowers were banned. There was no one there to tell them the truth, so they bought into a huge lie for the sake of a few greedy business people (the blower INDUSTRY).


Like this comment
Posted by can't breath
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 2, 2010 at 1:48 am

I'm with you Sunshine. I don't get the blower noise because thank god I'm at work, but my neighbors and I get the blower dirt and dust twice a week because the HOA seems to think it's against the law for leaves to fall from branches.


Like this comment
Posted by Flynn
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:19 am

Kindly stay on the subject, which is a smoking ordinance. I totally support more smoking restrictions, as I went to the trouble to quit smoking years ago and definitely object to having to breathe someone's second-hand smoke.


Like this comment
Posted by NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL NUTS!! WHY DON'T YOU PUT YOURSELVES IN A CLOSET,
CLOSE AND SEAL THE DOOR!! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO START COMPLAINING THAT THE FLOWERS STINK AND THE BIRDS SING TOO LOUD!!
AREN'T YOU TIRED OF YOURSELVES? WE'RE ALL TIRED OF YOU!!


Like this comment
Posted by Red Cloud
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

As a menber of a "native tribe" I have a responsibility to worship the great power that made us all. Part of that ceremony involves the use of tobacco. As I will not be able to practice my religion my spirit will be forced to wander this world after my death. You people have taken almost all of my heritage, now you want the rest. Perhaps you should all go back to Europe and give us back our country. In other words, I am offended by the smell of your cars and fast food restaurants, get rid of them first. You all should be walking and eating natural food anyway.


Like this comment
Posted by Ken J.
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:32 am

I understand the need to ban smoking in enclosed spaces. I remember how meaningless it was to reserve a seat in the no-smoking section of a plane or restaurant since smoke doesn't pay attention to boundaries. But I'm puzzled by the hysteria and vitriol around the issue. It seems out of proportion to, say, all the car exhaust we spew without thinking. or particulates from plane flights.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,269 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,022 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 857 views