News


Menlo Park smoking ban: it's coming back

Staff report released

For all those holding their breath until Menlo Park's newest smoking ban gets approved, the wait may be almost over. The City Council will consider the ordinance at its next meeting, on Sept. 14.

A staff report circulated on Sept. 2 highlighted a few revisions made since the city last considered the ordinance in March.

The list of "no smoking" zones expands to the common areas of apartments and other shared multi-unit housing, including condominiums owned by the occupants.

According to the new language of the ordinance, landlords can't be held liable for a tenant smoking in a rented apartment if secondhand smoke harms another resident. But the tenant can now sue the other resident if "adversely impacted" by their smoking.

The ordinance would still ban smoking in most public areas, such as bus stops, parks, and ticket lines.

However, the revised wording allows smokers to light up on sidewalks, or other unenclosed spaces like streets or open outdoor areas set aside for that purpose by restaurants and tobacco retailers.

Barbara Franklin, who pushed the council for a new ordinance after smelling a neighbor's smoke while inside her own condo, asked council members on Aug. 31 when the ordinance would return to the agenda. "September 14?" she said. "Then on September 14 I shall return."

If the City Council approves the ordinance, it would go into effect 30 days later.

To read the staff report, click here.

Comments

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Does this mean we finally can get a law banning leaf blowers - the noise and dust and fumes are as harmful to health as cigarette smoke passing though a condo wall or vent.

No, Tristan, it doesn't. This is another piece of feel good legislation that will accomplish nothing. Even more than accomplishing nothing there will be unintended consequenses. Just the city council trying to look like they're doing something while shutting up a whiney constituent that will not leave this issue alone.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

The first thing to do is have the building inspectors find why smoke is getting through the firewall. If smoke can penetrate, so can fire. Once building code violations are corrected, the ban won't be nencessary. Hopefully, the code violations can be corrected before September 14 so she can provide written verification that all building codes have been met.


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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

The story should have said "common areas" of multi-unit housing, and has been corrected. As far as smokers within apartments, they can now be sued by another resident "adversely impacted by secondhand smoke."


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Posted by tom h
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

can't we just have the smokers just sit in thier cars and turn on the exhaust i mean light a cig and thats it.
i don't go to calf baronnies because of the smoke from the smoke shop next door.
in the end the more places we ban smoking the better for all concerned expecilly the smokers.


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Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:05 am

More movement towards a totally repressive society by the smoke, dog, whatever nazis. Now I suppose the next law will be to protect all those poor souls who are offended by the site of someone doing anything they don't personally enjoy doing, say, for example, jogging while scantily clad in shorts and gym tops. Those heathens!
It is totally ludicrous to say that all the other air-borne pollutants we are constantly bombarded by are inconsequential and can be controlled for in any "study".
While you're at it, could we please ban all traffic on El Camino real and Santa Cruz so I can enjoy my coffee at the my favorite open air, sidewalk cafe?


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:48 am

I'd like to ban people who use too much perfume or cologne. It's as offensive to me as cigarette smoke.

While we're at it, I'm also offended by fat people in spandex, Birkenstocks, people who talk in movie theaters, hairy men in tank tops and yellow cars.

But I do feel better now.


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Posted by fra59e
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 4, 2010 at 5:47 pm

The basic problem is that smokers are hiding from the fact that they are committing an act of assault when they expect others to put up with their discarded toxic wastes without their consent. Some people need to get their fix of nicotine, others people need to have sex, and others need to clear the mucus out of their throats and spit it out, or to pick their noses and dispose of these bodily wastes. Used cigarette smoke is just another bodily waste and you no more have some "right" to discard waste smoke on others than you have a "right" to dump any other bodily waste on them.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I can't stand the smell of what my neighbor barbeques. It is smoke so we should outlaw that too? Give me a break. The world is full of toxic smelly stuff. Deal with it.


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm

It can put up with the smoke even though I am not a smoker. It is the smoke and mirrors foisted upon us by the far left that I find intolerable. These self appointed, self righteous proseletyzers, feel that the rest of us poor misguided souls should be thankful that we have them to make the tough life choices for us.

Well the midterms are coming up and the far left is about to enter the "Wilderness Years". Don't let the ballot box hit you in your *ss.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

And I don't like people who drive slow in the fast lane, don't have their money ready when they get to the cashier, and don't control their kids in a restaurant...

Can we pass some laws about them?


Like this comment
Posted by Keep it to yourself
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

No, Hank, I don't care what tough life choices you make, as long as you're not poisoning the rest of us with those choices. I'm even OK when you blow smoke in this forum, although I sometimes wonder if you can possibly be writing with a straight face. (For example, referring to the "smoke and mirrors" of others in a rant about something that has nothing to do with the topic at hand? Please.)

But I draw the line with people blowing nicotine-laced smoke in my face or my space. My lungs were damaged enough by second-hand smoke before the proof was in on how dangerous it is. Frankly, I like the smell of cigarette smoke, but my lungs close up and threaten to shut down completely when they're assaulted by it.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleased MP Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I become debilitated by these substances and get frequent migraine headaches, which lead to my being bedridden for at least half a day. I am not alone, many non-users get these very same symptoms from second-hand smoke. Expellers of these fumes don't come to my house and take over my duties of caring for my kids nor repay me for work days when I'm ill, I have no recourse. Non-users are simply pleading that our public air be breathable. There are limits on car exhaust, fire places, etc and we ask for cigarettes to also be limited. Don't expect the rest of us to directly suffer along with you and your addiction.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Pleased MP mom-

I'm not a smoker and I personally don't enjoy cigarette smoke. In fact, I think any cigarette smoker who deliberately blows their exhaust at a non-smoker should be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

But for you to say that we need to impose "limits" on cigarette smokers is beyond absurd. Cigarettes are THE most regulated substance in our country - even more so than alcohol and drugs.

You have to be over 18 to even purchase them. They are labeled as deadly. They cost a fortune and almost all of that price is a tax that's sole purpose is to dissuade useage. We are bombarded by advertising that tells us not to smoke. And finally, you can't even smoke cigarettes in indoor public places and many outdoor public places.

Couple these "limitations" with the overt disdain that non-smokers shower on cigarette smokers - which is fine with me - it is impossible to suggest that cigarette smokers are anything less than second class citizens.

Perhaps all of that is fine with you, but cigarette smoking, like drinking wine, is legal. If you don't like that status, you should lobby your elected officials to make it illegal... but you won't find a very receptive audience and you'll miss those tax revenues greatly.

But you should be advised, sooner or later one of your neighbors is going to feel like they are being assaulted by your Shalimar. In fact, these people already exist and are making similar demands. When it's your perfume, detergent, mouthwash or body odor that's in their bullseye, you might think very differently about this issue. I, for one, would just assume rely upon mutual respect and consideration for my protection.

We live in a society where we have lots of freedoms. Our constitution doesn't say we have a right to never be offended.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

"Our constitution doesn't say we have a right to never be offended."

bingo POGO! Second hand smoke is bad if you're in the same room with the smoker, if you're not, it's just smelly. There's lots of smelly stuff in our world that we have to put up with, like too much perfume, that we just have to deal with. Deal with it folks or this will be one big slippery slope. We'll slide on down to no one being able to wear fragrances, no one being able to go out in public without bathing, etc, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by Wow
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 6, 2010 at 8:20 pm

POGO I often disagree with you, but these posts are dynamite and right on. Bravo sir. I appreciate your wit, and your assertion that freedom has its warts too...and I believe the nanny state alternative to be dreadful. Keep posting.


Like this comment
Posted by Gaspard le Petillant
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

This ordinance is a waste of staff time, probably cost $10,000 in attorney time, and is unenforceable.

[Portion deleted.]


Like this comment
Posted by Matt
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Maybe one day we will found a country in which all people are free to do as they please, without overzealous tyrants telling us how to live and where and when we can do things.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Matt,

Don't you know that liberals know what is best for the masses. We are so fortunate to have these paragons of wisdom, virtue, and enlightenment providing us with much need guidance to improve our wretched lives. What would we do without them?


Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Hank:

I agree, let's get rid of all the liberal do-gooder rules. Let's start next to your place in Sharon Heights:

- allow on street overnight parking
- allow BK, Taco Bell and Burger King into the shopping center
- replace all grass fields in the local parks and schools with artificial (high capacity) turf, and put up light poles so the adult soccer players can play till midnight or later
- then let a bunch of late night restaurant and bars into the shopping center to service all those thirsty, healthy adults.
- after they've had a couple, let's move Hanky Panky and the adult video/toy store up there too!

How about a mosque, for good measure?

re: your "...self appointed, self righteous proseletyzer..." comment: have you ever gone back and read your libertarian screeds?

We are so happy for you that neither you, nor yours, have health issues exacerbated by smoke.

Continued good health to you....


Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm

whoops! Meant:
allow BK, Taco Bell and *McDonalds* into the shopping center


Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm

This is all about legislating personal preferences. It is irresponsible to pander to these individuals who somehow have come to believe they are the center of the universe, and are unable to manage their personal disputes. The City Council needs to take their responsibilities seriously and quash this foolishness once and for all.


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

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