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Menlo Park woman pushes for ban on smoking in condos, apartments

Original post made on Jan 14, 2009

Barbara Franklin has become a regular presence at Menlo Park City Council meetings, delivering her insistent message to council members at each of the last three meetings about the hazards of secondhand smoke.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by annoyed
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 14, 2009 at 9:08 am

It is a FREE country lady. If you don't like it...move to some place where the smoke will not bother you. Any person has a ruight to do whatever they please in their own homes. Get a life.

Posted by to your health
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 14, 2009 at 9:38 am

annoyed, your arsonal of bumper-sticker cliches is as stale as the smell of an old carpet in a smoker's former apartment. Yes, it's a free country, and we should be free to say no to second-hand smoke that endangers our lives. And, you say "get a life"? She's trying to protect her life, for chrissake. Try doing some research on second-hand smoke. The life you save may be your own.

Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Perhaps she would be happier living in Belmont (now known as Berkeley West. People, set aside your personal feelings about smoking and get a grip on the important issue here. What free people do in the privacy of their own home and behind closed doors--so long as it is not criminal activity--should be a freedom we are prepared to fight to defend. Period!!

Posted by Biden. Joe Biden
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

Looked at another way, WhoRUpeople, how much do non-smoking free people subsidize the habit of smokers? How many billions of dollars each year are spent treating smoking-related cancers, emphysema, heart disease, and myriad other health problems? How much more expensive are my health insurance premiums because my provider must also cover smokers and the morbidly obese, say? How much do these "freedoms" cost our society? If smokers were willing to drop their health insurance and/or pay for all smoking-related medical treatment out of pocket -- if they're willing to smoke and die in complete environmental and economic isolation, that is -- then perhaps this argument based on "freedoms" would approach the rational.

Biden. Joe Biden, noted friend of Gern Blanston

Posted by KAL TRAINS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 15, 2009 at 11:25 am

Can I get a bail out?

Posted by Get a Life
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I totally agree with WHORUPEOPLE and ANNOYED. It is this ninny garbage that has the VAST majority of us living in political correct hell. The masses bend over backwards to keep from offending the very few. This is garbage. Taking my freedoms offends me. Keep your laws off what I do inside my house. Exercise your freedom to move. Don't give me the phoney baloney "oh people die from second and third hand smoke that occurs within a million miles of them and it costs us zallions of dollars" garbage either. I have seen these studies, and they warp every law of statistics to make a political point. This nanny state stuff is so absurd it would be funny, if there were not those in positions of power who actually took it seriously. If I did smoke, I imagine I would need a cigarette now to help me cope with the lunacy around me. Sigh.

Posted by Diana
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

"Get a Life..." "nanny state..." "political(ly) correct hell..." Why is it that you people can't think for yourselves? That you're content to parrot the tired talking points of others of your political bent rather than think about other points of view? Everyone else is engaged in "lunacy," but you're so indisputably sane and reasonable, eh? And every scientific study that disturbs your dogmatic, comfortable way of thinking (I use that word loosely) is nothing more than garbage.

I urge you to explore the ideas Barbara Franklin has put before the public -- with an open mind. Read up on the ordinance that just went into effect in Belmont, and the council's reasons for approving it-- with an open mind. Then, if you disagree, fine. But somehow I think that you're more content to bellow and bray, then sigh over everyone's else's "lunacy." Sad.

Posted by Get a Life
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

Dearest clearly misunderstand...I can and do think for myself, and while you seem to look down your nose at me, and others like me who share a Jeffersonian view of freedom, I ask you...what else other than "nanny state" would you call the government intruding into your home and regulating a legal activity? Why would you invite this intrusion into your life? What else should be regulated? Denying we are in a political correct hell where people are afraid to speak their opinion for fear of being labeled, put in a box, and discounted, is misguided at best.

You and I disagree. I am guessing you are liberal, and are probably well educated and intelligent. I am fairly conservative/libertarian, and consider myself to be fairly intelligent. The fact that we can disagree is a freedom...and every time freedom is eroded, we all suffer. I openly disagree with "studies" that say 2nd and 3rd hand smoke kill more people than car wreck...yes...I disgree...not for dogmatic differences as you suggest, but because is it now impossible in our world to get unbiased "studies" on anything, on any side of an issue. The results, not matter how wild, are embraced by the side who paid for the study, etc. Both sides try to play this study card, and I am done with it.

I hate smoking, I hate the smell, I hate it all. I bellow and bray (great terms BTW...seriously I liked them a lot) because I am tired to the point of nauseum of the government stuffing things down our throat for our health and safety, and trying to further intrude and control our lives. The UK has become a nation of sissies because of this kind of thing. I believe it to be a very slippery slope. I will read the proposal if I can ever get it. I am guessing I will still disagree with it...but I am all about giving something a fair shake. If I think it silly, I will be back riduculing it, not you. Fair enough? Hope all is well in Allied Arts today.

Posted by palo alto paremt
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2009 at 10:44 am

Secondhand smoke contributes to heart attacks. Cities in Colorado that banned smoking experience a 50%!!! drop in heart attacks. Web Link

Our country is not so free that you get to contribute to someone else dying of heart disease.

Posted by Liz
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

How is it that you can't make the distinction between exposure to second hand smoke from living with a smoker (who smokes inside) for 20 years, and occationally getting a whiff of a someones cigarette?
You want to regulate behavior because you do not approve, not to protect your health.

You are no better than the proud citizens of the bible belt. Congratulations?

Posted by Non-smoker
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm

As a non smoker, I applaud Barbara Franklin in her crusade to ban smoking from condos and apartments. The second hand cigarette smoke in my last apartment was so overwhelming I finally moved. The forced air heating sucked the smoke out of my neighbors apartment and moved it into mine. My apartment smelled like a smoker's apartment. Even my clothes hanging in the closet smelled like cigarette smoke. Smoke can travel through the tiniest spaces including electrical outlets. There's really no way to keep it out. My sister lives in a beautiful apartment building in San Francisco. Her neighbor is a heavy smoker and the smoke from her apartment stinks up the entire floor. My sister sticks a towel in front of her door to keep out the smoke. Why should non-smokers be forced to inhale deadly toxins from second hand cigarette smoke in their own apartment? Cigarette smoke has finally been banned from hospitals, airports, business and restaurants; it's now time to ban them from apartment buildings. Go Barbara!

a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm

We live in a condo in the Northeast Region of the country. It is about 17 degrees outside and our doors & windows are open! This has become a nightly rountine due to the overwhelming smell of smoke in our unit. (Of course, we also have the heat blowing!).

We are not against smoking, but we are against sitting in the ER all night because of an Asthma attack!

Posted by Kim
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Please help protect the health & safety of those that prefer to stay healthy & safe. All Menlo Park residents should be afforded the right to breathe fresh air. They should not be forced to live with second-hand smoke coming through the walls of their apartment, or into their windows, because their neighbor smokes like mine does. Just because we can't afford to live in a single-family home away from others, doesn't mean we don't wish we could. Just because we make less money than others that can afford a single-family home doesn't mean we don't deserve the right to live a healthy & safe life. Thank you for considering my opinion. -Kim

Posted by William Newberry
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Well I' don't wanna remove a persons rights. But what happens when those right interfere with another's? My new neighbor is a heavy smoker , I wake up in the middle of the night to a foggy room and we have 4 sheets of drywall between up.
Yes is makes me mad , but I did the neighborly thing and purchased a air purifier for my neighbor and basically begged him to use it all the time . I also brought a plate of cookies and said hey , you help me I help you.

He was understanding and heck got a free purifier out of it.

The smoke is 99% gone .

If you want peace in your life sometimes you gotta do the right thing,even if you think its wrong.

Posted by Linda
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I understand both sides of this argument, but I have to side with those who feel that to ban smoking inside your own house - whether its a single family home, townhome or condo - is an infringement of one's rights. And I am a liberal.

I hate smoking - I grew up with two smokers for parents. But our HOA in Los Gatos has recently decided to ban smoking everywhere - common areas, outside, inside, everywhere - and I feel this ban is just plain wrong. And there's no grace period or grandfather clause for those who have lived here for years and smoke. One day you can smoke - the next you can't. It just doesn't stop overnight - no matter what you might hope for. This is a violation of my rights and every other person's rights that live here.

My husband is a smoker - and he is polite about it. We have done a lot to reduce any exposure to our neighbors, including only smoking inside the house, with the windows and doors closed, with air filters running full bore. Our units all have fully separate HVAC systems, and there is fire blocking between units. I have stood in the hallways and cannot smell anything - other than the strong garlic smell from my neighbors cooking. Should we ban cooking with garlic? Should we ban all pets if anyone living in the building is allergic? Should we ban alcohol consumption because it might cause problems? What else should we ban?

I, for one, intend in the long run to sell and leave this complex because I honestly can say I now can't stand any of my neighbors. But I won't leave without a fight on the smoking ban, because it is just the principal of the thing.

Posted by annoyed by annoyed
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

I applaud you for taking a stand and acting on behalf of everyone who is tired of being forced to breathe in second-hand smoke because of someone's inconsiderate behavior. For those of you who don't, or won't, understand, some of us have health problems, ie- asthma, heart conditions etc, that make breathing smoke quite dangerous. Don't we have a right to not be surrounded by something, and in our own homes, that could kill us? Yes, it does kill. And yes, a smoker smoking on his/her own balcony, or in the common yard, or even in their home with windows open, is smoking in his neighbors home as well. Smoke does not stand still. If you want to kill yourselves, please do so, and quickly, without taking out the rest of us with you. And yes, I am irate. I've lived with this same problem, neighbors smoking infiltrating my home, for too long. It shouldn't be incumbent upon me to make a move, but the one committing the offense.

Posted by Margo
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Help, we recently moved into our very first apartment building, The Tan Plaza in Palo Alto. On the lease, there was no mention about smoking. We along with some other neighbors assumed that it was a non smoking building. We have an issue with a neighbor smoking cigarettes and cigars on his balcony adjacent to our apartment. We can't even leave our sliding door open for fresh air because the toxic smoke drifts into our apartment. The property manager spoke with the smoker and explained that we have health issues with second hand smoke. At first, he said that he would go up on the roof and smoke. A few days later he changed his mind, and now smokes several times a day on his balcony. We are thinking of drafting a non smoking petition and distributing it to the other residents. Would this accomplish anything? We are ready to join Barbara Franklin in her crusade to eliminate smoking in Palo Alto!!!!!! We are seriously considering moving, but really like the building. The property manager has offered another unit, but stated that there are other smokers in the building. I have read that some buildings are putting all the smokers in a designated area of the building. We are so fed up and need advice. We would be satisfied if there was a smoking ban on balconies or patios. Even though the smoke does permeate through the outlets and walls, we could live with people being allowed to smoke in their own units.

Posted by Kayce
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

What a wonderful lady. Please continue your efforts.

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