Yesterday, of course, was the second meeting of the City Smoking Ordinance Special Ad-Hoc Committee -- and it was supposed to be the final one before the briefing on December 3, when the entire council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance. After last week’s straw polling on each issue -- such as banning smoking in bars, billiard halls, tobacco shops and so forth; there's a complete list here -- it was left to the City Attorney's Office to stuff the yays and nays into an ordinance full of legal jargon for yesterday's meeting.
From the looks of the early draft -- which is available in its entirety after the jump -- looks like the city's this close to prohibiting smoking in bars and taverns and in billiard halls and within 15 feet of a public entrance to a workplace.
“I think the committee did one good thing today, and that’s to ban indoor smoking,” Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Elba Garcia told Unfair Park after adjournment. Still, the council members in attendance were split on the subject: Some want to expand the ordinance; others don't see why the city's in such a hurry to butt in.
“I do not see why this council is getting out in front of the state legislature," said Vonciel Jones Hill, who is not on the ad hoc committee. "I believe we are out of order.”
Sheffie Kadane, also not on the committee, voiced his concerns with a hypothetical business owner who, under the ordinance, couldn’t have a separate smoking room on the 50th floor of his building. "That’s communistic,” he said to much applause and cheering.
Angela Hunt, she might have been mentioned before, said she doesn’t care if smokers want to kill themselves. But “what they don’t have the right to do is push that smoke down my lungs.” More applause.
Committee chair Pauline Medrano noted several times that the draft of the ordinance may or may not pass when brought up for vote by the entire council.
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It would appear, though, that the committee needs another meeting (one will be announced after checking committee members' schedules) and more information before going to the entire council with an ordinance. Among the things in further need of consideration: more information about how other cities regulate the exact amount of feet to ban smoking from an entrance, more info on the economic struggles of bars in other cities that ban the smoking, and more data on what exactly constitutes a cigar bar. (Um.)
“We’re struggling with this," Hunt said, "and we’re struggling to understand this.” --Courtney Clenney