By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Council delays action on smoking ban

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Comments

Mudstump

"However, Towery said the smoking ban has been a high priority on the association’s agenda since last summer, and many association members are eager to see it passed. “The sense from the MDA is the sooner, the better.”

Okay....so here is the real truth. They want to ban smoking so they are going to use loitering as a justification. That's pretty underhanded and low imo. If you want to ban smoking have the courage of your convictions and do it honestly and with transparency. This proposal didn't pass the smell test from the beginning. I kept asking what will be done with people who loiter but do not smoke?....I'm a little ticked that the city council hasn't been upfront about this.

Don Dix

Questions -- 50 ft.? Experience says many people do not have a reliable concept of measurements. Considering that, will each side street sidewalk connecting to 3rd be marked (won't that be attractive?)? Otherwise, will those doing the 'policing' be equipped with a 50 ft. tape? Does that '50 ft. zone' begin at the curb of 3rd, or from the building setback? And finally, how does the city expect to collect a $250 fine from a homeless, unemployed violator?

Mudstump

Don - "And finally, how does the city expect to collect a $250 fine from a homeless, unemployed violator?"

The only people they will collect the fine from are those that come downtown to patronize local businesses. The truth came out in this article....they have been wanting to ban smoking for a year now and they finally came up with a palatable justification to do it. They told us it was all about controlling the loitering problem....well, that's not the whole truth or the real story here. Jeff Towery let the cat out of the bag.

Lulu

Could they consider a ban on bad grammar next?

Don Dix

Another troubling aspect of this report -- the fact that it appears the council will take and listen to testimony, but those statements will have no effect on the decision except a possible delay on final action.

That, in effect, says, 'we will take your testimony and questions, but, even though it may delay the process, the final judgment will be based on our personal beliefs and preferences (as a council). Thanks for playing!'

Sal Peralta

Most governing bodies separate first and second readings of legislation into two different meetings to give the public time to comment and people doing the legislating time to consider input for changes to the final legislation. As a rule, that has not been the process for our city government, but I believe that it should be. Several times already this year, I have heard testimony that has caused me to see the issue in a different light and reconsider my position on specific language or nuances of a legislative matter. It may not have led to a wholesale shift in thinking, but even small changes can matter when we are making and passing laws and budgets so more eyes is better. I'm surprised anyone would want to make that seem controversial.

Don Dix

Sal -- It isn't about whether or not testimony is taken -- it's about whether testimony matters. Your last statement makes it appear the only effect of disagreeing testimony is slowing the process, not changing course. You may not have meant to come off that way, but there it is.

Sal Peralta

Don - As I have said, this year I have heard testimony that has caused me to see various issues in a different light and reconsider my positions on specific language or nuances of given legislative matters. It may not have led to a wholesale shift in thinking, but even small changes can matter when we are making and passing laws and budgets so more eyes is better. YMMV.

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