Once again, the Council proves they don’t care about good public policy or practicality

The Council voted to pass the smoking ordinance just before 2 am this morning. Jane Brunner left the meeting before the item was heard. Ignacio De La Fuente, Pat Kernighan, Jean Quan, Nancy Nadel, and Henry Chang said yes.

Here are some highlights from what I managed to jot down of the discussion.
Nancy Nadel:

For some of my constituents “exposure to smoke can be as deadly to them as being shot in the street.”

Desley Brooks:

I have asthma and I am not an advocate of smoking. But I think that this ordinance as its proposed is very interesting and the issue of us passing yet another ordinance we won’t be able to enforce is problematic to me…we passed the 25 feet and people sit right in front of those signs and smoke and it happens on a routine basis…the ordinance claims health benefits, yet there’s no provision in the ordinance as currently written that talks about doing some sort of monitoring to ensure we are achieving those health benefits…the concerts I sponsor in the park are not smoking, but people still smoke and people get angry when you tell them they can’t smoke and they won’t listen to you…I’m not really clear on the enforcement aspect of it and so would like you to enlighten me further as to how what’s proposed here is going to be effective.

This was followed my an exchange between Brooks and Barbara Killey, where Ms. Killey claimed that she knew the 25 foot law was being obeyed because she doesn’t get many complaints about it. Brooks responded with the incredulity one would expect, but Ms. Killey held firm to her position that if people were smoking within 25 feet of any door and window in the city, she would be getting complaints about it. One wonders if Ms. Killey ever steps outside.

Desley Brooks:

Who is going to do the enforcement in parks?

Barbara Killey, in response:

The people who are sitting at the next table at the picnic. The people who spoke at the public safety committee said we will enforce it for you. It’s much easier to confront someone and ask them to stop smoking if you have a law to back you up rather than to say “you’re bothering me”

Larry Reid:

This is going to be another one of those ordinances that we can’t enforce. But I’m willing to support it.

Reid withdrew his support when Nancy Nadel refused to concede to any amendment to the ordinance.

Ignacio De La Fuente asked a bunch of questions about the 10 feet from bars aspect, which several bar owners showed up to ask be removed tonight. Many bars in Oakland have gone to considerable expense to install smoking patios for their patrons, permitted under current law, but which will be banned under the new ordinance. Nancy Nadel’s response to this was “10 feet is nothing!.” It isn’t nothing to Peter Van Kleef, who just spent $5,000 upgrading his smoking patio last week. But apparently her argument was enough to satisfy Ignacio.

7 thoughts on “Once again, the Council proves they don’t care about good public policy or practicality

  1. Dogtowner

    The only word that comes to mind is “pathetic.” Thanks for the report. Now I gotta run — I have to start making citizen’s arrests against all the illegal smokers, as Barbara Killey seems to want!

  2. Non Smoker

    Wow. Pat just lost my vote next time around. Henry Chang too, if he runs again. I guess they really don’t care about us at all.

    Desley Brooks is the only one in the lot that deserves her seat. I’m fed up.

  3. Jim M

    Same ideas as the idea banning guns saves lives. I remember when the last gun store in Oakland closed. The city council congratulated itself and said this will help the murder rate. Wrong! Homicides went up every year since.
    One of my neighbors has a drug problem. I saw him with a crack pipe on his porch. Next time I will call the police and tell him he’s smoking a pack of Camels. Better send Reed and Malloy out code three, looks like he smoking unfiltered!

  4. Paulette Patillo

    all this hoopla about smoking, what about the daily killings? What type of ordinance do you have for that.

  5. Moschops

    It took Killey over a year to revoke the cabaret license of a bar in downtown Oakland where its patrons were SHOOTING at each other outside the bar. It took three killings within a year before they managed to reovke the license and effectively close it. Enforcement hearings were such an unruly mess that the local community refused to show up to support the ban – they feared for their own safety, monitoring of the license restrictions was absent, and OPD and the bar security could only point fingers at each other for who was responsible for policing.

    In my neighborhood several people have devoted considerable time and effort to documenting a violator of illegal fly-posting that is making our streets look like a mess. The City has his name, knows he has no business license, has all the evidence they need but refuses to enforce the ordinance so he just keeps at it over and over again.

    A few years ago when we had four major construction projects ongoning in a residential neighborhood it took the City six months of continuous daily complaints about violations of construction restrictions before we managed to force the City to start policing the developers. Violations still continued (although on a lessor scale) since opportunities to fine or shut down construction as punitive measures were never once exercised. The economic damage of that happening was always cited as too great.

    So my point is Oakland just doesn’t have a resources or will to enforce these kinds of ordinances no matter how severe the consequences – it you’re lucky some high profile deaths might get some action. Worse still it does not back up those people who care enough about the law to pitch in themselves.

  6. cathy

    my land lord sent me a hand written letter (who does that?) telling me i may not smoke inside my apartment. i’ve lived here 10 years, there’s nothing on my lease about this, and i have rights. wish me luck, those of you who believe a person’s rights in their own home. and i pay rent. it is my home.