Monday, October 10, 2011

Smokin' City Hall Memo

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 8:18 AM

On Saturday, Oct. 9, City Council member TJ Thomson posted a link to his Facebook wall regarding a proposed ordinance to enhance the state's smoking laws.

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The memo is a summary of the Oct. 5 public info meeting hosted by Adam Park, mayor's office spokesman, and the City.

"Since the September 23 announcement regarding the two ordinances, a vigorous community-wide discussion has taken place across multiple venues including the mainstream media, community blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and the October 5 Public Information Meeting at City Hall."

Park went on to say that the meeting played host to both the opposition, which called the plan an "overreach by government," and supporters characterizing the issue as a matter of public health.

The memo mentions that between Sept. 23 and the end of the business day Oct. 6, the City had received 131 comments related to the proposal via email, comment card, letter and phone. This includes the Oct. 5 meeting but does not include the 770 emails and postcards prior to Sept. 23.

The breakdown shows that 73 responders (56 percent) support the initiative, to 58 (44 percent) opposed.

Tobacco Connection, a local tobacco and convenience chain, submitted a petition of 879 signatures gathered in their stores. The signatures are from both Boise residents and non-residents. Tobacco Connection does not currently have the resources to separate the two. The memo notes:

The petition contains no specific language articulating the opposition, but an email from Tobacco Connection that accompanied the petition said, “We feel that the smoking ban that the city council has proposed, to include Tobacco Retailers, will hurt our ability to do business.” These signatures were gathered since the September 23 announcement.

Smoke-Free Idaho has also submitted a petition with 2,315 signatures from Boise residents and 1,025 signatures from non-residents in support of enhanced smoking restrictions.

Language on the petition states that each signatory believes "that secondhand smoke is a serious threat to workplace safety and public health. I support making all indoor public and work places, including bars, 100 percent smokefree to protect all workers."

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