Minutes of the Special and Regular Meeting of March 13, 2007
One Twin Pines Lane, Belmont, California
Discussion and Direction regarding Ordinance
Regulating Secondhand Smoke
City Attorney Zafferano provided information outlining the legal basis for
the regulation of second-hand smoke. He noted there is no constitutional
right to smoke, and smokers are not a protected class. Cities and other
jurisdictions can regulate smoking if the regulation or prohibition is not
inconsistent with State law. People cannot engage in activities if it is
injurious to others, even if the activity is legal. He noted that cars and
factories are already regulated by the State.
City Attorney Zafferano reviewed Belmont's current smoking regulations,
which outlines where smoking is allowed and where it is not. He reviewed the
main provisions of the draft ordinance as provided by the Public Health
Institute. He outlined alternatives for the Council to consider for
regulating smoking on streets and sidewalks, as well as in multi-unit
housing, including condominium and townhomes. He outlined situations where
smoking would be allowed under the proposed ordinance. Council could
consider a prohibition of smoking in vehicles if they are being used for
employment purposes, and clarified that there is no proposal for regulating
smoking in private passenger vehicles. He outlined enforcement options, and
reviewed issues to be addressed.
In response to Council questions, City
Attorney Zafferano clarified that a prohibition on the sale of cigarettes
could violate International Commerce laws, but he noted that the City can
restrict the time, place and manner of such sales.
Mayor Feierbach stated that public testimony
would be taken at this time, and that no decisions would be made at this
R. Mark Korwald, Belmont resident,
stated that he respects rights as long as they do not infringe on other
rights. He supports the ban.
Chris Middleton, American
Hotels/Holiday Inn Express, expressed concern regarding the effect that such
a ban would have on the hotels and the potential loss of revenue from
transit occupancy taxes. People might go to hotels in neighboring cities
Mary Morrissey-Parden, Belmont
business owner, applauded the City's efforts but expressed concern about a
shot-gun approach. The Chamber of Commerce was not consulted, and the City
should engage in dialog regarding this topic. Economic development could be
impacted by a ban.
Becky Husmann, on behalf of some
residents at Bonnie Brae Terrace, noted that the Bonnie Brae residents
present at the meeting support any prohibition to be considered by the
Council. She noted that there is no enforcement of the current smoking
regulations at Bonnie Brae.
Serena Chen, American Lung
Association, expressed support for the ban. She outlined the number of
complaints her organization has received regarding second-hand smoke.
Patricia Dixon, Redwood City resident,
expressed support for the ban. She presented copies of an article she wrote
in the newspaper regarding this topic. She suffers from effects of
Risa Horowitz, Belmont resident,
expressed support for the ban. She suffers from asthma which is related to
exposure to second-hand smoke. People will come to Belmont if it becomes a
Peter Markovich, Belmont resident,
stated he was disappointed because he suggested that the Council ask the
community regarding this subject, which was not done. He concurs that the
situation at Bonnie Brae is important to address. Most people in Belmont do
not support a total ban, which would also restrict workers, construction,
and could affect our transit occupancy taxes. There are other more important
Zelko Zivkovic, Belmont resident,
expressed concern for what other bans may be forthcoming after this. She
recommended that the City Council not accept tax dollars from cigarette
Sheila Strand, Belmont resident, lives
in an apartment and says her husband has cancer. They have sealed the vents
and have kept the windows closed all winter because of second-hand smoke,
but she expressed concern regarding the upcoming summer season when she will
need to open windows. She recognizes smokers have rights.
Judy King, Belmont resident, stated
that the Council was asked to declare second-hand smoke a public nuisance,
but not asked to ban smoking. She has spoken to others regarding this issue,
including nonsmokers, who do not support the ban. The City could experience
a loss of tax revenue. She recommended that the Council declare second-hand
smoke a public nuisance and revisit the issue in one year like they have
done with other ordinances.
Krista Kuehnhackl, Belmont resident,
stated that a ban on smoking is too extreme. She supports both smokers' and
nonsmokers' rights. There is a need for clarification regarding some of the
definitions in the proposed ordinance, and there is a need for reasonable
Loring DeMartini, Belmont business
owner, stated that he does not like smoking, but restrictions will have a
negative effect on restaurants and businesses in that it will drive business
Margo Cheechov, Belmont resident,
stated that the proposed solution is out of proportion to the original
request. Many people do not support the proposed ban.
Mary Pack, Belmont resident, expressed
concerns regarding the cost to enforce the proposed ban. She was told the
City would not enforce the ordinance. This would pit neighbor against
neighbor. She did not elect the City Council to deal with issues such as
this. She has an allergy to pine trees but has not requested that the City
cut down all the pine trees. She recommended that this matter be put to a
vote of the people.
Pam Clarke, Belmont resident/Belmont
business owner, stated she has banned smoking on her school campus for the
past 25 years. Her teachers smoke off premises. She would lose staff if this
ban were to go into effect. She recommended having a dialog with business
leaders regarding this matter.
Catherine Derringer, Tri-County
Apartment Association, stated that her organization would like to work with
the City to address issues regarding liability should the ban be enacted.
Dian Kiser, California Clean Air
Project (CCAP)/American Lung Association, stated that the Air Resources
Board declared second-hand smoke a contaminant, which has led cities to
initiate various levels of smoking bans. Her organization receives calls
requesting referrals to smoke-free multi-unit housing. She described the
free smoking cessation workshops that are offered to smokers.
Narinder Dhalliwal, CCAP, noted that
Councilmembers have stated that sometimes cities need to take actions to
protect their citizens. People are asking for smoke-free living. She stated
that some cities have set aside a percentage of apartments as no-smoking.
Linda Civitello-Joy, Breathe
California, stated that her organization receives calls regarding
second-hand smoke issues. Breathe California offers cessation classes and
Dorothy Vura-Weiss, San Mateo County
Asthma Coalition/Health Department, outlined death rates due to various
diseases. She supports a smoking ban in apartment buildings.
Evelyn Long, American Cancer Society,
offered her organization's support regarding this issue.
Becky Sha, Tobacco Use Prevention
Education (TUPE), stated her organization works with para-educators
regarding smoking issues, and provides adult cessation workshops.
Jim Kelly, American Cancer Society,
helps cancer survivors and talks to kids about the danger of smoking. He
supports the ordinance, but noted a gap, since it does not address smoking
addictions. He suggested that smokers work with each other to avoid smoking
Gabriella Lemus, expressed support for
the ban. She noted that clean air is important.
Amanda Cue, San Mateo County Tobacco
Coalition, stated that Belmont could set an example for other cities in San
Mateo County, and an example for young people. She supports the ordinance.
George Hubbard, Belmont resident,
supports the ordinance and the rights of nonsmokers. There should be no
grandfathering clause or grace period, as these will not help existing
Catherine Barber, Belmont resident,
stated that she chooses businesses that prohibit smoking. She supports
smokers' rights to smoke where the smoke does not affect others. There is a
need for balance for smokers, and she expressed concern regarding a complete
ban in apartment buildings.
Doug Mottern, Belmont business owner,
stated that he spent money on permits for the area of his business that
allows smoking. Outside smoking should not be banned. He expressed concern
regarding the effect this ban would have on businesses.
Ron Denman, Chamber of Commerce
President, expressed concern regarding the restriction of personal freedoms.
The Chamber actively supports businesses, and there is a need for a level
playing field with other cities. He noted that condominium owners have the
same ownership rights as single-family homeowners. He recommended the
Council declare second-hand smoke a public nuisance, with provisions for
Jeff Morino, Belmont resident,
supports the ban, but not all the provisions as outlined. He supports the
ban in parks and fairs, but not on sidewalks. He recognizes the issue
regarding apartment buildings.
Chris Wozniak, Belmont resident,
expressed support for a ban in private, shared ventilated areas, and a ban
in public areas and on the street. Belmont being a no-smoking city may be
attractive for outsiders.
Suzanne Francis, Belmont resident,
supports the ordinance but expressed concerns regarding some of its
provisions. There is a need for balance. She also expressed concerns
regarding the affect on condos and townhouses, and noted that some of the
single-family homes on Hastings share a common wall. She noted that some
single-family homes are close together.
Leah Cowan, Notre Dame de Namur
University student, stated that the City should consult University students
when considering this ordinance.
Dave Bauer, Belmont resident, supports
smoking cessation, but expressed concerns regarding the effect a ban would
have on businesses. This could also impede rights in one's home.
Ryan Butler, Belmont resident, stated
that he enjoys clean air in restaurants and bars. People should go outside
to smoke. This is beyond a neighbor-to-neighbor issue.
Edward McGraw, Belmont business owner,
stated he is against a total ban. He expressed concern that people will go
to businesses in other cities should this ordinance pass.
Mayor Feierbach thanked everyone for their
ADJOURNMENT at this time, being 10:15
Meeting Tape Recorded and
Audio Recording 661