Elk Grove's Tough Anti-Smoking Proposal Goes Up in Smoke

The Elk Grove City Council agreed unanimously last night not to pursue a tough anti-smoking ordinance for the city' apartments. The ...

The Elk Grove City Council agreed unanimously last night not to pursue a tough anti-smoking ordinance for the city' apartments.

The matter was brought before the city council following last years decision to ban smoking within 300 feet of playgrounds, schools, day care centers and other places where children congregate and after hearing several complaints from residents of Renwick Square senior apartments.

After hearing a report from Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner on several different options the city could pursue, the council heard from numerous people during the public comment portion of the hearing. Several of those speaking were from the Renwick Square.

"We know second hand smoke kills," Renwick Square resident Linda Valles said. "And that should be it."

Also appearing before the council on behalf of the Renwick residents and for a tougher ordinance was Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye, M.D. who told the council second hand smoke puts both seniors and children at great health risk.

"There is no safe level of second hand smoke," she noted.

Although most speakers voiced support for a ban on smoking in apartments, speaking on behalf of property owners was Cory Koehler of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley (RHA). Koehler said the particular problems at Renwick Square could be solved without government intervention.

Koehler said the RHA's positions is that it should be the rights of the owner to decide whether or not smoking is permitted. "I am here to support property rights, not smokers rights," he said.

After hearing the comments, the council agreed that the apartment smoking issue seemed to be confined to Renwick Square and were reluctant to ban smoking outright at all complexes within the city.

Council Member Steve Detrick noted that he is against smoking but added "it is very awkward to be up here and mandate what people do."

"To me the best way to handle it is to work with Renwick Square," City Council Member Sophia Scherman added.

In a related matter, the council voted unanimously to amend the city's municipal code so that it would be consistent with current state law.

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Anonymous said...

Council made the right decision on this one. Yes; all smoking does kill but to bring the hammer down in this manner doesn't truly change behavior nor would making it prohibitive in only affordable housing; this would be discrimination.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous. And to pass such an ordinance opens a slippery slope for a government to regulate other behaviors under the same guise.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Although I have not smoked in years and don't want to see our youth start up the habit, glad to see the city council applied some common sense.

Not only is this an over-reach, it could have set a precedent for police using "reasonable" suspicion to enter our private residence.

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first one to say that I disagree with the City Council vote. If we were talking about a unattached home then I don't have a problem. However, when you are talking about multiple dwellings where someone's secondhand smoke can infiltrate into common areas (lobby floors, community rooms, etc), into other apartments through, air ducts, electrical outlets and other non-sealed openings, then smoking should be prohibited.

If it not legal to exceed noise levels emanating from an apartment from either domestic fighting or loud music then it certainly be reasonable to pass legislation to protect the health of the other residents.

Also, by becoming a smokefree residential building the risk of fire is significantly reduced which would also reduce insurance costs for the building owner and the individuals who reside there.

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