Friday, January 25, 2013

Ketchum says butt out of my air space

Council orders drafting of smoke-free ordinance


By BRENNAN REGO
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum residents might soon get even more fresh air than they do now as the city’s officials have approved the drafting of a smoke-free ordinance that would ban smoking in enclosed public spaces and places of employment, on school grounds and city property, including parks, as well as potentially in other places.

At a City Council meeting Tuesday, the council members unanimously agreed that the ordinance should be written, and directed Mayor Randy Hall to instruct city staff members to do so.

“I agree with protecting the rights of the nonsmoker,” Hall said. “It’s an invasion of space.” 

Similar legislation was passed in Boise in November 2011, spurred by nonprofit Smokefree Idaho (whose motto is “Everyone has the right to breathe clean air.”) Representatives of Smokefree Idaho, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association spoke at the meeting, stating numerous reasons why Ketchum should move forward with the law. Also, several members of the public commented mainly in favor of the prospective law.

Former Rep. Wendy Jacquet, D-Ketchum, said at the meeting that she had initially requested the presentation from Smokefree Idaho. She said she smoked from age 16 until she contracted breast cancer at age 47. She now advocates against smoking and said a smoke-free ordinance would be a good way for the city to communicate to its youth that they shouldn’t pick up the habit.

Councilman Jim Slanetz supported drafting the ordinance, but said it shouldn’t be overly strict.

“I’m not a smoker, but I don’t think traditional smoking places such as outside [the bars] should be included,” he said, referring to a Smokefree Idaho suggestion that people not be allowed to smoke within 20 feet of a building’s door (as was approved by Boise).

Police Chief Steve Harkins said it would be hard to enforce the law on Main Street because if you move 20 feet from one door, you’re at another. He also said the law would be hard to enforce at large events. A staff report included in the meeting packet suggests not banning smoking on city streets or sidewalks, as that would place an “unacceptably high” burden on the Police Department.

In an interview after the meeting, Slanetz said he agrees that employees should be protected from worrying about getting fired if they complain about smoky work conditions.

“In that sense, I think the ordinance could be very helpful,” he said.

Several members of the Ketchum Fire Department spoke in favor of the law at the meeting. Capt. Tom McClean said he doesn’t like standing in other people’s smoke while on duty at large events. Lt. Tory Canfield said the city does a great job protecting people from other forms of pollution such as noise and light pollution, and that this law would be another step in that direction.

“I don’t think children and nonsmokers should have to smoke other peoples cigarettes,” she said.

Ketchum resident Mickey Garcia said most of the proposed law was unnecessary “feel good” legislation.

“I think that’s where greenie weenies become fascists,” he said.

However, he did agree that people shouldn’t be subjected to second-hand smoke at work.

A report by Smokefree Idaho, included in the meeting packet and available on the city’s website, states that even though the city’s restaurants and bars voluntarily don’t allow indoor smoking at the moment, that doesn’t mean new businesses will stick to the status quo.

People who would like more information or to provide comments on the potential law can call Lisa Horowitz, the city’s community and economic development director, at 726-7801. Horowitz said a draft should be ready for council review at an upcoming meeting on Feb. 19.


Brennan Rego: brego@mtexpress.com

 




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.