From the PasadenaStarNews:
PASADENA – City council members will consider next month the possibility of an outright ban on smoking in city limits.
On Monday, the council’s Public Safety Committee discussed a long-proposed ban on smoking in apartment buildings, and Councilman Steve Haderlein asked the staff to find out whether the city has the legal authority to put a full smoking ban into place.
Pasadena passed a ban on outdoor smoking in most public areas in 2008, and at the time pledged to consider the apartment restrictions within the next year.
Haderlein, who is the chair of the committee, said he wasn’t sure he would support an outright ban, but said he would like to know if it is an option.
“Something that broad and dramatic, we’d really have to go to our citizens and see if it is what they wanted,” said Haderlein.
The discussion on extending the restrictions beyond apartment and condo units stemmed from concerns by committee members that it would be unfair to target smokers there, while ignoring smokers who live in single-family homes.
Haderlein noted, for example, that his neighbor is a smoker, and that he can sometimes smell the smoke drifting in through his kitchen window.
Multiple members of the public showed up to the meeting to complain of their neighbors’ smoking. Many said they could no longer keep their windows open because smoke from other units frequently entered their apartment.
Nancy Sagatelian, who owns a condo on South Lake Avenue, spoke Monday and said in a later interview that she was evicted from her apartment for complaining about her neighbor’s smoking.
She said that since she bought a condo, she had hoped to avoid the problem, but said she still has problems with neighbors smoking.
“I thought as a homeowner I’d have rights, but I haven’t been able to find anybody who can help me,” said Sagatelian.
Options the city will consider at the next meeting, along with the outright city ban and single-family home ban, will include a ban on smoking in apartments, requiring a certain percentage of smoke-free units, or requiring owners to have smoking and non-smoking units in different parts of the building.
Christy Zamani, the director of the non-profit Day One, which has been pushing for a second ordinance, said the group was open to all the options.
“Even just a guarantee of making 80 percent of all units non-smoking would be a good start,” Zamani said.
She said the group approves of Haderlein’s idea on an outright ban, but doesn’t view it as likely to happen.
“It’s a very forward-thinking proposal, but we favor gradual steps,” Zamani said.
Committee members expressed concerns about all the proposed options. Councilwoman Margaret McAustin, for example, said she was worried about the rights of smokers who live in those buildings.
“If you restrict the number of smoking units, where do all the smokers go?” McAustin asked at the meeting. She said in a later interview that she is not sure whether she wanted to support a new ordinance or not.
“I can see both sides of the issue,” said McAustin. “We’re talking about what people do in their own homes.”
Councilman Steve Madison said he was concerned that restricting the rights of smokers in apartment units, while allowing homeowners to freely smoke was “economic discrimination,” since many renters and condo owners can’t afford a single-family home.
Still, Madison and others expressed some level of support for a new ordinance.
It was actually Haderlein who expressed the most skepticism about any restrictions on smoking in apartments.
He said that the city would not have the manpower to enforce the ban, and would have to leave it to the apartment landlords.
“I don’t think it’s practical to make a landlord that might not even live in the city responsible for his tenant’s smoking,” Haderlein said.