Monday, September 21, 2009

Outdoor Smoking Task Force Mtg. notes June 16, 2009

Photo: Santa Claus Smoking on a Marlboro Cigarette Pack

NOTE TO READER: At HUFF's request, Council member, Don Lane sent these notes from the task force that came up with the "Smoking Air Pollution Ordinance" which will be passed into law on a second reading tomorrow (Sept 22, 2009) by the Santa Cruz City Council. First Don had claimed the Task Force report was online. It wasn't. Then when he sent it, it was unintelligible. Presumably no one from the public has had a chance to read it yet, but it will be passed into law tomorrow on the afternoon agenda. Note that the Task Force met in private, with only selected members invited. And though the entire ordinance is tailored to remove poor and homeless people from public spaces, there was no representative for homeless people or advocate for smokers invited. This is Ryan Coonerty's world. Zero public input. Secret meetings. Excluded participants. Sweeping loss of rights. HUFF has gone on record as opposing the law due to its intended selective enforcement against marijuana smokers and poor and homeless people.

--- Becky Johnson, Editor

Outdoor Smoking Task Force

Information Gathering Meeting

June 16, 2009 – 3 p.m.

I. Input from City Staff

Dannettee Shoemaker

§ The City has a smoking ban on Main Beach, Cowell’s Beach, parts of San Lorenzo Parks and Grant Street Park. Staff would support a larger ban.

§ The purpose of the ban is for health and the waste issue from cigarette butts

§ The ban has been fairly successful but enforcement is an issue. At the time the ban was passed, there was only one ranger. Now we have four but the smoking ban enforcement of the ban may not always be the highest priority.

§ The debris from smoking on Pacific Avenue, the wharf and other parks is a huge problem.

§ Some City employees and wharf businesses are concerned about how the smoking ban will work and where they and customers will be able to smoke

§ There are real public safety concerns with smoking on the wharf: a ½ mile long wooden structure with pilings coated with creosote

§ There are concerns and fears about losing customers to other jurisdictions where smoking is allowed

§ Would support smoking ban in parks as smoke travels and secondhand smoke is a problem

§ Further, the goal of the Parks and Recreation Department is to encourage people to get out and exercise and smoking doesn’t fit in with this goal.

§ In response to a question from Ryan Coonerty (RC), Its Beach is now within the State’s jurisdiction and just a small sliver belongs to the City.

§ In response to a question from RC, yes a ban in the City’s open space would be supported. There are severe fire concerns, particularly from the nearby residents. Our open space can be just like dry tinder with great fire potential.

Mark Dettle

§ The Public Works Department sees the post-smoking impact as non-point source pollution. Smoking debris blows all over the City and is picked up in storm drains and with street sweepers. Although cigarette butts are individually small, collectively, they become a big problem.

§ Public Works would support a ban from the litter reduction perspective.

Tom Graves

§ City employees affected when cigarette smoke comes in through windows. This can be very impactful to those with asthma.

§ Encourages the Task Force to consider how smoking affects employees in the workplace.

II. Presentations from Invited Guests

Santa Cruz County Department of Health – Laurie Lang and Andrea Silva

[Note: I have a copy of the powerpoint presentation.]

§ Secondhand smoke outdoors is as harmful as secondhand smoke indoors.

§ In a recent clean-up, 26 lbs of butts were recovered from Pacific Avenue in only 9 hours.

§ 85% of Santa Cruz residents are non-smokers

§ Discussion and support of a tobacco retail license

§ Discussion of smoking bans in other cities. Generally, outdoor smoking ordinances create designated smoking areas

§ There is a correlation between smoking rates and the price of cigarettes

à RC commented that San Francisco is considering a 33 cent/pack fee to cover clean-up costs.

§ There are hidden costs to smoking. Three years after Pueblo, CO instituted its smoking ban, a 40% drop in emergency room visits for heart problems was recorded

§ Studies have shown that there is no negative impact from a smoking ban on restaurants and other businesses.

Save Our Shores – Laura Kasa, Lizzie

§ There are tremendous marine life impacts: 1 cigarette butt in will kill marine life in 1 Liter of water

§ Cigarette butts are as toxic to fish as pesticides

§ The litter problem causes by cigarette butts is staggering. 62,000 pounds of butts have been recovered from Santa Cruz beaches over the past two years

§ During the beach clean-ups, cigarette butts are by far, the most common trash found

§ There is a recommendation to classify cigarette butts as toxic waste

§ Cigarette butts do not biodegrade; they contain plastic

§ Cigarette filters (butts) captures the toxins before they enter the smoker’s lungs but when discarded release those toxins into the environment

§ Save Our Shores recommendations:

a. Smoking ban

b. Anti-litter laws

c. Financial assessment on cigarettes (waste fee or tax)

d. Public information campaign / place signage with photos of the impacts (diseased fish, etc)

e. Implement a program to exchange used butts

f. Ban sale of filtered cigarettes (knows is severe but this is a serious problem)

§ In response to a question from Don Lane (DL), Save our Shores said they would be willing to design the signage if the City had the resources to create and install

Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce – Bill Tysseling

§ The Chamber has no position yet and looks forward to seeing a proposal before making specific comments.

§ The solicitation for feedback sent to local businesses yielded a mix of responses

§ Dominican Hospital and Santa Cruz Medical Foundation were enthusiastic for health reasons. Dominican will be going smoke-free by January1, 2010.

§ Community ambiance could be improved by pedestrians not walking around in clouds of smoke. Further, the impact on behaviors, particularly constraining the use of downtown as a smoking lounge, would be positive.

§ There are concerns about pushing the problem elsewhere.

§ There are concerns about enforcement.

§ Competitive impacts have been raised and worries about clientele going to places where you can smoke. Example story: four friends go out to lunch. They are more likely to go to a place where the one smoker in the group can smoke.

§ In re: to a retailer fee, concerns about competitive impacts. Other jurisdictions should be brought in if the City is to proceed with this concept.

§ The City needs to designate places to smoke. Question of who will create the smoking ghettos and the need to consider parameters, distance, protection from the weather and ash try amenities.

§ The City should consider how to address second stories – balconies, roof tops, etc.

§ The City should consider balancing not penalizing those who do smoke with social costs (environmental, health) of secondhand smoke.

§ The City should consider how employee will smoke.

§ The Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastic about participating as the outdoor smoking ordinance concept moves forward.

Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council – Maggie Ivy

§ There are some concerns about enforcement and liability. Los Angeles held businesses harmless.

§ Public education is important. Santa Monica invested $150,000 in the first year of its ban to educate. The CVC could help here with the noticing and dissemination.

§ Some cities have tried a trial period for 90 days or so.

§ The City should consider impact on hotels. Most new properties are completely smoke-free but how to regulation the pool and outdoor lounge areas?

§ The majority of visitors to Santa Cruz would likely enjoy a smoke-free environment but those that do smoke will be inconvenienced.

§ International visitors, about 8% of Santa Cruz County’s tourists, tend to be smokers.

§ Recommends looking at other cities with bans: Los Angeles, Mammoth Lakes, Santa Monica

§ Health and litter issues affect tourism as well.

§ The CVC is happy to participate moving forward.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Kris Reyes

§ The Boardwalk discontinued smoking about 4-5 years ago. Smoking is allowed in designated areas on the street and these areas receive the necessary attention to keep them clean. The ban has been a success.

§ The reactions of patrons, when asked to smoke in a designated area, have been cordial. Further, more people are proactively asking where they can smoke. This suggests a greater awareness that smoking is not allowed everywhere.

§ The Boardwalk has new beach grooming equipment – sand sifters – that capture litter, including cigarette butts. The equipment has been picking up fewer butts since the City’s beach smoking ban was instituted.

§ A problem area is the Promenade between the casino and Idea restaurant. There is nothing there to prevent people from smoking and other behaviors.

§ The Boardwalk is happy to participate in the process moving forward.

III. Public Comment

John Huffman – Santa Cruz resident and downtown property owner

§ There is a cigarette butt problem around his properties. He cleans plaza lane and finds lots of butts there an in the planter boxes.

§ The sidewalks on Pacific Avenue have cracks that are just the right size for a cigarette butt, requiring some effort to remove.

Ron Perigo – Santa Cruz resident

§ He has noticed a lack of cigarette butt collection points. Because there are not enough places to deposit the butts, people throw them on the ground.

§ Stormdrains have become a collection point for butts.

§ The City of Los Angeles vacuums their stormwater drains every fall before the rains (the task force here informed Mr. Perigo that Santa Cruz does this as well)

Submitted for the record by:

Don Lane

Santa Cruz City Council

809 Center St. Room 10

Santa Cruz, CA 95060



  1. Note there is NO DISCUSSION of banning smoking on the entire length of West Cliff Dr. except this HINT at what they were REALLY planning:

    "In response to a question from Ryan Coonerty (RC), Its Beach is now within the State’s jurisdiction and just a small sliver belongs to the City."

  2. In all fairness, Lane did say that the Task Force did have one public meeting that was announced 72 hours in advance per the Brown (Public Meeting Act) requirements.

    We also had some subsequent e-mail discussion:
    Lane made some responses which he embedded in the e-mail are reprinted below:

    Thanks for the cut-and-paste.

    (1) Any specific studies bearing on the health impacts of outdoor second hand smoke? I see none mentioned by name.

    LANE: Here’s one:

    (2) Your bill bans smoking from retail businesses as "public places", Hence, it also banks smoking within 25' of windows and doors of those "public places." Doesn't that in fact exclude side streets off of Pacific Avenue as areas where smokers can go (even if they walked to the center of the street and blocked traffic)?

    LANE: If those places on the side streets are within 25 feet of the public entrance or operable window then yes. There are many places on those side streets that are not near such doors and windows.

    (3) There does not appear to be any exclusion from the smoking ban from cars--not only on Pacific Ave, Beach St., and Westcliff, but also in streets that are within 25' of retail businesses (or other affected buildings). Do you agree?

    LANE: Frankly, I’m not sure how it would apply inside cars. Good question.

    (4) I also note the word "homeless" does not appear in your Task Force notes. Yet surely we are talking about an ordinance with a large impact on homeless people, who appear to be smokers in much higher percentages than in the housed population. It's also true that this seems to criminalize smoking in areas where the homeless camp and congregate (even the non-sleeping areas). Surely you owe this population some consideration.

    LANE: Surely. This is why the ordinance is so broad and is careful not to single out areas that would target homeless people. It applies in many places all over town including lots of places where homeless people do not congregate. If I was inconsiderate of the street population on this, the ordinance might have just targeted Pacific Avenue. I pushed for a citywide approach.

    (5) Why was this measure not sent to the Downtown Commission first, since it clearly has significant impacts on the downtown?

    LANE: Because this is an citywide ordinance without a special focus on downtown that really wouldn’t be the best venue for review. Also the Downtown Commission primarily deals with parking issues.

    Thanks in advance for your response--feel free to call me at 423-4833 if that is more convenient.


    LANE: I believe the language is such that parking lots are not included.


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