Duran Sponsors Bill to Protect Smokers From Threat of Eviction

West Hollywood City Council to hear an ordinance that would preempt a new state law allowing landlords to evict tenants who smoke.

The West Hollywood City Council will consider an ordinance at its Monday meeting giving tenants who smoke protection from eviction. Mayor John Duran is sponsoring the bill as a preemptive measure before the state law goes into effect.

Senate Bill 332, introduced earlier this year by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-San Fernando Valley), would allow landlords to declare a rental unit or an entire apartment complex as "nonsmoking." Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill in September.

While many apartment complexes already have smoke-free policies, until now there was nothing in state law that explicitly permitted a landlord to restrict smoking.

The bill requires landlords to place smoking restrictions in rental agreements. Tenants violating the terms of the rental agreement would be at risk of eviction.

“In a city like West Hollywood, some landlords are looking for any excuses to get rid of tenants, especially long-term tenants who pay a low rent,” said Duran. “I have no doubt they would declare an apartment 'nonsmoking' just to get rid of a tenant.”

The state law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012. However, the bill contains a grandfather clause that allows any local ordinance regarding apartment smoking in effect prior to that date to stand. As a result, the City Council would have to pass this bill before the end of the year.

Noting that West Hollywood was founded on the concept of renters’ rights, with strong rent-control laws, Duran said he wanted to ensure that renters who smoke were still protected.

“We have a large number of residents who smoke,” said Duran, who was strongly opposed to the city’s restaurant patio smoking ban, which also goes into effect on Jan. 1. “This is necessary to make sure no one does anything underhanded.”

According to the latest census figures, 78 percent of West Hollywood residents live in rental units. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 20 percent of West Hollywood residents smoke, compared to 14 percent in Los Angeles County.

Secondhand smoke

In authoring the bill, Padilla said he wanted to create more smoke-free housing options. His bill cites the health dangers of secondhand smoke, which is estimated to cause 49,000 deaths per year in the United States.

In 2006, the California state Air Resources Board classified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant, the same category in which it places automobile exhaust and industrial air pollutants.

Numerous studies have been released in recent years showing secondhand smoke to be a health danger. However, almost all of those studies have been severely criticized as lacking scientific integrity and reaching conclusions that the data does not support.

Critics point out that the news media routinely announce the initial findings, but rarely report on the flaws, thus misleading the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke.  

Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco-control advocate who teaches at Boston University’s School of Public Heath, calls this “science by press release.” Siegel points out that academic standards require research be properly vetted by peers before being made public.

While he supports anti-smoking policies, Siegel is disturbed by what he considers unethical actions by the tobacco-control movement and creation of smoking-related public policy based on political agendas rather than scientific evidence. Siegel writes a daily watchdog blog monitoring tobacco-control activities and critiquing tobacco-related research.

The City Council is scheduled to meet in the new library's Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Read the full agenda here.

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Jerome Cleary November 05, 2011 at 07:15 AM
Let me see Magnetic does not want to "come out of the closet" and let us all know who is the voice behind "Magnetic" and wants to continue to hide behind a fake name and still be taken seriously? What are you hiding "Magnetic" there are only lots of flies around your BS.
jimmy November 05, 2011 at 09:05 AM
If John Duran really wants to pretend he wants to protect people, why protect the smoking addict causing the problem with their drifting and assaulting toxic smoke, rather than protect the innocent non smoker? What a hypocrite.
Larry Gross November 05, 2011 at 03:17 PM
This is somewhat of a non-issue. While the Council should be appreciated for attempting to ensure the protection of West Hollywood renters, and there is nothing wrong with reaffirming the position on a law, in reality SB 332 does not pose a threat to West Hollywood tenants who are smokers and live in units covered by the City’s rent control law. Tenant groups around the state, including the Coalition for Economic Survival, worked extensively and successfully to ensure that this legislation would not undermine local rent control laws in California, such as West Hollywood’s law. As a result, the state legislature approved an amendment to the bill to ensure that smoking tenants in jurisdictions with just cause eviction provisions, which are included in every rent control law, cannot be evicted. Given that fact that West Hollywood’s rent control law prohibits any change in the terms of tenancy without a tenant’s approval, renters do not have to worry about being evicted if they are smokers. West Hollywood’s law already protects them.
Jerome Cleary November 05, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Also the reason they banned smoking on the beaches was that it was costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up the cigarette butts each year and the cigarette butts were killing the marine life in the ocean. The parks banned it because of the cost too and the idiot smokers who started fires with their thrown away still lit cigarettes. This is well known information just Google it.
Sheila Lightfoot November 05, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Excerpt from the CA ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY ANALYSIS: Local preemption issues: The bill's clause stating, "this section shall not be construed to preempt any local ordinance in effect on or before January 1, 2012" (Page 3 Line 39) was designed to permit local ordinances that "grandfather" resident smokers to remain in effect. Upwards of 35 California cities have enacted ordinances relating to smoking in rental dwellings. Most cities included "grandfather" exemptions from smoking prohibitions requiring a landlord to maintain a unit as a smoking unit upon request of the tenant, for as long as the tenant continues to lease the unit. A prior version of this bill, SB 1598 (Padilla, 2008), encountered opposition to a similar statewide "grandfather" provision. This bill, while not creating a statewide "grandfather" clause, would not preempt or change those local ordinances "grandfathering" the effects of smoking prohibitions as applied to current tenants. In West Hollywood there has been no prior need for “grandfather” exemptions from smoking prohibitions in the rent stabilization ordinance because West Hollywood has NOT enacted an ordinance related to smoking prohibitions on the premises of rental dwellings, as in the cities noted. In fact, all the rent control cities I studied with no ordinance to prohibit smoking re: rental dwellings lack existing tenant protections from the state law. Those include Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Palm Springs and San Jose.
Sheila Lightfoot November 05, 2011 at 08:20 PM
CONTINUED: Since landlords are now given the explicit right by the state to prohibit smoking, at their discretion, anywhere on the premises, including “any dwelling unit” with notice, West Hollywood must pass an ordinance before January 1 to explicitly exempt pre-existing tenants from the prohibition of smoking so the “grandfathered” exemption will preempt the new state law. Fortunately the state gave localities that option in the bill SB 332. As for “just cause eviction provisions” which you rightfully claim rent control laws contain, the ANALYSIS goes to great pains to equate the prohibition of smoking with certain other conduct that falls under “just cause” for eviction, which landlords have the right and, even, obligation to restrict. If a landlord’s lawyer presents the analysis to a judge to show the legislature’s intent, the tenant’s “goose” would certainly be “cooked” without a very specific local exemption to a smoking prohibition allowed but not mandated by SB 332.
Sheila Lightfoot November 05, 2011 at 08:22 PM
FINAL CONTINUED: Example excerpts in the ANALYSIS for just cause: “Despite these health effects current law is silent as to a landlord's ability, in rental housing settings, to restrict the areas where smoking is permitted.” “A ban on smoking is similar to other contractual restrictions landlords place on tenants including the imposition of "quiet hours", guest restrictions, pet restrictions and other restrictions on the use of one's own dwelling.” “Existing law requires the owner or landlord of rental housing to maintain the rented area in a habitable condition,…” “A landlord may include terms in a rental agreement pertaining to pets, noise, and other house rules…” “These responsibilities placed on owners of rental housing help promote the health and safety of the tenants living on the property.”
Chloe Ross November 05, 2011 at 08:27 PM
There is a point that seems to be missing here. Creating a new class of citizen - i.e. smokers raises questions of discrimination that make me uncomfortable. I do not smoke. Neither do I like smoking. But I do value the people their rights. Until cigarettes are illegal or abolished - then smokers should enjoy the same rights as others. It is more a question of civil liberties thananything else. Forbidding people to smoke or making it uncomfortable if they do or denying them rentals is not how one goes about abating a problem. It creates more problems. Will we have Smoking Police to enforce this ban. Or parking credits for turning in your neighbor? I support Mayor Duran on this one.
Magnetic November 05, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Oh…. THAT’S the reason. Jerry, while you’re here, I have a bridge for sale that you might be interested in. I’m also selling Fisherman’s Wharf. I can let you have the whole lot for under a grand. Bargain! Herr Jer, it seems you’ll believe anything you’re told, particularly concerning smoking. You’re exactly who the propaganda targets – the fearful, the insecure, the gullible, the easily manipulated.
Magnetic November 05, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Jerry, Fisherman’s Wharf…… just Google it.
jimmy November 06, 2011 at 12:41 AM
We need a smoking police just as we have alcohol police and rules where alcohol can be consumed. I'm actually totally in favor of people having the right to smoke, as long as it's regulated like alcohol, and the smoke doesn't effect in any way innocent people nearby.
Chloe Ross November 06, 2011 at 01:13 AM
How do you figure booze is regulated. FYI - this country was built on the revenues tobacco brought (as well as other commodities). Tobacco lobbies are bug biz, smokes are big biz. We are a country of big biz. I too agree that others should not have to suffer the habit - but smoking police are not realistic. It is a slippery slope.
joan sullivan November 06, 2011 at 03:46 AM
Magnetic, let's put a voice to the name. The voice on this video is Jerome Cleary. http://www.youtube.com/user/JeromeCleary/#p/a/u/1/E3AirfW2cyl Jerome is upset because people have hated him, so he's going to get even by hating someone else -- smokers. Like coming home after the boss bawled you out and kicking the dog. Has it occurred to you, Jerome, that you are yourself a hate filled bigot, and that you are trying to stuff us smokers into the closet you've just emerged from? That you are throwing the same kind of ridiculous false smears at us that were thrown at you? Third Hand Smoke, indeed! Can you get lung cancer from a toilet seat if a smoker sat on it? Like AIDS? Can you get a heart attack from a handshake? Like AIDS? Jerome, you should be ashamed of yourself. We re treading the path you have trod, and you should be helping us, not attacking us. What the HELL are you doing siding with the anal retentive Puritans? After they get through banning smoking and good food and alcohol and all the other unhealthy, immoral sweet things in life, they'll be gunning after you, too. Linda, Magnetic. Sheila Lightfoot is right. The hate filled bigots on this thread are not typical of West Hollywood. Mayor John Duran's passionate plea last year to keep West Hollywood a sanctuary of tolerance was one of the finest things I have ever heard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htTqD_hHmX0&feature=related.
Paul November 06, 2011 at 05:42 AM
Joan Sullivan must either work for city hall? Probably Duran's assistant? She needs a shovel to dig herself out of cr_p she spews. Sorry Joan but we are not buying it. Medical evidence clearly show how deadly dangerous 2nd hands cigarette smoke is. Duran is taking this stand because he likes to kiss a_s of the local gay bars. People who are regular bar people drink and they smoke. If Duran really wanted to help he would start by supporting the non smokers and then the smokers would feel the pressure and STOP smoking not only as a public health issue but for there own benefit. I suspect you'll come back at me saying smoking is good for you. People rationalize bad behavior all the time.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:05 AM
Hey Paul, You really seem to think you know a lot about how others should be living. If you had some wisdom to impart, you might be worth listening to. However, the trouble is that you, like your brainwashed buddies on this board, don’t seem to understand too much about anything. You just parrot the standard propaganda. You’re cowardly bandwagon riders. Paul, you’ve become part of a supremacist group whether you know it or not, or like it or not. Take a listen to what’s coming from your mind: “…. he would start by supporting the [antismoking supremacist group] nonsmokers and then the smokers would feel the pressure and STOP smoking not only as a public health measure but for there (sic) own benefit”. You’re just describing how a supremacist group should be able to completely impose their [deranged] will on another group. If you don’t understand that as bigotry, then you really are dumb with a capital “stupid”. “People rationalize bad behavior all the time” That’s right, Paul. That’s what you’re doing with your bigoted blather right now.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:08 AM
1. So, Pauly, O self-professed wise one [giggle], do you think we should all be bowing our knee to the demands of Public Health? Do you know that Public Health has been used as an instrument of persecution, oppression, and fascism, e.g., early-1900s USA and Nazi Germany. Pauly, have you no grasp, are you that clueless, that you have no idea that physicians (medicos), and associated disciplines, played a leading role in the eugenics catastrophes in America and Nazi Germany? Did you know that, before the genocide, Jews in Nazi Germany were banned from parks and from entranceways on the “scientific” (medical) claim that they were disease-carriers/spreaders threatening the Aryan race? Sound familiar? When physicalism dominates, Public Health venturing into social engineering becomes a dangerous entity. And it requires unthinking buffoons like you (and associates) who enthusiastically embrace the propaganda for the fascism to flourish.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:09 AM
2. Denormalization – a most perverse, vulgar, obscene concept, particularly when applied to a group of people – always proceeds in the same way (how far it is allowed to proceed is up to a society). It moves in steps towards dehumanization, making one group appear “superior” and another “inferior”. Through inflammatory propaganda, many times masqueraded as “scientific”, the “inferior” group is claimed to be a “threat”, a “burden”, to the “superior” group and is therefore “not fit” for “normal” society; that the “superior” group should not have to endure the “inferior” group.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:10 AM
1. Hey Pauly, O self-professed oracle, do you know that many of the more profound intellectuals, scholars, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, etc, of the last century were smokers? Would you, who reason like an oaf, just dismiss them all as “stupid addicts”? No, I suspect that you would use the bailout “explanation” that they didn’t know all the repercussions of smoking. Well, Pauly, HONK!!! You’d be wrong there too. You’re not doing too well, are you Pauly? You don’t understand much of history. And the people in Public Health that you are listening to now don’t understand much of history either. They are repeating all the same physicalist, fascist mistakes. Tobacco and alcohol were targeted from the mid-1800s by Temperance groups. This was reinforced by Eugenics in the late-1800s. There were all sorts of terrifying claims of disease and moral degeneracy that would befall [all] users of these substances. Through the early 1900s there were bans on tobacco and Prohibition. The largest incidence of smoking that came through WWII had heard many, many decades of the “perils” of smoking. I think that many of them would have preferred the “perils” of smoking (and alcohol) rather than the social upheaval and catastrophe of “world fixer”, fascist fanatics.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:11 AM
2. Here’s some background on anti-tobacco in early-1900s USA (long before the concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”). The opening story is of an arrest in Utah in the 1920s for smoking indoors: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/thank-you-not-smoking
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 07:28 AM
It should be pointed out that many of the fanatics’ claims about alcohol and tobacco at the time have been discounted/discredited. They were just inflammatory propaganda intended to achieve the “ideological goal”.
Chloe Ross November 06, 2011 at 07:39 AM
You are all blowing it out your rears. Cigarettes DO kill but the city has no place banning things that are legal. It simply amounts to that. Watch a parent die of lung cancer or a husband of emphysema. Both caused by cigarettes. It is a medical fact - but it's still not the point. The city cannot ban anything that is sold legally and bearing a government tax stamp stamp. Are you guys nuts?
Chloe Ross November 06, 2011 at 07:43 AM
I sure wish you zealots cared as much about Plummer Park as you do lighting up or not lighting up. It would do a body good to see this energy go in a better direction at the moment Tomorrow 1 pm at PP - come and voice your support of our Park that is badly threatened.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 08:48 AM
1. Chloe, I think I understand what you’re getting at, but you’re using a propaganda manner of doing it. There are certain risks associated with smoking. I don’t think anyone will debate that. However, the reference that certain diseases are singularly “caused” by smoking goes beyond the facts. If you read the Godber/WHO Blueprint ( http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ) you’ll notice in the 80s where the fanatics decided that simply stating [multi-factorial] risk was not enough to coerce people into antismoking conformity. They decided that Public Health and advocacy groups should be using the most inflammatory, singular-cause language possible, typically far beyond the scope of facts, for their terrorizing value. Unfortunately, this is how fanatics typically operate.
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 08:48 AM
2. The implication that smokers and their loved ones somehow “suffer more” than nonsmokers is obscene; that if a person does not smoke they will avoid disease, suffering and death. The implication is deranged. That’s life. The bottom end – advanced or old age – is degenerative. Generally, the older one gets, the more degenerated does [at least] the physical system become. Does a nonsmoker that develops fatal cancer originating at a site other than the lung (but that will probably metastasize to the lung and other organs) suffer less than a smoker? Ask a nonsmoker in their 70s or 80s how dandy life is not being able to walk from one room to another because of rheumatoid arthritis, and which may be protracted over many, many years. The bottom end of life, the sequence to exiting this world, can unfortunately be quite ugly regardless of whether one is a smoker or a nonsmoker. Many would view their encounters with mortality as “unfair” and maybe even cruel. At this point we would enter the realm of metaphysics which is far beyond the medical model. The problem is that we are only bombarded, incessantly, with images and “stories” of how specific smokers died (“due to their smoking alone”). I can assure you that if there could be equal time, equally distressing stories of encounters with death can be found for nonsmokers. Yet do we need a constant bombardment of this?
Magnetic November 06, 2011 at 08:50 AM
Chloe, your point on discrimination is accurate and your observation that these sorts of policies (e.g., apartment bans) are promoting classism is most astute. Breaking society into superior and inferior groups on the superficiality of smoking is entirely intentional. Again, if you read the Godber/WHO Blueprint, you’ll notice that, in the 1970s, a small clique of antismokers – a self-installed elite - operating under the auspices of the WHO decided for the whole world that tobacco-use should be eradicated. To this end, smoke/smoking/smokers should be denormalized/stigmatized/ostracized. Years before the first study on secondhand smoke, the goal was to ban smoking in public – both indoors and outdoors - and to depict smoking as “abnormal”. Rather than ban the sale of tobacco, which introduces other problems, the goal this time has been to ban smoking in pretty well all the places that people typically smoke. The message is: Conform – quit smoking – or the State will make life difficult for you; you will not be permitted to enjoy a normal social life. You’ll notice that what’s happened over the last three decades beautifully fits the Blueprint. Studies, interpretations, definitions have been contrived, i.e., propaganda, to advance the Blueprint. All the best with Plummer Park.
joan sullivan November 06, 2011 at 09:03 AM
Paul, you really need to move to Calabasas where you can live happily ever after with your own sanctimonious kind.
Paul November 06, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Poison smoke or clean fresh air? No need to argue or say cruel things. VERY easy resolution. Best to STOP the terrible addiction fro ones own health concerns and then this is a non issue. Good luck!!!
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George November 25, 2012 at 07:04 AM
The non smokers who don't enjoy breathing disease causing cigarette smoke from smokers are hoping Duran & Prang will be ousted from there comfy positions as council members so other more effective council members can make more responsible decisions for the health and welfare of the people who live in West Hollywood.
Ali November 25, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Paul, the people of West Hollywood should be making decisions on their health and welfare on their own. The Government/City Council should not be making them for us. Even as a non-smoker, I do not want anybody making any decisions for me. I am not ready to hand myself over to the government. Are you?


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