West Hollywood residents have thanks to an ordinance the City Council passed in November.
In Santa Monica, city officials were set to go the that would require smokers to register with their landlord and the landlords to distribute a map to where smokers live to all residents in the complex.
However, the Santa Monica City Council unexpectedly After passing the ordinance on a 4-2 vote at its July 10 meeting, the ordinance failed to its required second reading before becoming law.
Mayor Richard Bloom and City Councilmember Terry O'Day both supported the ordinance at the July 10 meeting, but changed their votes citing the need for more information about how the law would affect medical marijuana users and landlords.
"I have some concerns about this ordinance as we adopted it and include some of the issues that have been raised to me after-the-fact about medical marijuana users," said O'Day.
"I think the council and the ultimate decision-making will benefit from future discussion regarding medical marijuana," said Bloom.
The Los Angeles Times criticized the Santa Monica ban in an editorial, saying it went too far. “It makes sense to prohibit smoking in restaurants, malls and workplaces, where an individual choice creates a collective health problem,” said the Times editorial, dated July 22. “But it's an entirely different matter to regulate a person's legal behavior inside his own home. Smoking may be a nasty habit, but it's not criminal.”
Santa Monica Councilmember Bobby Shriver, who was pushing for the ban, responded with a letter to the editor saying the ban would have helped nonsmoking residents who would “live in their units free of the fear, and the health risk, that a heavy smoker will move in next to them.”
West Hollywood, a city founded on tenants’ rights, passed its ordinance protecting apartment smokers as a preemptive action to a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 which allows landlords to declare individual units or entire complexes as non-smoking. The West Hollywood City Council feared landlords would use that new law as a tool to evict smokers from rent-controlled units.
According to a 2010 report compiled the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 10.7% of Santa Monica residents smoke, compared to 19.6% of West Hollywood residents. In Los Angeles County, 14.6% of residents smoke.
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