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Santa Monica Cancels Its Apartment Smoking Ban

Apartment smoking ban fails to pass its required second reading when two Santa Monica Councilmembers reverse their earlier votes.

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. 

What do you think of this decision? Tell us in the comments section.

Rudolf Martin July 25, 2012 at 05:49 PM
looks like some people came to their senses. this law would have been drastic governmental overreach.
Sheila Lightfoot July 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Funny how expressing concern over restricting the use of an illegal substance (except for medical purposes, of course) is a more politically acceptable stance than expressing any concern whatsoever over restricting people’s rights to use a legal substance. Frankly, I don’t care what excuse Mayor Bloom or the sane Santa Monica Council members used for arriving at more sensible governance instead of this persistent drift toward the nanny state by democrats. I’m just saying, it’s more than a bit revealing about the state of democratic politics these days. Although, it may also have just secured my vote for Mayor Richard Bloom in the Assembly race. Showing that kind of independence from the top-down democratic orthodoxy is very rare indeed these days. I doubt we’d ever see Betsy Butler step out of line that way. Perhaps that's why she’s being supported by the State Democratic Party pooh-bahs.
Manny July 26, 2012 at 03:09 AM
One good reason to Not vote for Richard (flip-flopper) Bloom.
Shawn Thompson July 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I'm glad it didn't make it. I thought the logic in it was way off base. Smokers are addicted to nicotine. And many individuals are making large amounts of money off of nicotine addiction. To go after the nicotine user as a society in my opinion isn't fair. Making more laws that are aimed at making nicotine users "The Bad Guys" is going after the wrong people in my mind. The massive amount of money being made off of the sale of nicotine is where I think the battle should be fought. And the individuals that profit from selling it and all the taxes on it is what needs to be challenged. Taxing nicotine users cause their habit is "Bad" and because of that they should have to pay a high price for it isn’t fair. It's a set up to make more money off of nicotine. I agree that breathing in someone’s second hand smoke isn't healthy. And that non smokers are right in wanting to limit the amount of second hand smoke in their daily lives. But in the big picture it is nowhere as significant as what is polluting our air by our sources of energy in fossil fuels, burning gas and or all the other impacts on the environment in our industries. To me that is where the real work needs to be done to make our air cleaner. Smokers have become the scapegoat in my opinion these days. There is way too much money being made off nicotine sales and taxes. Under the spin that smokers are “bad”.
Manny July 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Talk to anyone who lives on the otherside of a drywall from a smoker. I think they'll find all this defense of cigarette smoke...and taxes and who's not "bad" and illegal substances and marijuana and big government and fossil fuels polluting the air and nanny states...to be off point, a distracttion, not reasonable and somewhat paraniod. It's not that compicated or sinister....Smoking is bad for the smoker and for the person next to the smoker. That's what the person on the other side of the drywall will tell you.
Marlborlo July 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM
So make tobacco illegal.. wait that will not work the state and the fed are making too much money off smokers, it you eliminate tobacco the government will lose money....... can’t have that.
hogarth July 31, 2012 at 01:13 PM
No one - NO ONE - has yet come forward to say that exhaust from automobiles is carcinogenic (it is), and that we must ban them from our streets. Until the day they do, I won't hear any namby-pamby arguments about merely banning cigarette smokers. After all, less than 11% of Santa Monicans smoke cigarettes, while I'm willing to bet more than 75% drive cars.
Manny July 31, 2012 at 01:40 PM
if the car's engine is running and parked inside the apt next door, yeah that should be banned.
hogarth July 31, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Manny, that's a false comparison. You know very well that we all spend 24 hours a day, every day, sucking in the car exhaust of MILLIONS of cars, and yet you want to whine about a tiny trace of smoke from a tiny little cigarette. Car exhaust is the literal air we breathe - and yet I hear no calls for banning cars. This is hypocrisy and snotty-nosed pooperoo-ism of the worst sort - invading your neighbor's home to tell him what he can and cannot do, simply because you don't LIKE it. This has nothing whatever to do with public health, because if it did, we would, indeed, ban the internal combustion engine.
hogarth July 31, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Let's ban the drinking of alcoholic beverages - the alcohol evaporates into the atmosphere and travels right through that terribly porous drywall that Manny so fears. Alcohol is implicated in the formation of several types of cancer. Watch out for benzene - it's in cold cereal and various lubricants. Gotta ban that, or the vapors from your neighbor's apartment could be killing you. Oh, but wait - there's the formaldehyde in your furniture and carpets, not to mention if your wife (or you) uses nail polish - heaven knows all THOSE chemicals are carcinogens, and they evaporate right into the air that's sneaking through that awful drywall. Gotta get those neighbors out of there! Actually, you know what? I have a better idea. You should just move. Maybe find a nice radon-free cave somewhere. Somewhere you won't have to worry about being killed by your horrible neighbors' awful, awful cigarettes.
live free or die July 31, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Smoking prevents alsheimer and parkinson,god created tobacco for a reason,the filthy democrats are laughing and dancing all the way to their offshore banks.so where is 100% of the tax extortion going? classified......58 billion a year? classified...pays for lazy school teachers union pensions...you bet...democrats the evil within...overthrow now.before the violence gets worse...all media is controlled by the chosen ones.nothing but shootings averywhere,the do nothing democrats can't make money off it,but tobacco is very profitable for the chosen ones.
joninla August 02, 2012 at 08:02 AM
At the very least, the "protecting renters" city of West Hollywood should exempt current existing tenants (long term especially, but every renter in place) from this law that would expose the threatened rental population to one more legitimate reason to live in fear that they could be subjected to eviction from our city that claims to be all about 'protecting renters'.
Rudolf Martin August 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM
'joninla': weho has already done what you suggest.
James F. Mills August 02, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Yes, Weho already has that exact law in place. Can't be evicted for smoking in your apartment. http://westhollywood.patch.com/articles/bill-would-protect-renters-who-smoke-from-threat-of-eviction
Eugene Casasanta August 06, 2012 at 12:36 AM
New york city mayor is trying to ban the sale of soft drinks larger than 14 oz because they are fattening. Restaurants are being made to use certain cooking oils. Smoking is banned in bars, restaurants, public transportation, malls etc..and now the gestapo is trying to regulate what you legally can do in your home. Think about it it people..."In Germany they came first for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up". This country was founded upon the principle that all men are created equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are: life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I served my country and I'll be damned if I will bow to these "left wing, pinky waving communist coc- - s--c---kers. I don't smoke but if I did, I would gladly give the santa Monica City council the one finger wave. Enough is enough, it's time to start protesting these stupid laws that do nothing more than take away more of your liberties.
scott ferguson August 06, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Most of these proposals (not the billionaire pro-capitalist Mayor of NYC's soda ban) are made to protect the freedoms of others. Smoking causes cancer. If someone wants to smoke in his own home which they own, fine (although exposing children to it and hurting them might be an issue), But it is my freedom that is infringed upon if I have to inhale second-hand smoke. So this is not an issue of freedom vs freedom, it is one about conflicts between freedoms. And if what you do infringes on my freedom (that is, to break without inhaling tobacco smoke), the I believe that trumps the other person's freedom. This has nothing to do with being communist or left wing. These laws aren't stupid. They defend freedom.
scott ferguson August 06, 2012 at 02:51 AM
ugh, need to proofreed "not an issue between freedom and taking away freedon" "to breath without inhaling tobacco smoke"

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