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Smoke rises, once again

January 27, 2003

Karen S. Kim

Councilman Gus Gomez might have trouble getting the support of his

colleagues Tuesday when the council considers designating smoking

areas in Glendale's parks.

"I don't support it," Councilman Dave Weaver said Friday. "It's a

nice political thing to come up with, but parks are outside.

Restaurants allow people to go outside and smoke, so are you going to

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start saying people can't smoke outside because people can walk by

and smell cigarettes? Come on."

Gomez introduced the issue to the council in August, saying he and

his daughter were bothered by cigarette smoke during a visit to the

park. He supported a complete ban on smoking in parks.

"I still support it," he said. "But instead of outlawing smoking

completely in the parks, I'll compromise to just have areas that are

prohibited. The areas where I'm most concerned is where children

mainly congregate."

The council could agree to set up such a program Tuesday. Parking

lots, sidewalks and public rights-of-way adjacent to parks would

become designated smoking areas.

The program would cost about $24,000 to implement in the first

year and another $2,000 each year afterward, according to a staff

report. The money would be used for signs, public-information

materials, park furniture and enforcement of the program by park

rangers and police.

Weaver said the program would not be worth the extra burden it

would cause for police.

"We can't enforce drivers running down people in crosswalks, so

how are we going to start worrying about people in parks smoking in

the right area?" he said. "We're understaffed as it is."

Mayor Rafi Manoukian said he also had concerns about enforcing the

restrictions.

"I have questions as to whether we're doing something that is

necessarily enforceable or where the boundaries would be," he said.

"I would prefer to look at the whole picture and not just pieces of

it."

Gomez disagreed.

"The ordinance would almost be self-enforceable," he said. "Once

people recognize that the restriction is in place, they will follow

it."

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