Council to consider ban on tobacco in parks
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Aug 01, 2013 | 1008 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An ordinance in the works by city staff and the Patterson City Council would ban smoking and chewing tobacco in public parks and recreation areas throughout the city.

The ordinance, which was scheduled for introduction July 16, will be considered for adoption at the regular city council meeting Aug. 20.

The regularly scheduled meeting for August 6 is cancelled due to the National Night out activities.

The tobacco ban would extend to all bike and hiking paths, as well as outdoor parks and recreational areas, according to a draft of the ordinance.

A first time offender can expect to pay a $100 fine. Subsequent fines of $250 to $1000 would apply for repeat offenders.

Mayor Luis Molina said the valley’s air is bad enough. The Central Valley has been rated some of the worst air quality in California next to Los Angeles.

“We want people to get healthier. We already have a challenge where we live with the air quality as it is,” he said. “We don’t need the added problem of breathing second hand smoke.”

Molina said breathing second hand smoke is not a choice. He noted the ordinance could lead to future “smoke free” public events, or at least public events with designated smoking areas.

Councilman Dominic Farinha agreed. He said he believed the ordinance would easily pass.

“Second hand smoke knows no boundaries,” he said. “Sometimes cities have to take one extra step to ensure public safety.”

Farinha, however, said there won’t be smoking police.

“We’re hoping people have the common courtesy to respect the law and its intent,” he said, noting people will not be patrolling looking for smokers in parks.

The ordinance defines a recreational area as any park, picnic area, playground, sports field, golf course, walking path, garden, hiking trail, bike path, swimming pool and skate park owned publicly or operated by the City of Patterson.

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