Sending smoke signals
Does anybody at City Hall know that there are laws about smoking in Santa Monica? Has anybody at City Hall heard anything about second-hand smoke being harmful to other people, in addition to the fact that it stinks and the stink gets on the clothes and hair of people near them?
Smokers lost their sense of smell, but victims of smokers have to suffer that stench. Don‚Äôt tell me, “But it‚Äôs outside.” So was the nerve gas in Syria. Did that do harm? Smoke can‚Äôt be contained, and it does harm.
I visited the Third Street Promenade two days in a row recently. Nothing has changed. There has never been a day when I walked down the promenade and not seen smokers. And they were smoking within sight of Santa Monica Police officers. A police officer told me that there has been no directive to enforce the no-smoking laws.
I‚Äôve walked the length of the Santa Monica Pier and seen smokers unbothered by police officers. The musicians on the pier do a better job of informing smokers of the law.
I‚Äôve never waited for a bus near the promenade when there weren‚Äôt smokers at or near the bus stop. Whenever I‚Äôve tried to politely point out that there is a fine for smoking at a bus stop, I‚Äôve faced hostility or arrogance. Nobody ever put out a cigarette or moved away from the bus stop. I don‚Äôt expect smokers to have any intelligence or manners. If they did, they wouldn‚Äôt be smoking to begin with. However, I do expect laws to be enforced by law enforcement officers.
A couple of months after the city manager, Rod Gould, came into office, he attended a neighborhood meeting. At that meeting a city staff person reported that signs would be placed at bus stops indicating smoking is prohibited. How long have you been on the job now, Mr. City Manager? Where are the signs? What are you waiting for?
Our past chief of police didn‚Äôt think the smoking issue needed to be addressed. He dusted off the question of enforcement at a neighborhood association meeting. What about our new chief? Do you have any intention of enforcing the laws of Santa Monica? Do the residents have to file a class action suit? Legal action seems to be the only thing that motivates anybody these days.
There is a bus stop bench at Pearl and 17th streets on the south side of the campus of Santa Monica College, across the street from the campus police station. It would be highly unusual not to see smokers filling that bench. That‚Äôs in addition to the mob of smokers who are always smoking in front of the no-smoking signs nearby. If a person wants to walk on the sidewalk on the north side of Pearl from end to end at the college, that person better have a scuba tank for air. The entire length of the street, from the west end of the college to the east end of the college, is filled with people smoking.
The equivalent of the Tea Party of smokers seems to be blocking any and all attempts to enforce the laws. Do we really need tourist dollars that badly that we can‚Äôt enforce the laws? Why do the non-smokers have to be victims when the law is on our side?