Smoke-Free Balconies?

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On Tuesday I debated the Calabasas outdoor smoking ban (which takes effect tomorrow) with the town's mayor, Barry Groveman, on the L.A. NPR afflliate KCRW. He said the city council had decided to remove a provision banning smoking on apartment balconies near "common areas." It's not clear when exactly that provision was taken out of the ordinance, since it was in the version the city had posted on its Web site for weeks after what was officially the final vote on the measure. But it is gone from the version the city has posted right now. Smokers in Calabasas probably should keep an eye on the Web site, in case the ban continues to evolve online.

More intriguing than the vanishing provision was Groveman's rationale for removing it: He said it would have been too hard to enforce. Yet the city still ostensibly intends to make sure that no one lights up outdoors at any time of the day or night in the presence of a nonsmoker, whether or not the nonsmoker minds. If it included balconies, I guess that task would become impractical.

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  1. If it included balconies, I guess that task would become impractical.

    But enforcing the balconies would give officers the right to enter the residence in order to get to the balconies. It’s a cop’s wet dream come true. Why would they take that out?

    Anyway, this bill is nothing without a property forfeiture provision. And mandatory minimum sentences.

    California uber alles!

  2. Jacob, that’s a very important–

    Say: what’s up with the gal in green on the upper right-hand corner?

    Is she any relation to the Reason Pillow Girl?

    Reason Leprechaun Girl?

  3. I would prefer the guy who lives under me to smoke out in his balcony. The stink of his Menthols go through the floor and my apartment reeks.

    I would say that the town of Calabasas was being stupid by forcing smokers indoors at apartment buildings. But this was only an opening shot for them to ultimately ban interior smoking as well.

    Obviously, I’m a very reluctant ally of the smokers. But the nannies aren’t going to stop after the smokers are completely subjugated. The nannies have to be met at ALL fronts.

  4. what are your floors made of? cotton?

  5. Wilmette, IL has proposed a ban on “doing ANYTHING dangerous while driving”. To whit: eating, drinking, smoking, changing the radio station…
    (sorry, no link. Was on the morning news.)

    They claim they don’t want to enforce it except for people who do something wrong. That seems to be the modus operandi these days. We don’t actually want to arrest people, we just want to be able to write them $750 tickets. You have nothing to fear if you aren’t doing anything wrong.

    Soon every citizen will be a scofflaw who has to fear the police.

  6. Don’t know, dude. I just know the moment I walk into my unit that it smells like a poolhall.

    Freedom isn’t always pretty.

  7. linguist

    That’s the way they sneak it in. They know that most people won’t support they idea of getting a ticket for something that they do everyday so they call something a “secondary infraction” to get the law passed. You’ll have to speed, miss a traffic signal, not signal, swerve, etc, and then the hit you with a ticket for talking on a cell phone or drinking coffee. Who would argue that a driver not paying attention doesn’t deserve a ticket when creating a dangerous situation? After it passes, they push to make such secondary offenses into primary offenses.

  8. You ever wonder if they pass enough laws on smoking, that the police will not be able to keep up? That anti-smoking laws in public places will turn into the open container laws (open containers in public is one of my favorite things… though i do use the infamous brown bag) ?

  9. As a regular pedestrian, I almost get killed quite often. Guess what? It’s ALWAYS someone on a cell phone that looks as if they are daydreaming. Maybe the people on this board can walk and chew gum, but I’m pretty damn sure that the majority of the human race can’t.

  10. Mikey, the police don’t want to keep up.

    The point of these laws is to give the cops the tools to harass whoever is “undesirable” whenever the cops feel like it.

  11. That should be:

    I almost get killed quite often by drivers

  12. Is she any relation to the Reason Pillow Girl?

    Reason Leprechaun Girl?

    I think the consensus is she’s the Reason Shamrock Girl.

    I can’t wait to see what she’ll wear for Buy A Gun Day (April 15th)…

  13. Smokers could quickly and easily put an end to the anti-smoking laws by refusing to obey them. Let’s see if they have any balls. (I doubt it, and where’s Herrick?)

  14. Captain:

    I’m eagerly waiting for the Easter-bunny girl.

  15. Reason Shamrock Girl has turned my limp cabbage into a rock-hard Blarney Stone. If she rubs it, she gets three wishes.
    Oh wait, I’m mixing ethnic metaphors, aren’t I?

  16. Smokers could quickly and easily put an end to the anti-smoking laws by refusing to obey them.

    Sorry. No will do. I was never an asshole smoker before the laws, and I won’t become one now. If all smokers were conscientious of nonsmokers, we probably wouldn’t have to deal with such laws now. Even I, as a smoker, have wanted to punch rude smokers on occasion.

    Even though I hate the government, I bet we wouldn’t have so many screwed up laws if there weren’t so many assholes on the planet.

    Blame the government and the people.

  17. I almost get killed quite often by drivers.

    Maybe you ought to stop walking out in front of cars. My dad calls that having the dead-right-of-way.

  18. Who will defend my right to play in traffic?

  19. The bottom line is that if you’re walking outside in LA you’re already doing a number on your lungs. The effect of a few cigarettes on balconies would seem to be negligible.

  20. “I bet we wouldn’t have so many screwed up laws if there weren’t so many assholes on the planet.”

    All it takes is one or two “connected” oversensitive prudes to get government rolling on prohibiting stuff. Today’s government exists to prevent us from doing stuff, so when it has the chance, you think it’s gonna wait for the majority to step up? Nah.

    I hate smoke (I fuckin HATE it, man!), but I will say this: sure, there are asshole smokers, but there are also arrogant assholes who make unreasonable demands just to make sure that they aren’t inconvenienced with a dry cleaning bill.

    I’ve taken to politely asking smokers to move or stop, and I’ve gotten quite a few polite, favorable responses. I think the assholishness that many smokers exhibit comes as a response to the arrogant “I want my way and I want it now” attitude of certain nonsmokers.

    In other words, for every asshole smoker that blows smoke in your face, there’s an asshole health nazi that thinks an entire bar should go nonsmoking just to appease him/her.

  21. I bet we wouldn’t have so many screwed up laws if there weren’t so many assholes on the planet.

    You’re not free unless you are free to be an asshole, I always say.

  22. linguist, the most dangerous thing you can do while driving is. . .drive. Driving kills.

  23. In other words, for every asshole smoker that blows smoke in your face, there’s an asshole health nazi that thinks an entire bar should go nonsmoking just to appease him/her.

    Indeed.

  24. I had an experience last night that put this all in perspective a bit.

    Met up with friends at a Mexican bar/restaurant. Note: in Chicago you can still smoke IF the bar is separate from the restaurant, physically. In this case it was. So we have some drinks, have some food, and we’re at a rather large table.

    So a woman comes over with two young kids and asks if they can share our table. We say, “Yes, if you don’t mind the smoke”. She considers, then says, “Thanks anyway, I’ll see if I can share the table behind you.”

    HAHA. Little did she know the table behind us had a lesbian couple who had been making out all night.

    She came back to our table. I guess we were STILL less disturbing than the lesbians.

    But then my group felt we had no choice but to refrain from smoking. So we left. The places we can smoke are so restricted, why did she have to bring her damn kids into our space?!

  25. Maybe you ought to stop walking out in front of cars.

    Maybe you ought to stop driving on the sidewalk.

  26. I hate so say this (cigarette in mouth), but the the ban on smoking on a balcony, in the case where someone else might be on his own adjacent balcony, actually makes more sense than the ban on smoking in bars. The balcony neighbor is on his own property and did not volunteer to have smoke in his face.

    In a bar, you are on the bar owner’s property, where the owner should set the rules himself. No one is forced to go into a bar that permits smoking.

  27. I’m actually in the middle of a similar controversy. Our local health nazis want to strengthen our existing town law.

    In the rural Texas town where I live there are 84 public eating places. Current regulations require a completely separate smoking area. At the local Chili’s it’s outside on the balcony. As a result, exactly four (4) local restaurants have smoking areas. There isn’t a single restaurant in town where you can’t go, sit in the non-smoking area, and have a smoke-free meal.

    You’d think that would be good enough. NOT.

    According to one ban proponent, “Eighty percent of the people don’t smoke, so the majority should rule and smoking should be banned in every public location.” IOW the 20% who do smoke shouldn’t even have separate areas in the 5% of venues that offer them.

    The irony is that this person should be wary of such government feel-goodism. As of January 1 the State of Texas ran him out of his career field by requiring locksmiths to be licensed and bonded. But he can’t see the connection.

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