Don't move to Dublin. They are about to declare second hand cigarette smoke a public nuisance. Sure hope the heck our Stupidvisors don't hear about this one. Nanny Nanny Nanny. People who feel violated can go to court and file for up to $7500 in damages. As noted in the article Calabasas has already banned cigarette smoking in public places.
There is also a move afoot in the legislature to ban smoking in cars when kids are in the car. Next up banning cigarette smoking in homes where there are kids. Next declaring what foods parents should prepare for their kids and what clothes kids can wear how often they must see a doctor and dentist and etc etc etc - barf barf barf
Bay Area city says secondhand smoke makes bad neighbor
By LISA LEFF, The Associated Press
Aug 21, 2006 12:01 AM (11 hrs ago)
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DUBLIN, Calif. - Smokers, beware: This bedroom community near San Francisco may soon put you in the same category as rodents, junk cars, vicious dogs and weeds.
The Dublin City Council gave preliminary approval last week to an ordinance declaring secondhand tobacco smoke to be a public nuisance, a move designed to make it easier for residents to take neighbors who puff with impunity to court.
"We have to legislate civility at times," said Councilwoman Kasie Hildenbrand.
Hildenbrand sponsored the measure after hearing from an elderly constituent who complained that polite attempts to persuade the smoker next door to curtail her habit had failed.
If the council passes the law as expected on Sept. 5, smoking would not be banned in private homes or backyards in Dublin. Neither would police be asked to issue citations to citizens whose smoking offended neighbors.
Instead, the purpose is to give vexed residents a stick to shake at recalcitrant smokers when pleas for courtesy are ignored, according to Hildenbrand.
Adding secondhand smoke to the list of nuisances the city recognizes - a docket that already includes excessively loud music, noxious smells and untended garbage - would lower the burden of proof on plaintiffs who go to small claims court seeking relief from wafting fumes and up to $7,500 in damages.
Dublin already outlaws smoking within 15 feet of public playgrounds, ATM machines and bus stops, as well as in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants and enclosed common areas of condominiums, nursing homes and retirement communities. The city also bans hookah bars, where patrons smoke tobacco through communal water pipes, and medicinal marijuana clubs.
While suing to stop someone from smoking on private property might seem excessive, the Dublin resident who inspired the legislation said she and her husband considered moving out of their home of six years because of the yearlong battle with a smoking neighbor.
Shirley Wassom, 72, said whenever her neighbor lit up on her patio, the smoke wafted through Wassom's windows. Because she is severely allergic to cigarette smoke, Wassom asked the neighbor to smoke on the far side of the yard, but the woman insisted she had the right to smoke where she pleased.
Wassom's son even installed a two-way radio so the neighbor could warn the couple to close their windows. But the system didn't work very well, according to Wassom. One morning, the neighbor became irritated when she could not reach the Wassoms on the radio at 7 a.m.
"That burned me up," Wassom said. "Here she knows I'm retired and expects me to get up to shut our windows."
The two council members who voted against the ordinance Tuesday night argued that targeting smoking on private property was an improper use of the city's authority.
A Dublin resident who identified himself only as Steve because he doesn't want people to know he is "a closet smoker" agreed. The 44-year-old job recruiter said that while he tries to remain sensitive to the concerns of nonsmokers, he worries that the nuisance ordinance would encourage people to harass him.
"The people who smoke are already getting screwed," he said. "My thought is, you can take me to court and I'm going to turn up the stereo."
Wassom's problem was resolved after the neighbor moved out in May. But Hildenbrand said she expects similar disagreements to arise because the city has encouraged the development of town house and condominium complexes with shared yards.
"I really feel that as Dublin grows, we are creating new nuisances for our community that are not typical of suburban areas, and we need to be progressive in taking care of our residents," Hildenbrand said.
At least one other California community, the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, adopted a comparable secondhand smoke law in March as part of a comprehensive measure that also banned smoking in all public places.
The vote came a little more than a month after the California Air Resources Board classified secondhand smoke as a toxic pollutant that contributes to deaths and illnesses among nonsmokers. Hildenbrand said the board's action, along with a report from the U.S. Surgeon General last month that attributed 46,000 deaths from heart disease and another 3,000 cancer deaths annually to secondhand smoke exposure, should embolden bigger cities to add tobacco smoke to their public nuisance statutes.
"It's one of those things you look at and think California is really cutting edge," she said.