The smoking ordinance in Belmont was a classic example of what Belmont’s city council is all about. Sure second hand smoke is bad but the issue brought before them was second hand smoke in attached adjacent living spaces–the genesis of the original complaint. However our council (coached by their cronies in other departments with similar agendasâ€”can anyone say Planning Department?) decided to pursue a ban on all outdoor cigarette smoking in Belmontâ€”notice I didnâ€™t say all smoking?
Be clear, this was a personal agenda. Mayor Coralinâ€™s trama had to do with being exposed to second hand smoke from her father and Council Member Dave Warden wanted Belmont to be a "smoke free city". Mr. Warden apparently anointed himself with deciding how one should personally care for themselves stating, "â€¦This ordinance may save lives as it may force smokers to quit or limit smoking".
What they neglected to address was wood burning fireplaces and outdoor BBQ’s–no doubt much worse contributors of air borne carcinogens. Mr. Wardenâ€™s argument for not banning other more caustic causes of airborne particulate matter such as that expelled by SUVâ€™s was answered withâ€”"[but] we need cars". So whatâ€™s his answer to this oneâ€”banning outdoor BBQâ€™s will stop people from eating unhealthy carcinogen laden foods AND stop the air borne particulate matter they cause. Why wasnâ€™t that a part of the ordinance?
Did anyone notice the volumes of billowing smoke at the Save The Music benefit in Belmont wafting by the children
as they sang on stage? The city doesnâ€™t need to bring in experts to intuitively know that the smoke produced that day alone no doubt exposed more people to more carcinogens than any outdoor citizen puffing away on a cigarette. This council is clearly about tolerance (or lack thereof) and what they personally believe should be acceptable.
Why did they ignore addressing these two issues if their real concern was for the health, welfare and safety of their constituents? Because they only wanted to trample on a minority who they knew would not garner any support; they knew that adding a ban on outdoor BBQâ€™s and wood burning fireplaces would raise too much oppositionâ€”they simply stuck with an ordinance which would get them maximum media attention with minimal resistance.