In a published on Santee Patch in April 2011, addressed why there were in Santee and why the was a positive in his eyes. In that Letter to the Editor the Mayor Voepel wrote:
"I see this grade of "F" from our perspective as being the highest grade for "FREEDOM" we could earn. In Santee we believe in life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our City Council thinks long and hard before we restrict or take away one's freedom"
With , I decided to take a look into the Santee Municipal Code. What I found was a bit surprising. I've posted a few of the codes from Health and Safety as well as as well as City Parks followed by comments from me which are in bold.
Title 8 HEALTH AND SAFETY
Chapter 8.12 NOISE ABATEMENT AND CONTROL
8.12.010 Purpose and intent.
The city council finds and declares that:
A. Inadequately controlled noise presents a growing danger to the health and welfare of the residents of the city;
Can someone PLEASE explain to me how noise presents more of a danger to the health and welfare of people than second hand smoke does? The American Lung Association, American Heart Association, and the among others strongly disagree.
D. Every person is entitled to an environment in which the noise is not detrimental to his or her life, health, and enjoyment of property;
While the believes each person is entitled to an environment in which the noise is not detrimental to his or her life, health and enjoyment of property... they do not believe each person is entitled to an environment which second hand smoke is not detrimental to his or her life, health, and enjoyment of property.
8.12.050 General noise regulations
A. General Prohibitions. In the absence of objective measurement by use of a sound level meter, additionally it is unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continued, within the limits of the city, any disturbing, excessive or offensive noise which causes discomfort or annoyance to reasonable persons of normal sensitivity residing in the area.
The City Council prevents any disturbing, excessive or offensive NOISE which causes discomfort or annoyance to reasonable persons of normal sensitivity yet does not prevent any disturbing, excessive or offensive ODOR which causes discomfort or annoyance to a reasonable person of normal sensitivity.
Title 12 STREETS, SIDEWALKS AND PUBLIC PROPERTY
Chapter 12.28 CITY PARKS
12.28.180 Disturbing the peace
No person shall disturb the peace and quiet of a city park by any loud or unusual noise, or by the sounding of automobile horns or noise making devices, or by the use of profane, obscene or abusive language or gestures.
While a person is banned from disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment of a city park by loud noises, profane language or even hand gestures, the City Council does not feel it necessary to ban a person from disturbing the enjoyment of the same park by smoking.
No person shall permit any child under the age of seven years to play in any playground area, or fish, swim or play in or near any lake, pool or drainage ditch, except in areas which are fenced and set aside for infants, unless such child is attended by an adult
According to this a child as young as seven years old can be at a public park unattended within a fenced area playing while an adult stands nearby smoking and the City Council does not see this as a detriment to this child's life, health, or enjoyment of the property.
12.28.130 Gambling and fortunetelling
No person shall engage in fortunetelling, palm reading, character analysis, phrenological exhibitions or demonstrations, or any other like display, demonstration or exhibit in a city park for a charge, fee or donation of money, or any other valuable consideration.
I am baffled as to how the city council does not feel that there should be a ban on smoking in public parks, yet at some point they felt fortunetelling was such a problem in public parks that it was necessary to make a law banning it.
The health risks from indirect, secondhand smoke are clear. The following information was gathered from the American Heart Association's website:
- A 2006 report of the U.S. Surgeon General states that: "There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. The finding is of major public health concern due to the fact that nearly half of all nonsmoking Americans are still regularly exposed to secondhand smoke"
- Short exposures to secondhand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, and decrease coronary flow velocity reserves; all mechanisms that may increase the risk of a heart attack.
The American Heart Association maintains that smoke-free laws should be comprehensive and should apply to all workplaces and public environments, that there should be no preemption of local ordinances, and no exemptions for hardship, opting out, or ventilation.
Mayor Voepel, the F does not represent FREEDOM... it represents the FUTURE... which is what you and the rest of City Council need to protect by banning smoking at all public parks in Santee.