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Santee Mayor Explains City's 'F for Freedom' Tobacco Grade

The American Lung Assoc. gives Santee a failing grade for tobacco control, the Mayor responds.

Also read the other side of the issue: a reply to the Mayor's letter.

I am writing in response to the American Lung Association's (ALA) March 4 letter (see the letter in the media box) regarding .

They may see it as a grade of "F" from their perspective, as our being graded a failure; 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 thinks long and hard before we restrict or take away one's freedom. If a smoker wants to blast their lungs out on cigarettes, that's their choice. If someone wants to light up in a park or public are, that's fine, if someone else complains, I expect the smoker to move away or put the thing out. We do allow smoking in public places, restaurants have the freedom to pick or choose having patio smoking, their FREEDOM of choice.

Youths that buy tobacco products are in violation of current law (Santee enforces tobacco and booze laws aggressively, Shoulder Tap program, etc.). We enforce the laws now and don't need a new on merchants to extort money from them, that's why we don't raise taxes in Santee, especially .

Multi-unit housing is private property. The property owners have the FREEDOM to set the smoking policy as they see fit. If renters don't like the policy, they move out or not rent in the first place. If it would give an owner competitive advantage, maybe they would have no-smoking units. The ALA is asking me to endorse having 75 percent of rental units as non-smoking by law. I would never pass a law either way! My bottom line in we don't need municipal government to play Nanny.

means a lot to Santee. If a smoker is rude or uncaring, I expect the person taking offense, to communicate with the rude one, and the rude one to once again move on or put it out. You may have all the laws in the world; ultimately it boils down to human interaction.

It would be very easy for me as mayor to be politically correct (most are) at worse or ignore ALA at best- not my style though. The above reasons are why I take great pride in our "F" for FREEDOM score. I have the FREEDOM to disagree with them. Unless I am voted out of office, or the majority of the votes to take away another dwindling FREEDOM by cracking down on smokers, I will always stand tall for less government intrusion in our lives.

Respectfully submitted,

Randy Voepel

Mayor, The Freedom loving City of Santee

See the ALS letter this is in response to in the media box.

Warren Bottoms April 04, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Well played, Mayor Voepel. We need more common sense like that in this country, and especially in Washington!
joan sullivan April 05, 2011 at 01:35 AM
This is not a smoking issue! The American Lung Association wrote to the mayor of Santee and said, "Make the laws we order or we will tell everybody, 'MAYOR VOEPEL OF SANTEE IS AN OLD DOODY!'" And Randy Voepel fired back, "Take your Grade "F" and stuff it." Good for you, Mayor. Men who refused to grovel before threats made this country great in the past. This country needs more like you today. So does the rest of San Diego County.
Ella Robbins April 05, 2011 at 04:16 PM
(continued) A 12 year old boy in NJ died last year from getting hit with a baseball during baseball practice. And here's the overall statistic for baseball/softball: • Baseball and softball - Nearly 117,000 children and adolescents ages five to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries, and nearly 26,000 children and adolescents ages five to 14 were treated for softball-related injuries. Baseball also has the highest fatality rate among sports for children and adolescents ages five to 14, with three to four persons dying from baseball injuries each year. You don't like smelling smoke. I don't like baseball. Are the sports-medicine and traumatic head injury societies spending a fortune to stamp out sports? Nope! Because child participation in dangerous sports is POPULAR with the same dumb parents that want to stamp out tobacco smoke (but not victory bonfires) from the ambient outdoor air. Dangerous is apparently okay if it is an activity that 50% or more of the population enjoys, right?
Ella Robbins April 05, 2011 at 04:35 PM
. . .and stop throwing your butts and candy wrappers and Poland Spring water bottles and ice cream sticks and condoms and newspapers and napkins and chewing gum and. . . It would seem that you don't want a new law; you just want existing litter laws to be enforced, right? And I also assume you want litter laws enforced on everyone, not just smokers. Only enforcing litter laws on smokers is called "profiling" and is very Politically Incorrect.
sue April 06, 2011 at 06:09 PM
thank you Mayor Voepel-The exhause from automobiles is much more harmful than second hand cigarette smoke- if we ban smoking, perhaps we should ban automobiles in Santee. If the ALA were more honest in their publications, literature, etc. perhaps they would deserve some respect. As is, they fail to mention so many other things more harmful to our lungs and only concentrate on one thing.
Jeni Reynolds April 07, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Wow, looks like we have some defensive smokers in the mix. Really baseball and car exhaust is your best defense for why we shouldn’t regulate a cancer causing agent known to kill more people in the United States than both baseball and car exhaust combined (which is more heavily regulated than smoking – duh). Your arguments are so laughable that it isn’t worth a rebuttal. Although, I am itching to give you one. I love personal freedom and can admire a man that sticks up for his town! My comments are not that the report was fair, correct, or really a judgment on smokers themselves. Smokers aren’t bad people. They are addicts. I know from firsthand experience that when a 17 year old girls starts smoking, it isn’t freedom that keeps her smoking until she dies of lung cancer at the age of 62. Its addition. Regardless, my issue is with the Mayor’s main point for refusing to regulate tobacco use. He says he expects smokers to be complaint. That is a faulty premise to base your recommendation as a law maker and city official. Period. I like our Mayor and this is the first time I have disagreed with him. I would still vote for him again, but I still will voice my disagreement on this issue. Smoking needs to be regulated so we don’t have to rely on complaint smokers – which in my experience are few and far between.
joan sullivan April 08, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Jennifer: I do hope you aren't drooling with delight at the prospect of that girl dying from lung cancer in 45 years. Smoking cigarettes is a very inefficient way to catch lung cancer. Do you know how many cigarette smokers NEVER get lung cancer? OVER NINETY PERCENT! So what do you think your chances are? Studies that measured actual exposure by having non-smokers wear monitors showed that people who live and/or work in smoky indoor environments inhale the equivalent of about SIX cigarettes per year. That is INDOORS, not on the street or in a park where the smoke is diluted by umpteen cubic yards of outdoor air. Why on earth are you people carrying on so about tobacco smoke, anyhow? Are you scared of barbeques? A ten pound bag of charcoal produces as much smoke (and harmful chemicals) as 160 packs of cigarettes What about candles on your dinner table or incense in a Catholic church? Smoke is smoke. Other than the nicotine peculiar to tobacco, you get approximately the same collection of over 4,000 chemicals in any product of organic combustion. In 1985 the EPA started a research program to clarify the sources of air pollution and to estimate their future cancer risk. Their research determined that motor vehicles and wood stoves were the major sources of particulate air pollution and associated cancer risk in the urban airsheds studied. (Washington State Department of Ecology 1997). http://breathehealthyair.blogspot.com/2008/05/whats-in-that-wood-smoke.html
joan sullivan April 08, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Wood Smoke vs. Inhaled Tobacco Smoke: Tobacco smoke causes damage in the body for approximately 30 seconds after it is inhaled. Wood smoke, however, continues to be chemically active and cause damage to cells in the body for up to 20 minutes, or 40 times longer. (Rozenberg 2001, Wood Smoke is More damaging than Tobacco Smoke). EPA researchers suggest that the lifetime cancer risk from wood stove emissions may be 12 times greater than the lifetime cancer risk from exposure to an equal amount of cigarette smoke. (Rozenberg 2001, What's in Wood Smoke and Other Emissions). http://breathehealthyair.bogspot.com/2008/05/whats-in-that-wood-smoke.html Here's a whole collection of scientific studies on the health effects of non-tobacco organic combustion products. http://burningissues.org/forum/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=15&sid=9f600ableb5506881c5fa3e106cdcd94 And what about all those diesels rumbling down Mission Gorge Road every day? "Are Diesels More Dangerous than Cigarettes as a Cause of Lung Cancer?" http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/diesel_lung_cancer.html
joan sullivan April 08, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Jennifer: You hate tobacco smoke, but you just LUV the smell of incense? Consider this: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/63679 "Scientists Document Evidence That Incense Causes Lung Damage" " ... Like any cigarette smoke and wood smoke, incense smoke contains particulate matter, gas products, and organic compounds (benzene, toluene, xylenes, aldehydes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) shown to harm human health. Incense burning produces over 4 times more particulate matter than cigarette smoke." Does the American Lung Association demand incense-free apartment buildings? No. Does it demand prohibition of incense sticks in Santee parks? No. Perhaps because the ACS's and the AHA's puny little sister gets more juicy newspaper publicity with their arrogant City Report Card on tobacco smoke. Why do you gullible people obsess about tobacco smoke, when the smoke from an incense stick is 4 times as dense as cigarette smoke; when a backyard barbeque party is equivalent to inhaling secondhand smoke from 160 packs of cigarettes; when the smoke drifting out of the chimney and into your yard from your neighbor's wood fireplace stays in your body 40 times longer than secondhand cigarette smoke; and when it takes 30 smokers lounging on the mall sidewalk to match the automobile exhaust from ONE modern automobile driving through the mall parking lot? http://burningissues.org/car-www/medical_effects/comp-emmis-part-sources.htm It. Just. Is. Not. Logical!
Shannon Vargas April 08, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Joan, My grandfather has lung cancer due to smoking tobacco for many years. He has been through chemo, yet he stills has lung cancer. He has shortened his life by many years. WHY? Because of tobacco! If you want to commit suicide by smoking that is your choice. But I feel, if even one life can be saved then why not? Are you advocating that it is ok for 10% of smokers to die from lung cancer? Wow, that's some real logic there! I can not believe some of the comments above and the unsympathetic souls that are on our planet!
Jeni Reynolds April 09, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Shannon I'm so sorry for you grandfather. And I agree 1% or 90% is too many. Emotions aside, baseball, car exhausted and now BBQs and incense (lol really?!) are not the direct killers that smoking has been proven to be. I think Joan is stretching to make a point, that she still couldn't make after three lengthy posts. I think I have read enough on this subject but have enjoyed the fantastic debate.
Shannon Vargas April 09, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Thank you Jennifer. I have read enough on this subject as well. Joan likes to stretch it doesn't she. I think she is trying to make us chuckle with the incense & BBQ comment. Have a great night. (O:
joan sullivan April 09, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Too many big words, girls? Shannon, Jennifer, I am not proselytizing for tobacco or claiming that direct smoking does not harm the smoker. I am pointing out that the postulate for smoking bans -- that inhaling dilute secondhand smoke injures the non-smoker -- it not true. You say you have a right to breath clean air? Outside of Antarctica, there is no clean air. We breath a soup full of chemicals and bacteria, dust mites, mold spores and pollen. Tobacco smoke makes up only a tiny percentage of that soup. And unless someone with flu sneezes a contribution to your immediate bubble of soup, our bodies handle it quite nicely.
joan sullivan April 09, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Your conviction that secondhand smoke endangers you is the result of a massive 30-year propaganda campaign. The intent of the campaign, and of its exorbitant deceptive exaggerations, is not to protect you from the non-existent danger of secondhand smoke, but to goad you to hound the smoker to quit smoking. (And to forgo tobacco altogether. The stated goal of the zealot California Tobacco Control Program and its allies is not "Smoke-Free California", it is "Tobacco-Free California") Not only have they brainwashed you to believe that lung cancer follows smoking as surely as death follows a teaspoon of cyanide, but they have brainwashed you to believe that the same fate will be yours from a wisp of secondhand smoke. So in terror you cough and flap your hands and attempt to expel the smoker from society, like a leper. Expelled today from offices, restaurants and bars, parks and beaches, and outdoor dining patios. Expelled tomorrow from jobs and schools and housing and health care.
joan sullivan April 09, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Can you get lung cancer from a toilet seat? A heart attack from a hand shake? Google "Third Hand Smoke" and read the results. In recent years Harvard pediatrician Jonathan P. Winickoff and or own SDSU psychology professor George E. Matt, funded by the California Tobacco Control Program, have been publishing "studies" to persuade you that smokers carry particles, like radioactive dust, called "Third Hand Smoke" on their skin and hair and clothing, which they scatter wherever they go and on whatever and whoever they touch. These men have written "studies" which claim that cars that smokers drive and houses smokers rent are forever contaminated with this diseased "Third Hand Smoke". They claim that a smoker nursemaid or school teacher (or grandmother) who touches your child will contaminate him with "Third Hand Smoke". Last year the TRDRP, the research arm of the California Tobacco Control Program, alloted $3.75 million to study the "public health dangers" of Third Hand Smoke. Click on "Thirdhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure" on the first page, then click on "Request for Proposals" on the second page, and read the Request for Proposals. Then read the history of the Jews in 1930's Germany, before the concentration camps. I have. This was the same step by step procedure. They said, "Jews are dirty, they stink, they carry diseases that will infect your family", and the gullible Germans believed them. Just like the gullible Californians.
joan sullivan April 09, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Oops! Omitted the URL to the TRDRP $3.75 million (CA tax money) Request for Proposal. Here tis: http://www.trdrp.org/fundingopps/Call.asp
Scott H. Kidwell April 09, 2011 at 03:30 PM
At least one east county mayor values inherent personal freedom, choice and accountability above a nanny state. Well done Mr. Mayor!
MG April 17, 2011 at 09:03 AM
I ate dinner in a Santee restaurant recently that stank of cigarette smoke. I won't be back--and now that I realize it's because of lax laws to protect the health of nonsmokers, I won't be back. I don't just find cigarette smoke offensive. I'm allergic to it. My eyes tear up and my nose stuffs up if I'm anywhere near smokers. So as long as Santee wants to give polluters the "freedom" to be offensive and hurt others with toxic smoke, I won't be doing any more shopping or dining in Santee.
Brian Thedell April 17, 2011 at 01:58 PM
MG: we get it, you won't be back. Good riddance.
Scott H. Kidwell April 17, 2011 at 02:32 PM
"I feel the same way about flatulence. Ban bean burrito's!"
joan sullivan April 17, 2011 at 04:28 PM
MG is a liar! MG picked up this article from the internet and is writing from a location outside of California. MG did not eat dinner in a Santee restaurant that stank of cigarette smoke, because smoking inside a restaurant has been illegal in California since 1995! Santee, like other California cities, enforces that law. MG has obviously never eaten in ANY California restaurant within the past 16 years. Some of the rabid anti-tobacco organizations, like the ALA and the New York based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, assign patrols to monitor news articles on the internet and to post anti-smoking comments. MG's comment is an example. We don't need to worry about MG's never coming back to Santee, because he/she/it ain't never been here.
Ella Robbins April 18, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Thanks for exposing the trolls, Joan.
sue April 18, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Put your money where your mouth is-I will take 10 friends into my garage, we will chain smoke all night. You take 10 of your friends into the garage and run the car all night. (After all, it is more regulated so you say). Then lets see who walks out in the morning.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 04, 2011 at 08:24 AM
Freedom for smokers and no-freedom for non-smokers. Smokers blowing smoke that is very unhealthy where I have breathe it in if I want to or not is not freedom for me, it is a hostile environment. Pick up your butts too you slobs! The Mayor just does not think correctly on occassion it would seem. I wonder what he has been smoking?
gene May 08, 2011 at 12:07 AM
>>MG is a liar! You're the LIAR!, "Joan." First, you have poor reading comprehension skills. MG's very point was that CA's smoking ban was _not being enforced_ in that Santee restaurant. It makes perfect sense that local enforcement would be lax, considering the whacky emanations your inflated-ego, windbag mayor. Then there's this sheer whopper: >>the ALA and the New York based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, assign patrols to monitor news articles on the internet and to post anti-smoking comments. Wow. That's just pure, plain libel. Do you have anything to back up your assertion? If not--and of course you don't, just as you have nothing real to back up your scientific pronunciamentos--then, in your rabid, pro-smoking propaganda-spewing furor, you've just made a serious--and legal--mistake. It's actionable, Joan, and I'm shocked the Patch has allowed it. Defamatory comments are certainly against the Patch's Terms of Service. Obviously they haven't been burned on this sort of thing yet. But you'd be wise to apologize asap. On the other hand, I _have_ seen such activities from pro-smoking websites.
gene May 08, 2011 at 12:14 AM
That's your evidence-- a blog(!) So who's behind this "Breathe Healthy Air" blog, hm? WHO KNOWS? They blog sez it's "individuals who are your friends, your neighbors, and your relatives." Yeah, sure. But no names, nobody specific. I certainly appreciate all the boilerplate nonsense you copy off screwball websites like "Breathe Healthy." But because you can copy-paste doesn't give you more than your obviously sub-high school education. A notorious pro-smoking propaganda technique is to post links to your pals' websites in order to raise their google rankings and drive business to their "DONATE" links. It's basically advertising, and that's against the Patch's Terms of Service; it's because of just this kind of abuse that many sites have banned links altogether.
Brian Thedell May 08, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Legally actionable my red rosy ass—people conjecture about others' motivations on the Internet all the time. Considering the fact that YOU, "Gene," only post in smoking-related articles, it makes me wonder about where YOU are coming from... Sock puppet, maybe? Also, let's review this reading comprehension you so ironically chide others over: "...it's because of lax laws to protect the health of nonsmokers.." doesn't say anything about enforcement of the California law, does it? No, "lax laws" ... clearly spoken like someone who is basically unfamiliar with life and smoking laws in California. Are you a smoker, Gene? A self-hating one, maybe? Because I hear smoking raises your blood pressure, and I worry about yours, Gene...
joan sullivan May 09, 2011 at 11:34 AM
Gene: What on earth are you blithering about? Breath Healthy Air is an anti-air pollution website. I linked to it from Burning Issues.org, a prominent anti-air pollution website, with many well-researched articles. Although their emphasis is on fighting air pollution from wood burning fireplaces and furnaces, they are most emphatically NOT a pro-tobacco smoking website. Are you FOR air pollution, or something? Or are you a pimpled adolescent with a goatee, who romps around the internet looking for somebody, anybody, you can say something nasty about?
joan sullivan May 09, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Thank you, Brian. Santee Patch definitely is being invaded by furriners. Gene's other Patch comments are for Patch in Campbell, CA, way up by San Francisco, and in Birmingham, MICHIGAN! Read the comment columns in Campbell and Birmingham to see what he does. That smarmy writing style, libel threats and all, is typical of him. Gene is one of the anti-tobacco organization national internet patrolling trolls I spoke of. I think he is Gene Borio, of Tobacco.org, but I'm not going to investigate further because this is a dead thread, for Goodness' sake, from Santee's last month's newspaper.
John Howard January 20, 2014 at 02:58 PM
I think it is important to have healthy clean air. I know when I go skiing it is nice to get up in the mountains where there is healthy clean air. I've really enjoyed that. http://www.vacuman.com

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