The Mayor of Santee proudly accepted the city's F grade for tobacco control policies at the city council meeting Wednesday night, proclaiming it an "F for Freedom." He even wore his cigar tie and all black for the occasion.
"If you want to smoke, that's your business. I proudly as mayor accept the F grade for freedom," said Mayor Randy Voepel.
"I dressed in black tonight because obviously I'm one of the purveyors of death… and I wore my cigar tie," he said.
Santee received the lowest score in the county Wednesday in the American Lung Association's 2014 report on tobacco control policies (F's in all three categories), again, because it's the only city that still allows smoking at public parks.
He emphasized that Santee's not alone in being graded an F. Most cities in San Diego County received poor grades, and 60 percent received an F grade.
Voepel said he wasn't speaking for the city or the rest of the council.
Ironically, the comments about the failing tobacco control grade came just after a proclamation naming January as Santee Health Awareness Month. That presentation reported that Santee leads East County with greater incidences of two health issues known to be related to smoking, Coronary Heart Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The report gained notoriety in Santee when in 2011 Mayor Randy Veopel wrote a op-ed defending the low grade as a sign of freedom in the city (Santee Mayor Explains City's 'F for Freedom' Tobacco Grade). This was followed by a grassroots effort to ban smoking in Santee parks that has since died down.
COMMENT: What do you think about Santee's F for freedom and the Mayor's comments?