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Mayor is Proud of 'F for Smoking Freedom', Wears Cigar Tie and All Black

Santee receives the lowest score in the county in the American Lung Association's 2014 report on tobacco control policies, and the mayor loves it.

Mayor Randy Voepel proudly wears a cigar tie and all black in honor of "F for smoking freedom."
Mayor Randy Voepel proudly wears a cigar tie and all black in honor of "F for smoking freedom."

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?

Simon's carpet care January 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM
I think the laws in Santee are ok, as smoking is every one's right as of now you can not smoke in front of buildings--school grounds and I have never had anyone smoke in front of me in Public other than someone home and I am ok with that--and I don't think smoking in the open Parks is a problem either.
Art By Lisabelle January 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM
50 Million of Americans appreciate some positive representation. Civil Liberties are not worth fighting for? Many Americans disagree!
Michael Coleman January 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM
This is the worst example of "public service" I ever have seen. I don't care how much poison this man wants to pu in his lungs, but when he is proud to force the people arond him to share in his polution, he has gone too far. I will be sure to contribute the maximum allowed to his opponent next election!
chase whittaker January 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM
That's disgusting. People absolutely have the right to slowly kill themselves by ingesting 4,000+ KNOWN CARCINOGENS, they have the right to force huge hospital bills, and painful, early goodbyes on their families, they have the right to ignore the surgeon general and science but they DO NOT have the right to force all of those on ME, MY family, or MY friends. As a citizen of Santee, I deserve the right to be able to drive with my windows down without choking on the noxious fumes coming off someone's cigarette; I should be able to walk to the park without having to hold my breath. Get a clue, mayor. Everyone knows that the only thing smoking causes is death. Why act so proud that your citizens breath it in? You're killing off your voters.
Paula Sutera January 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Amen to "F for Freedom". We are slowly losing our freedoms, one law at a time. I feel we should all have the right to chose our own behavior, as long as it does not hurt other people. GG,Santee
chris sorochin January 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Get this guy to run for President in 2016!!
Kellie Hopstein January 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Mayor you do deserve that F, but I promise you it does NOT stand for freedom. As I sit here this week planning a trip to sit next to my father who has stage 4 lung cancer, on hospice and has been given 2 weeks to live. He was a smoker for the majority of his life, only giving up the habit when my mother, RIP 2009 of tobacco use related complications, made him promise to quit smoking so their kids didn't have to watch another parent die in such a way. You are right people do have the right to choose to smoke or not but I also have a choice NOT to smoke and NOT to inhale your smoke. I teach my kids about freedom of choice, but its freedom of GOOD decisions not poor ones like smoking.
Dennis M Kleinsmith January 24, 2014 at 01:19 PM
I'm with you Mayor! Now, let's get rid of the acid heads in our city!
Gretchen Burger January 24, 2014 at 03:42 PM
Seems the mayor of Santee is having no problem with the smoking issue in your city and forcing those of us who don't smoke to breathe it is as well... Then you won't mind us coughing in your face as we come in contact with you. For thought..How many "smoke shops" are now in Santee? Because we have one on almost every block in Lakeside now... disgusting.
chase whittaker January 24, 2014 at 04:14 PM
To everyone saying that this is somehow a 'freedom' that we can't tamper with on a moral ground: Please explain to me how it makes sense to decry the restriction of smoking (a practice proven to cause cancer and several other deadly conditions) but it makes perfect, logical sense to want to 'clean up the acid heads' and complain about the meth-heads. Both involve people causing harm to themselves, both have a negative impact on the community. Only one, though, can cause serious HEALTH damge to everyone around them.
Jake Mahamood January 24, 2014 at 09:49 PM
If you don't like freedom of choice I can name a few countries that will more than happy to tell you exactly how to live your life. Cherish American freedom, it did not come cheap but is slipping away before our eyes.
Jim Kenihan January 24, 2014 at 10:14 PM
@chase whittaker Liberals cause severe stress and high blood pressure to freedom loving people...can we ban them? While driving your car with the windows down perhapse you could contemplate selling your car and walking everywhere you go (automobiles emit huge amounts of carcinogens every year).
Ken Boozer January 24, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Mr. Kenihan, it really has nothing to do with whether you're liberal or conservative; we ALL deserve a chance to breathe clean air. Kids who use the parks, and are not even allowed to smoke, shouldn't have to breathe secondhand smoke. Dressing in black is appropriate, Mr. Mayor, but you might as well replace that "cigar tie" with a "coffin tie".
Jim Kenihan January 24, 2014 at 10:44 PM
"It's for the kids" has long been the mantra of those who wish to take away someone else's freedom. If it was REALLY about the kids, we wouldn't have bath tubs in homes anymore, or allow kids to drive until they are 18, or even ALLOW children in a moving vehicle until they are 18. Face it, there are those who just HATE smokers...I get it. But that hate gives NOBODY the right to tell someone else how to live there life.
chase whittaker January 24, 2014 at 10:58 PM
@Jim Kenihan, My argument wasn't about Liberal or Conservative. It was logic and FREEDOM based. The logic part is pretty simple: if you are against people consuming drugs like methamphetamine on the grounds that it hurts them and is a hazard to the community, then you must be against smoking because it does the same thing (just less suddenly). The freedom part is an idea that it seems like a lot of traditional conservatives struggle to understand: the concept of being free FROM something. Every human being in the United States has the right to smoke a cigarette and is perfectly capable of polluting their own lungs. The problem with smoking in PUBLIC is that it not only pollutes your lungs, but my lungs, and everyone around you's lungs. By not prohibiting it, you're catering to the desires of a minority population and robbing the majority of their right to clean air (to put it in relatable terms given your obvious inclination toward republicanism). Its prohibition grants freedom (and health) to the majority whereas its permission grants freedom to the minority.
Tom Vyse January 24, 2014 at 11:46 PM
My hat is off to Mayor Voepel. There are so many people who have either willfully forgotten the past or who think, "It can't happen here." Those who are forever calling for restrictions through governments on Other people's activities (they never call for restrictions on their own) provide willing fodder and foot-soldiers for oppression. Oppression always seems to come hidden in the sheep's clothing of "the good of the masses." Once this reflex is established, inducing a crisis environment is all that is needed for powerful governmental controls. A lot of people see no problem with this at all, sadly.
Jim Kenihan January 24, 2014 at 11:56 PM
Chase, forget about the liberal vs. conservative portion of my comment, it was an inartful example. My other point however is quite legitimate...give up your car and I'll give up smoking. It's the hypocrisy I hate most. You try to make the case WE'RE being hypocritical (a truly dizzying argument I might add), but in point of fact, you're position is the most hypocritical. Of your argument I can only say IF "meth" was legal, I'd be all for people's right to enjoy it at their leisure. No disrespect meant to you or anyone else who hates smokers...as I said, I get it.
steve January 25, 2014 at 09:25 AM
I am a non smoker, but recognize that this topic is about "Control" of the individual. Next step is to outlaw the Bar b que.
Kleb Soule January 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM
My Mother is a smoker and I detest the odors related, as a child my mother would smoke in the car and tell me tough $hit. Smokers in general are some of the most selfish and inconsiderate people you are forced to tolerate. The major needs to clean up his rating, the parks, and stand for the kids that don't need to smell cigarettes in their parks, because Mr. Mayor..... the PARKS ARE FOR KIDS -NOT SMOKERS -TWEEKERS -RECYCLERS - USERS AND ABUSERS
Simon's carpet care January 25, 2014 at 11:11 AM
You can walk thru any Park--and I would say you will not smell smoke while your there. its not like every other person is smoking. And the parks are not just for kids-there for everyone who want to relax-take a walk--or what ever--Just go there and see how much smoke you smell--Its not the 60's when 50% of people smoke.
James Jones January 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Those of you wringing your hands and crying about "the children" are hypocrites and opportunists who only want to make yourselves feel like you are morally superior to folks who choose to smoke because they are an easy target. If you are worried about "poison" in the air, then stop driving, ride a bike or buy an electric vehicle. With the current regulations, the extremely rare cases these days, when you actually are subjected to smelling a cigarette are mere momentary annoyances. Get over yourselves.
Scott Ewing January 25, 2014 at 04:48 PM
No intelligent person believes this secondhand smoke nonsense anymore. That only leaves shills and the incredibly gullible. http://members.iinet.com.au/~ray/TSSOASb.html
Uma Kirk January 30, 2014 at 09:00 PM
I applaud you, Mayor Voepel! Will you please run for president! The SHS lies were just that, lies. Judge Osteen(sp) null & voided the cherry picked nonsense back in 1998. It was total bunk, invented to make big Pharma and attorney generals richer. For the history of anti-smoking, read the Godber letters, online at Rampant-anti smoking dot com. The antis went nuts trying to prove smoking harmful, because all they could find was the opposite! Enter the spin doctors, also called Precaustionary Science, back in Hitlers day. Anyway, the letters cover not only the history, but the agenda clear up to the present day. Propaganda, brainwashing, campaigns, insults, ... All of it described in detail.
Uma Kirk January 30, 2014 at 09:02 PM
Oops, that should read "Precautionary Science".
john davidson April 04, 2014 at 09:15 AM
The precautionary principle itself is a catch 22 argument. It entails giving no proof the same standing as actually having positive proof. In essence it makes a negative a positive which we all know you can never prove a negative. By using this principle we might as well all just kill ourselves as chance living with possible threats that might harm us. Its actually created to let the nazis claim whatever they want and get away with it! Its use must be destroyed as its led to total destruction of the scientific process trying to create proof where none exists to begin with,hense the mountain of evidence we hear the nazis preach all over the place without actually being held to any proof at all! The principle itself cannot stand, it means an end to all we hold dear TRUTH. Without truth we have no meaning,we have no future,we have no life,no culture. We have only created hazzards that never existed,a culture defeated by fanaticism and led by radical nut cases passing laws based upon NOTHING! It gives basis to outlawing anything based upon nothing,it lowers the standard of proof in court to that of hearsay evidence to now convict! How did it happen,quite simply ENVIROMENTALISM! Precaution as Customary Law The question whether the precautionary principle is a principle of customary international law has received a great deal of attention, particularly since the principle’s inclusion in the Rio Declaration. http://www.ejil.org/pdfs/17/2/82.pdf Rio Declaration on Environment and Development The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=78&articleid=1163 Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992, Yes indeed the precautionary principle is an intregal part of GLOBA GOVERNANCE and well taking over the world! The UN must be destroyed..........If it lives we all die.
john davidson April 04, 2014 at 09:15 AM
My argument has always been the level of so called proof required to prove disease outcomes where no proof actually exists. The Kessler rulings are based upon NO-PROOF. From the EPA study and Judge Osteens Verdict here: The EPA fought to have Osteen's decision overturned on technical grounds, ignoring the multitude of facts in the decision. They succeeded in 2002 on the narrowest of technicalities. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled that because the report was not an official policy document Osteen's court did not have jurisdiction. In their appeal the EPA did not answer a single criticism in the 92 page report, nor challenge a single fact put forth by Judge Osteen. Not one. Then we go back to the Doll Hospital study there again no proof given,except to find Sir Richard Doll was using the exact same epidemiological criteria as what the Nazi anti-tobacco researchers used. We then see the introduction of the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE from the RIO environmental summit in 1992 where it became observed law on an international Basis. The principle has become the '' DO NO HARM PRINCIPLE''. It gives no proof the same standing as having actual proof where no proof but a simple claim of harm is now all you need to pass a criminal law or convict! It seems Judge Kessler is a wide believer in the principle yet in her BIO she was a member of the scientific evidence review board for federal guidelines on acceptable research to the courts........... In that guideline Book it clearly states OSHA is the acceptable source on levels of harm! Carmonas '' No safe Level '' Claim is literally not acceptable as evidence to anyone. Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition nap.edu This sorta says it all These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one. So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ''SAFE LEVELS'' So when we state Junk Science that's exactly what it means junk science with out ever producing proof of harm to anyone at any level of actual proof! JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS" 7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18 November 2004. http://cot.food.gov.uk/pdfs/cotstatementtobacco0409 "5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease." In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does. The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.
Laura Garth April 04, 2014 at 08:02 PM
Looks like Santee might be a nice place to visit. Of course, I'll expect a few scolding looks from the sight of my cigar. I understand that merely looking at someone else enjoying themselves can cause a coronary event, therefore, I will try to maintain an appropriately grave expression.
Uma Kirk April 11, 2014 at 03:12 AM
I'm the opposite from Kleb above. I absolutely loved my beautiful Mother and I would do anything to smell her smoke just one more time. She died from stressing out while quitting smoking.
Uma Kirk April 11, 2014 at 03:25 AM
The posters here really opened my eyes. It really is a war between love and hate. When hate rules the world, it crumbles. It's been crumbling terribly ever since the hate bans began. Love conquers all though, and through the light of liberty we will one day again be free from the bondages of hate. <3 <3 <3 love, tolerance, peace will one day rule again. Got a light?
Uma Kirk April 11, 2014 at 03:26 AM
Hate bans should read hateful bans.

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