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on May 27, 2013
SMOKED OUT ... Palo Alto took a giant swing at tobacco earlier this month when the City Council swiftly approved a smoking ban for all city parks, large and small. In doing so, the council went far beyond an earlier recommendation from its Policy and Services Committee to ban smoking at just small parks — a recommendation that itself went far beyond an earlier staff recommendation to ban smoking at parks in downtown and near California Avenue. But now that smoking is illegal at every park, the city is considering whether some of its largest nature preserves should include designated smoking areas. That was the proposal by Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd, who is hoping to prevent a situation in which smokers are forced to get into their cars and drive out of parks for a nicotine fix. The Parks and Recreation Commission is scheduled to consider the designated areas on Tuesday night, but staff from the Community Services Department has already come out against establishing the smoking havens. The concern, according to a staff report, is that a "designated smoking area" would be "contrary to the ideal of promoting healthy behaviors" and create challenges in enforcing. Fire danger is another issue. Because one of the intents of the ban is to reduce fire risk and cigarette litter in open-space areas, staff is recommending against smoking areas.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 24, 2013, 12:00 AM