DOWNEY – With about a dozen youth from the Kiwanis Green Team in attendance, the City Council on Tuesday gave final approval of an ordinance that almost completely bans smoking in parks and city events.
The members of the Green Team — along with about 50 other youths — pushed hard for the law despite resistance from Councilman Mario Guerra. Councilman David Gafin also initially opposed the law but then changed his mind.
The bill was proposed by Councilman Fernando Vasquez and was also backed by Mayor Luis Marquez. Councilman Roger Brossmer, an administrator at the Downey Unified School District, didn’t seem to philosophically agree with the ban, but he said he supported the community’s youth and agreed that smoking was an issue in the city. The initial law passed 4-1 Nov. 8, with Guerra voting against it.
Guerra remained steadfastly against the ban since it was first proposed in August. He continued to oppose it on Tuesday, saying it cost about $15,000 in staff time. He argued all along that no studies show that outdoor smoking has ever caused harm to children. He also said smoking is already banned near playgrounds, but that people smoke near playgrounds anyway.
Proponents argued that any dose of smoke is bad for children and that children had a right to play in clean, smoke-free places. They pointed out that other cities had already enacted similar bans.
The staff came back with a proposed law that allows police and park staff to warn smokers. The most severe fine could cost the smoker up to $300 in court and administrative fees, according to a staff report. Another type of fine would cost $100.
Smoking will still be allowed in designated smoking areas.
Here are all the stories about smoking in the order they took place.