Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18th, 2014 BY: Marc Marin, Arizona Silver Belt
Miami — At its meeting on June 9, the Miami Town Council voted 4-2 to make Miami Veterans Memorial Park a smoke-free area. Michael Black, Don Reiman, Robert Baeza and Darryl Dalley all voted for the measure, while mayor Rosemary Castaneda and vice mayor Susan Hanson voted against it.
Outlawing smoking at the park has been a year-long project of the Miami High School’s Anti-Tobacco Club. Before the council discussed the matter, Vanessa O’Connor, president of the Anti-Tobacco Club, read a prepared statement. The club had made several prior presentations to the council, but the matter had been tabled each time.
“We surveyed more than 300 community people asking their opinion of a ‘smoke-free’ park and received 85-percent support,” O’Connor said in part. “We provided a model ordinance that could be used by the council when adopting their ordinance.
“We even ofered to help with the cost of signage. These dedicated youth all graduated from Miami High School in May. We deserve to have the council take action on our request before we leave for college.”
At first, the prospects of the council voting to make the park smoke-free appeared dim.
“The park should be for everyone and their needs” Hanson said. “However, I’d be in support of outlawing smoking in the kids’ and snack bar areas.” Reiman remarked that he didn’t see anything that the council could take action on. “There’s not a real case here that there’s imminent danger from outdoor smoking.” Reiman said.
Dalley brought up the enforcement issue, saying that speeding is illegal even though the Miami police can’t possibly ticket everyone who speeds. “I support the students’ work,” Dalley said.
Black and Baeza both lent their full support to the students’ cause.
“The students have worked hard and diligently, thus far to no avail,” Black said.
Castaneda had similar feelings as Hanson, as she said she would support smoke-free zones in the kids’ and snack bar areas. “To me, it’s a matter of freedom,” Castaneda said.
Hanson then made a motion to direct the town attorney to write an ordinance otlawing smoking in the snack bar and children’st areas. Casteneda seconded the motion, and that’s when Anti-Tobacco Club adviser John Yanez spoke up.
“Having only certain areas smoke-free is impractical,” Yanez said, “How do you determine the boundaries? Either the park is smoke-free or it’s not.”
Town manager Jerry Barnes, who identified himself as a former smoker, supported Yanez’s statement, saying that the park either needs to be entirely smoke-free or not.
“People can walk across the street and smoke if they need to,” Barnes said.
The council then voted down Hanson’s original motion, before voting to make the entirety of Veterans Memorial Park smoke-free. Details such as enforcement, when the ordinance would take effect, etc., were not decided upon but will presumably be discussed at a future meeting.
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