Freedom of Choice -- Our Inalienable Right……..Until it’s not!!!
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Freedom of Choice -- Our Inalienable Right……..Until it’s not!!!

Monday night the City Council held a study session to explore the idea of banning smoking in parts of Foster City. It is not defined as a "right" for us as citizens of these United States.

We advertised this to some but apparently didn't get the letters out until just last week. However, probably 125 folks showed up. Businesses were not adequately (or ideally) noticed so they could participate in this discussion. The first speaker was a young man of 15 who spoke so eloquently about the health issues smoking causes, he set the pace for the evening. He stated that the affect of smoke, not only second and third hand, but visually seeing folks smoke is very detrimental to all children. Many speakers spoke passionately and reasonably and I appreciated all of the input.

There were no speakers that actually advocated smoking although some thought the resolution that is in place now which asks for voluntary compliance from those smoking in all of our public parks, outdoor activities, art and wine festival, concerts in the parks, etc. might be enough. However a resolution is not punishable by law. We really haven't had anyone causing a fuss over being asked to extinguish their cigarettes. If this was passed into an ordinance we would be asking our police officers to now respond to incidents.

We have a highly educated community. They are educated and respectful. Educated about the health issues smoking causes and respectful (for the most part) when they encounter those that do smoke.

The concern I have is with all the development planned for our community we must have a guideline for future inhabitants of our city. We must consider that Foster City is built out and all redevelopment will have taller buildings which means higher density. Our world needs to be clean and sustainable. The question is: should we ban smoking in all public places (parks, city owned venues), outdoor restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, homeowners associations (their spokesman is looking into what their rules now state), private residents, apartments, private buildings where employees congregate outside the front or back doors, etc.?

We need to first define smoking……..currently it states cigarettes, cigars, combustible items, pipes, etc. When we have this definition we can make educated decisions.

The great part of being on the city council is that we have a forum for folks to express themselves, me included!! My true hope is that we can find a compromise between all those affected by this potential ban. The letters and emails will be going out well before our next study session so if you are interested in stepping up to the podium and giving your opinion, please visit the City's website, www.fostercity.org and register on the listserv to get notices of upcoming meetings on this topic so we can keep you informed.

What impact will this issue have on your dwelling, you and your family? Please email me if you have a comment at pfrisella@fostercity.org. Being informed is your obligation to yourself and your city so we can all work together to continue to make Foster City the jewel of the peninsula.

Council Corner

September 18, 2013
Freedom of Choice -- Our Inalienable Right...Until it's not!!
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