Public smoking may be further restricted

DOWNEY - A proposal by Councilman Fernando Vasquez to consider further prohibitions on public smoking was temporarily delayed because the councilman was absent at Tuesday's City Council meeting.It's unclear how much more stringent Vasquez is seeking to make local anti-smoking laws, or how it would affect the two hookah lounges already in operation. In 1989, the City Council adopted an ordinance that prohibited smoking in places accessible to the general public, "including but not limited to elevators, public restrooms, movie theaters, etc." Downey businesses are also required to provide smoke-free areas for non-smokers "to the maximum extent possible." Brian Saeki, the city's director of community development, said he is awaiting direction from council members "related to how stringent they would like the [new] ordinance to be." The proposal was on Tuesday's City Council agenda but was postponed due to Vasquez's absence. Councilman Mario Guerra briefly expressed his opposition before the hearing was closed by the mayor, who opted to delay discussion until Vasquez was present. -Eric Pierce, city editor

********** Published: August 11, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 17