Seattle is, again, looking at banning smoking in public parks. And opponents of the proposal are, again, reminding that such a ban is likely to be used as yet another way to harass homeless people without providing solutions for those living outside.
“The proposed new rule would prohibit smoking in all public parks in the city of Seattle,” a statement on the possible ban reads. “This ban would extend the original smoking prohibitions put in place in 2010, which banned ‘smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use…within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.'”
What’s the proposed penalty for lighting up in Cal Anderson? “Breaking the rule against smoking would result in a warning, followed by a possible park exclusion for repeated violations,” the parks department statement says. “The rule would not become part of the Seattle Municipal Code.”
A public hearing on the proposal is planned next month:
The Board of Park Commissioners will host a special public hearing on Thursday, April 16, to take comments on a proposed parks-wide smoking ban. The Board of Park Commissioners public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Kenneth R. Bounds Board Room at Seattle Parks and Recreation Headquarters, 100 Dexter Ave. N.
The ban — which sounds like a good idea but really isn’t — is supported by Mayor Ed Murray:
Residents of and visitors to our beautiful city deserve to fully enjoy every amenity our parks have to offer, including fresh air and a clean, sustainable environment. We know the dangers of secondhand smoke, particularly for those with asthma and allergies, and we know that cigarette litter is abundant and harmful to our environment, especially for the wildlife that inhabit it. Waste from cigarettes leach arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins into our soil and water streams and damage ecosystems. This ban just makes sense for our community. It is the right thing to do for Seattle.
City Council member and parks committee chair Jean Godden supports the ban — but only if it is fairly enforced. “To ensure equitable enforcement, I’ll be reaching out to the Park Board to request that an evaluation be tied to the new rule,” she said in a statement.
So much for our plan for solving the renter’s pot paradox.