Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Smoking ban rejected

"I choose free will." - Mayor Pro Tem Sam Pedroza, quoting a song from Rush.

The proposed outdoor ban on smoking in Claremont was not passed on Tuesday night. The city council voted 4 to 1 against the prohibition measure, citing potential negative impacts on businesses and a lack of evidence that second-hand smoke in outdoor settings is any sort of health risk.

Nearly 20 speakers addresses the council on the issue during the meeting, most of whom were opposed to the ban. One speaker, Ed Tessier, mocked the idea, saying the council should next ban strong smelling perfumes, the Metrolink because it causes pollution and crying babies.

Only Councilmember Larry Schroeder supported the proposal, saying that "the public good often trumps the personal choice."

Both Councilmember Peter Yao and Mayor Pro Tem Sam Pedroza questioned why the item was even on the council's agenda. Back in 2008, the council already discussed banning smoking in the public plaza and decided against it at that time.

They criticized the Community Services Commission for wasting the time of an already understaffed city staff with an item that was clearly not a priority for the city council.


  1. Respect to the City Council for its decision to support free will in regard to the proposed smoking ban. Many thanks for believing in the willingness of our smoking community members to do right by the non-smokers (and especially children) without the imposition of a new law.

  2. Smokers doing the right thing. Like maybe quit? Yeah, that'll happen. And Pedroza..."I choose free will."...what does that even mean? Did he think this was a discussion about determinism? Or did he just not want to say what he must have meant: 'free choice'...because that opens a can of contradictions.

  3. To explain the Pedroza "I choose free will" statement, he was saying businesses have the ability to ban smoking if they feel it is in their best interests. Non-smokers have the choice to spend their money at restaurants with smoking patios or not. People have the choice to ask smokers to move or to move to other places to in a public area if smoking bothers them. I believe that's what he meant by the statement.

  4. Will is an odd choice of words nonetheless, perhaps more grandiose than the subject warrants. Matters of will concern the extent of control the mind has over its own actions. Free will is the subject of philosophers and neurobiologists. Free choice on the other hand fits the catalog as described above with much more precision and accuracy. One expects a politician to be adept at communication.