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Community Digest

Huntington Park : Merchants to Help Draft No-Smoking Ordinance

September 16, 1993

Local merchants will work with city officials to draft an ordinance to restrict smoking in public workplaces, according to a plan approved by the City Council.

Mayor Ric Loya, Councilman William P. Cunningham, City Atty. Steven N. Skolnik, members of the Chamber of Commerce and other representatives from the business community will form a committee to write the ordinance for council consideration. "It's not our intent to come up with hard-core legislation (that would not allow) smoking anywhere," Loya said. A smoking ban should not be so tough that it requires "police to pull out a gun and shoot out a cigarette," he said.

The council voted 4 to 1 to create the advisory committee. Councilman Thomas E. Jackson opposed the plan, saying that the city should not lead the way in legislating smokers' rights.

The Huntington Park Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue, said Dante D'Eramo, the chamber's executive manager. D'Eramo, a nonsmoker, said he would personally support some restrictions. "If they need to smoke they can always step outside and smoke out there," he said. "I don't think it's too much to ask people to keep other's health in mind and refrain from smoking in a restaurant."

In a recent survey of 95 restaurants in Bell, Bell Gardens and Huntington Park, 30% of the managers interviewed said a smoking ban would hurt their business. The survey, conducted by Huntington Park High School volunteers for the American Lung Assn., showed that 55% of the restaurant owners would support a city smoking ban or impose a ban voluntarily. About 49% of the establishments had nonsmoking areas.

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