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CITY HALL ROUNDUP

November 17, 1994|MARY MOORE and SUSAN STEINBERG

CULVER CITY: The Culver City Council agreed Monday to continue taking part in the South Bay Joint Powers Consortium, a group of mayors from more than half a dozen cities who have been discussing ways to lower their electric rates. The mayors voted last month to obtain the consent of their respective city councils before continuing their negotiations with Southern California Edison. Consortium members are demanding a 25% residential rate reduction from Edison. The group is also considering whether its member cities should attempt to join forces and purchase power collectively.

SANTA MONICA: The Santa Monica City Council delayed voting on a controversial anti-smoking ordinance Tuesday after hearing dozens of restaurateurs oppose what would be the most restrictive smoking ban in the Los Angeles area.

The proposed ban, held over until next Tuesday's council meeting, would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars.

Opponents of the smoking ban filled the council chambers Tuesday. The majority of them were business owners and employees who argued they would lose customers to nearby cities that do not prohibit lighting up in bars.

"It seems to come down to common sense. If bars outside of Santa Monica let people smoke, smokers will go there," said Owen Hicks, bartender at the Bob Burns restaurant.

Only a handful of supporters spoke at the meeting. Former waitress Pamela Rowan said she contracted pulmonary lung disease from secondhand smoke while working in a restaurant that she said was "like working in an ashtray."

"Why should I have to quit my job?" she asked. "Don't I have the right to a safe and healthy work environment?"

Currently, Santa Monica bans smoking in restaurants but allows smoking in bar and bar areas in restaurants. The city's current law, passed last year, is similar to those of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

The City Council had initially discussed adopting the tough smoking ban in October but decided to wait until after voters determined the fate of Proposition 188 in the Nov. 8 election.

Proposition 188, backed by the Philip Morris tobacco company, would have repealed all local smoking laws, setting a statewide standard that would have permitted smoking in bars and restaurants. Its defeat clears the way for another law, Assembly Bill 13, to take effect in January.

AB 13, by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Brentwood) and signed by Gov. Pete Wilson, bans smoking in all California restaurants, but allows lighting up in bars and bar areas of restaurants.

"That's what we would prefer, to be on a level playing field with all the other cities," said Herb Astrow, owner of Yankee Doodles pool hall.

Jay Fiondella, owner of Chez Jay, said he knows he has lost patrons in his restaurant since the city began requiring dining areas to be 100% smoke-free. As for the proposed smoking ban in bars, Fiondella said: "Santa Monica is known as many things, but I'd hate it to be known as the city of smoke-busters."

In other action, the council indefinitely extended a juvenile curfew that requires youths under age 18 to be off the streets by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The ordinance, passed in July of last year and set to expire on Dec. 31, allows police to prevent teen-agers from loitering in public places.

Loitering is defined as "lingering about for the purpose of committing a crime as the opportunity may present itself." The curfew does not affect minors coming home from work, running errands for their parents or attending movies, according to the city attorney's office.

Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts requested that the curfew remain in effect because juveniles continue to congregate at the Third Street Promenade, the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park, said Police Lt. Bill Brucker.

Since it was enacted, the curfew has resulted in 47 citations. The youths are not arrested, police said, but are taken to the police station and released to their parents.

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