am Susan Hartley, a candidate for a 2-year council seat. I talked
with members of your group at City Hall over the past two years
in support of your work against smoking in apartments. I am a third
stage breast cancer survivor. I literally grew up over my father's
ashtray. I have lost many of my family members to cancer and other
diseases associated with secondhand smoke. I abhor cigarette smoke.
As an employee/tenant lawyer, I am familiar with the laws prohibiting
smoking in the workplace. These laws exist because of the proven
adverse health effects of secondhand smoke. These same laws should
exist for people's dwelling places. People should not have to suffer
from the secondhand smoke of their smoking neighbors. I commend
your group for your important work on this health issue.
Absolutely. I've recommended that through attrition
every apartment building in Santa Monica become a non-smoking
apartment building. As smoking tenants move out, their units should
become non-smoking units. Once all the units in the building are
non-smoking, the entire building should be registered as a non-smoking
building and remain that way.
Absolutely. It would be dreadful to move into an
apartment and discover that your unit is affected by secondhand
smoke. I could not stay in that environment. I become nauseous
when I am around cigarette smoke, people who have smoked, and
even files and papers handled by somebody who smokes.
Yes. The City was trying to avoid getting involved
when they passed resolution of these disputes to Small Claims
Court. It is expensive filing in Small Claims Court and there
is no guarantee that the adjudicators in Small Claims Court would
be sympathetic or even fair with this issue. My experience has
been that their personal biases would come into play and they
would not want to get involved. I've noticed a hesitancy by the
Santa Monica courthouse to take action on tenant harassment matters
and imagine the same would be true about these smoking matters.
An ordinance establishing a city registry
of non-smoking buildings and non-smoking units accessible online
to potential renters. Incentives for apartment owners to declare
units non-smoking units through attrition, i.e., as smokers move
out their units are converted to non-smoking units, with protection
for smokers from being harassed into moving out. Also, requirements
that apartment owners take corrective action to eliminate the
flow of secondhand smoke into non-smokers' units. Transference
of the jurisdiction of enforcement of the current smoking regulations
to the Rent Control Board and Code Enforcement. I would also welcome
suggestions from your group for council action in this area, including
your research on what other cities have done.