The Seattle Parks smoking ban is shitty but obviously it passed anyway
Just in time for summer joy-killing, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners passed a ban on smoking in public parks, despite some very righteous and extremely visible resistance. It doesn’t go past the City Council or anything; pending approval by the Parks Superintendent, the ban goes into effect July 1.
While early versions of the ban carried a $27 fine and possible arrest for multiple violations, pressure from the ACLU, the NAACP and Real Change slowly softened the ban, which, guess what, would likely disproportionately effect homeless folks, who don’t have a whole lot of other places to go. The version passed by the board gives warnings for violations, and a possible ban from parks grounds. Regardless, the ban is pretty pointless, since you’re not allowed to smoke within 25 feet of other parkgoers anyway, which was the compromise we hit the last time we talked about banning smoking in parks, because it was a bad idea then too and it is stil a bad idea.
Despite the alterations, it’s still more extreme than it probably should be, in that it exists at all, and it’s certainly more extreme than even council member Sally Bagshaw wants it to be. After PubliCola’s Josh Feit tried to reach her for a quote in favor of the smoking ban yesterday, the one remaining Council Sally was like, actually…
I am in favor of having an area in our downtown parks equipped with tables, chairs, ashtrays where people CAN smoke. The remainder of the park can be smoke free. Frankly, my position evolved after talking with [Real Change’s] Tim Harris. I’m a total nonsmoker, but recognize some people DO choose to smoke and this could be a compromise that works for most of us.
Real Change did so much good here, but looks it wasn’t enough to stop the ban – which is a terrible, smug idea even without fines and arrests, but ~*~Precious Angels~*~ are gonna precious angel. But hey, maybe all this work folks have been putting in in the name of treating people like decent human beings will make a couple of people think twice before going all NIMBY (NIMP?) on a few goddamn cigarettes.
And uh, mayyybe the Superintendent will toss that proposal out? I mean it seems extraordinarily unlikely since the proposal is totally Ed Murray’s baby and Superintendent Jesus Aguirre is totally Murray’s dude appointed just in time to pass Murray’s baby, but anything is possible! Right?!