City Councilwoman Karla Brown wants to ban smoking in downtown Pleasanton and in all multi-family apartment and condominium complexes.
She asked the city staff to work with the Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA) to determine where and how extensive a smoking ban could be imposed downtown.
She acknowledged that such a ban would require support from downtown businesses. Apartment house owners as well as condominium owners would need to be consulted before any ban could take effect.
Brown's proposal follows a smoking ban the council imposed last June for all city parks and park parking lots. However, the council excluded the Callippe Preserve golf course from the ban although the course's clubhouse already prohibits smoking inside the building or on its outdoors patio.
The parks ban was first proposed by the city's Youth Commission, which said its studies showed that secondhand smoke posed a threat to others in the parks.
With its smoking ban, Pleasanton joined the cities of Danville, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon in banning smoking in all public parks.
Mayor Jerry Thorne indicated he might support a smoking ban on downtown streets, but balked at imposing a ban on apartments, condominiums and other private property.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said he will take up the issue with the PDA and report their findings back to the council. He said there could be a number of options, such as imposing a complete smoking ban in the downtown or for only during specific, more crowded events.
Brown said she talked to Bruce Fiedler, the former manager of the Pleasanton Gardens senior housing facility. He said by allowing smoking in these facilities, including a new one planned to replace Kottinger Place, the complex owners face high insurance costs.
"We have quite a few apartments coming on board," Brown said. "Smoking in these units affects all the residents. Hopefully, the property owners would welcome this discussion."
Downtown area smoking bans aren't new. Last May, the Livermore council banned smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes, in some downtown areas. San Mateo is considering banning cigarette smoking in all multifamily dwellings and public parks as well as "public service areas" where people congregate, such as bus stops and ATM and movie theater lines.
The city of Manhattan Beach has gone even farther, banning smoking throughout the city. The Grass Valley City Council recently expanded its downtown non-smoking boundaries and prohibited smoking within 20 feet of all business doors. The ordinance also prohibits the use of electric cigarette devices downtown.
To discourage younger people from smoking, Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin wants to increase the age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21. El Cajon, considered one of the state's more progressive cities in regulating the sales of cigarettes and tobacco products, is pushing for a bill in Sacramento that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco in the state from 18 to 21.
One critic noted that the bill would mean 18 year olds who can serve in the military, vote and enter into contracts would not be able to make a decision about whether to smoke.
Smokers in Palo Alto's apartment complexes need not snuff out their cigarette butts just yet.
Having already prohibited smoking at local parks, outdoor dining areas, downtown arteries and open space preserves, city officials considered expanding the ban to multi-family homes. But with too many details still up in the air, a City Council committee balked at adding the new restriction at this time.