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Supporters of citywide smoking ban in Dana Point hope 3,258 cigarette butts prove their case

Volunteers collected more than 3,000 cigarette butts along two blocks of Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Denise Erkeneff)Cigarette butts collected along Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point on Saturday, Jan. 13. (Photo courtesy of Denise Erkeneff)Trash and cigarettes are collected by volunteers on Saturday, Jan. 13 in Dana Point. (Photo courtesy of Denise Erkeneff)Dana Point City Council Member Joseph Muller listens during a city council meeting in which a citywide smoking ban is being considered in Dana Point on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)Smoking ban in Dana Point. (Photo By Jeff Antenore, Contributing Photographer)Dana Poing residents attend a city council meeting where a citywide smoking ban is being considered in Dana Point on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)Dana Point Mayor Debra Lewis conducts the city council meeting in which a citywide smoking ban is being considered in Dana Point on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills that would have banned or drastically curtailed smoking and vaping in parks and beaches run by the state. (Pauline Bartolone/California Healthline)Show Caption of Expand
DANA POINT —  Denise Erkeneff plans to make a statement at the Dana Point City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Erkeneff, special events and youth program chairwoman with the South Orange County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, will be carrying in a jar filled with 3,258 cigarette butts that was collected in less than two hours on Saturday, she said, along Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point.
She said she’s hoping the collection might be just enough to convince skeptical council members to give a final OK to an ordinance to ban smoking in all public places citywide.
“It’s critical that the vote to ban smoking pass,” said Erkeneff. “We will never get ahead of the cigarette litter. You’ll hear a lot about personal freedom but we all have personal freedoms for good health, environment and the health of our children.”
The City Council on Tuesday is expected to make a final decision following a 3-1 vote on Dec. 5 to become the county’s second city to ban smoking citywide. In December, the vote passed with an abstention by City Councilman Joe Muller and a no vote from then-Councilman Rick Viczorek, who in that meeting was elected the city’s new mayor.
Former mayor and now Councilwoman Debra Lewis brought up the idea of a smoking ban in May and, after a community survey showed that three out of four residents polled across all demographic groups supported a citywide ban, she put it on the agenda for discussion Oct. 3.
More than a dozen people from the community spoke in support of the ban in December. One local business owner opposed it.
“There aren’t many smokers in Dana Point,” said Cindy Monroe, who owns Luxe Restaurant and Martini Bar on Del Prado. “My customers are mindful and I have an ashtray outside. I have a lot of European tourists and it would be very confusing to them.”
However, questions remained as to what would happen on private properties.
Lewis suggested the ordinance would not ban smoking on private property, but City Attorney Patrick Munoz confirmed during the meeting that the ordinance as written does apply to all businesses.
In the cleanup done by Erkeneff on Saturday, she and 11 other volunteers scoured about a quarter-mile from Girl in the Curl to Aurora’s Taqueria — covering sidewalks, planters and bushes along Pacific Coast Highway as well as alleys that run alongside.
“It’s litter that goes into the marine environment and the urban environment,” Erkeneff said. “Who wants to walk into a restaurant or business and see cigarette butts in planters, trees and hedges.”
The ban follows the same language used by Laguna Beach and several cities in Los Angeles County, including Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.
As with Laguna Beach’s ban passed in July, Dana Point’s ban would prohibit smoking on all public sidewalks, in alleys and in parking lots. Smoking was banned at all Dana Point city parks in March 2010.
Source: Oc Register

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