Mayor pushing for smoking ban

Clovis Mayor David Lansford said the city tried to ban smoking in public acess building five years ago.

By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor

Clovis Mayor David Lansford is spearheading an effort to ban smoking in all public access buildings, including restaurants. The issue has smokers clawing to keep their “rights” intact.

Lansford said the city attorney is in the process of drafting the introduction to the smoking ordinance, which could come before the city commission in September.

If the introduction passes, the commission could adopt the ordinance 30 days later and make the ban effective immediately, Lansford said.

“If it’s a public building that the general public is having access to then I think we have a responsibility to safeguard the public health,” Lansford said.

Lansford said there is a lot of support for the ban, even among restaurant owners and managers.

“(I’ve talked to) people in the restaurant business who would like it banned so they wouldn’t have to deal with it themselves. They don’t want to take on the smokers but they don’t have a problem with the city taking them on. They don’t want to be the bad guy,” Lansford said.

Lansford said a smoking ban was up before the commission about five years ago, but didn’t pass because of lobbying from the smokers.

Louis Herbert, a smoker, believes bans should be left to the proprietor.

“I’ll go to Farwell and eat, that’s the way I feel about it,” Herbert said between cigarettes at Dave’s Coffee Shop on Saturday afternoon. “It’s infringing on the rights of free enterprise.”

Herbert, an independent contractor, said he travels often but refuses to go to California because of no-smoking laws there.

“I think they should give smokers their own state,” he joked. “Let them smoke a cigarette while they pump their gas.”
Antonio Solveson, a non-smoker who said second-hand smoke doesn’t bother him, disagrees with Herbert’s logic.

Solveson thinks banning smoking will be best, and cut down on the problems associated with second-hand smoke.

“It’s more of a convenience more than anything,” he said. “That way you can sit down and enjoy a meal and not have to worry about it.”

The ban would not include private clubs, Lansford said.
As for bars that are also restaurants, Lansford said that would be the “stickiest portion” of the ordinance.

“If it’s a bar and they don’t serve food that would be fine,” he said. “If they are a restaurant/bar, that would be my desire … that they be like any other restaurant.”