Smoking Ban For SJ Parks Advances

City of San Jose has taken additional steps toward banning smoking at most city parks.
San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission convened Nov. 2 and recommended San Jose City Council review and adopt stronger anti-smoking rules at the city’s 170 neighborhood parks.
“They passed a measure recommending to San Jose City Council to strengthen the current city ordinance and to strengthen the (park) directors’ authorization to ban smoking at certain parks,” Ed Bautista, a San Jose parks and recreation spokesman, said.
San Jose City Council will now decide the matter, possibly in December.
The city’s no-smoking policy follows a state law, which prohibits smoking at playgrounds, along trails and bridle paths and at park restrooms.
Areas that are a high risk for fires, such as Alum Rock Park or Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, are also considered no-smoking zones.
Violators of the state law face a $250 fine. 
Bautista said commissioners did not vote for recommendation of a complete ban to smoking. He added their concerns included worries over having no active enforcement of anti-smoking rules.
“There are questions on how you enforce a ban,” Bautista said.
San Jose parks department personnel do not regularly patrol city parks and playground areas that already prohibit smoking.
In the case of a special event at a San Jose park, the city would expect event organizers to responsibly enforce smoking prohibitions.
City staff reports state the cost of replacing signage was one factor being considered. The city had replaced park signage to comply with the state’s current no-smoking law.
To make and post new signage, the city estimates it could cost an additional $34,000 of unbudgeted general fund monies.
Previously, city officials cited other recent amendments to health and safety codes, particularly in the city and county of San Francisco.
San Francisco’s cost to install new signage was about $150,000.
That city also found it difficult to enforce the laws due to understaffing in its own departments.
Smoking ban for SJ parks advances
Originally written By: Ian Bauer
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