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WeHo Looking to Ban Smoking on Outdoor Restaurant Bars & Patios

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Photo by Symic via Flickr
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In a contentious fight that some say will define West Hollywood, the City Council Monday night took the first steps toward banning smoking (.pdf), voting to "direct the City Attorney to draft a comprehensive ordinance prohibiting smoking in outdoor patios and open air spaces at restaurants, bars and other establishments with common outdoor patios or open air spaces." If passed, it would put the city in line with Los Angeles, which is working on a similar motion, except it doesn't carry a provision about bars and nightclubs that are 18.It's that bar/nightclub rule that seems to be causing a lot of debate. What will become of the Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Boulevard? “Can you imagine that scene outside the Abbey, with scores of people standing on that tiny sidewalk and in the street smoking?" questioned Sharon Sandow, the president and CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, in the WeHo News. “I have to say we had better carefully review,” the legislation and consider its unintended and potentially negative consequences “to public safety, to the environment and to the city’s economy.”

In a different WeHo News article, former chair of the Chamber of Commerce Joe Clapsaddle was all about choice and letting the market decide. "We have already in place the ability for customers and businesses to choose," he said. “I don’t want to be Calabasas, I don’t want to be Santa Monica, I don’t want to be Berkeley, I don’t want to be Beverly Hills - I want to be West Hollywood, California.”