Downtown Smoking Ban Discussion Continues -bkm -jcr -dlh

Emily Gonzalez

Nearly two months after the proposed smoking ban for College Avenue businesses was voted down, members of the Clean Air Works of Appleton have put together a petition for a referendum. In November 2004, *******The Lawrentian*********** published an article on the proposed smoking ordinance and the differing opinions surrounding it.
On November 3, a few days before the article, the Appleton Board of Health approved the ordinance in a 4-1 vote, with only Mayor Timothy Hanna voting against. LUCC representative Bill Hanna, the mayor’s son, planned to propose a resolution in opposition to the smoking ordinance, urging Lawrence students to get involved and talk to their representatives. If passed, the resolution would have been presented to the Appleton Common Council.
As it turned out, on Dec. 1, 2004, the Common Council voted on the issue and the ordinance was subsequently defeated in a tie-breaking 8-8 vote by Mayor Hanna.
Since this decision, according to Bill Hanna “there has been work to bring direct legislation, a binding resolution, like the bridge issue” on a ballot/referendum in the spring of this year, most likely in April.
The Clean Air Works of Appleton and the Community Action for Tobacco Free Living group have been particular proponents of the ordinance. The groups had 32 days to get signatures on a petition for the ordinance to Cindi Hesse, the city clerk. The Clean Air Works recently filed papers, two weeks after the assigned deadline. The city clerk now has approximately 90 days to look over the papers before moving closer to a possible April 2005 referendum.
The smoking ban issue sparked heated opinions from both supporters and opponents, beginning around fall 2004. This ordinance would ban smoking from almost all indoor public places in downtown Appleton, and it would also include smoking “halos” around the buildings. This part of the ordinance is much like the rules in effect at Lawrence, regulating areas where smokers can and cannot smoke and rendering all buildings smoke-free. At Lawrence the issue has raised disagreement from students, and so the issue with businesses on College Avenue is still quite big as well.
The exceptions in the ordinance included retail tobacco stores, designated hotel rooms, and smoking on stage in a theatrical performance. Many restaurant and bar owners were very concerned that business would drop if a smoking ban were enacted. On the other side, people from the Appleton Board of Health hinted at the dangers of secondhand smoke and argued in support of the smoking ban.
Though the Common Council voted down the ordinance last month, petitioners are still holding out and waiting for the city clerk to process the papers. Whether this may lead to a final resolution on the ordinance, either enacting it or opposing it, is yet to be determined.