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Governments at all levels institute well-intentioned regulations in attempts to deal with a myriad of issues. In two instances, one large and one small, I have led efforts towards more common sense regulation. 


The first involved dogs in parks. Previously, the City prohibited all dogs from all parks, even if leashed. Given that Benicia is full of dogs (and dog lovers), putting parks off limits to dogs did not make sense.  I sponsored the effort to amend this ordinance so that dogs, on leashes, are once again welcome in City Parks.


The second involved smoking regulations. I certainly understand the dangers of second-hand smoke, and have lived in a condo in Benicia with a heavy smoker directly below. It was not pleasant.


I was OK with banning smoking in apartments, condos and townhouses, but the ordinance went further. It also banned smoking on balconies, porches or anywhere on the property. Vaping of e-cigarettes (or cannabis) was also banned, even though they do not emit tobacco smoke, and vapor has not been shown to travel between units or have other damaging effects.


The other part of the ordinance that I objected to banned smoking in any commercial zone. We are all familiar with (and thankful for) the banning of smoking within restaurants, bars and stores. Smokers who go to bars know to leave the bar and smoke outside. But this ordinance outlawed that practice as well, and included people walking down the street. To me, this was governmental overreach and put the Police Department in the position of having to enforce an “unenforceable” ordinance.  


The ordinance was adopted on a 4-1 vote; I was the only dissenting vote.




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Steve Young for Mayor

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