Mailbag: Newport Beach ought to snuff out smoking

Re. Editorial: Newport should ban smoking in parks, July 17: Newport Beach is to be commended for finally embracing what more than 1,500 other cities nationwide have already adopted in its recently proposed ordinance for broader smoking restrictions. It is time to protect public health and environmental quality of the city's greatest asset — its coastal, park and open areas.

Many of Newport's private commercial/retail and health-care establishments have already established practices for a smoke-free environment, as one can see in such high-profile locations as Newport Center and the Hoag Hospital campus.

There is a statewide established distance from public buildings. The U.S. surgeon general has established secondhand smoke as a carcinogen. In addition to the health threat, there are multiple nuisance impacts caused by regular concentrations of smokers, such as litter, fire hazards and group loitering.

The city need not embark on a "slippery slope" with a broader ordinance, as some suggest. The path is simple: Establish clear definitions in the ordinance, including sidewalks and streets adjoining beaches, parks and boardwalks (see Coastal Commission definition) and 25-foot distance from eating establishments. Define a clear enforcement roadmap, including progressive fines and abatement of uses where appropriate.

Commit to active, consistent enforcement of the ordinance. The community is behind its city leaders, other than scofflaws who resent being courteous and held accountable.

This is an environmental and economic win-win for our city, its residents, visitors and merchants.

Denys H. Oberman

Newport Beach


Skateboarding remains a danger

At 10:30 a.m. July 5, I almost killed four young boys who were skateboarding against a red light going north on South Coast Highway.

I wonder if their parents had any idea of the danger the boys had put themselves in, or how easy it would be for a motorist turning left onto South Coast Highway from Bluebird Canyon (with the green light) to hit them as they appeared "out of nowhere" with no apparent concern for the traffic signal, or the oncoming cars.

It was apparent to me that they had no idea of the danger they were in, most likely believing, as many young boys do, that they were invulnerable.

Since I know they are vulnerable, the incident left me trembling and acutely aware of how easily a young life could have been snuffed out.

Parents, please do something to save your kid's life from being ended in this terrible way.

Mona Roberts

Laguna Beach

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