Fight smolders over new law

Belmont’s mayor describes her colleagues as “pioneers” for narrowly approving the city’s smoking ordinance Tuesday night, but time will tell whether they’ve discovered bold new ways to protect public health — or opened a Pandora’s box of possible litigation and rights violations.

“I’m glad it passed, I hopeit stays, and I hope we can work everything out when we review it in a year,” Mayor Coralin Feierbach said.

Feierbach, Dave Warden and Phil Mathewson voted for the ordinance, beating the two votes of Vice Mayor Warren Lieberman and Bill Dickenson. The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from Tuesday’s meeting.

But with Warden and Mathewson leaving the council at the end of this year, and outcry from the business and real estate community about the ordinance’s provisions, the review Feierbach is calling for could be drastic.

“Like everyone else, I’ll just wait and see what happens,” Lieberman said.

Dickenson and Lieberman both said they are not going to rush into reviewing the ordinance in an effort to overturn it, because there are bigger priorities for the city.

“I disagree with it, I voted against it, I think it’s intrusive, but the first priority with the new council is to look at what our priorities and resources are,” Dickenson said. “I would like to see it reviewed, but I don’t want to continue the chaos.”

That chaos could become an election issue this year as well. Loring De Martini — owner of Van’s Restaurant — said he is backing Jason Born and Broderick Page in the coming election in an effort to fight back against the ordinance that he says will drive business from the city.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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