S.F. no longer blowing smoke about ban

The City has just issued the first-ever $100 fine for violating a ban on smoking in San Francisco’s parks even though the law is more than two years old and people continue to smoke in parks. The first citation was issued last week to a patron of Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square, which has received attention recently from several city departments after Mayor Gavin Newsom visited the park in March and was angered by its condition.

The City Administrator’s Office — in conjunction with other departments including the Police Department and Public Works —has worked to clean up the park and also to inform users about the smoking ban.

Last week, Officer Rod Lee issued The City’s first-ever smoking citation after a park user was given a “stark warning” about not smoking and was later seen relighting a cigarette, said Gloria Chan, spokeswoman for Department of Public Works.

Despite the recent citation and outreach — which included the posting of no-smoking signs, installation of ashtrays on litter cans near park entrances and fliers handed out explaining the ban — at least six people were observed by The Examiner smoking Monday around 2 p.m. in different locations in the park. Smokers included members of card games and a man sitting on a park bench. No one was around enforcing the ban.

“I’m smelling [cigarette smoke] now,” said Terri Bookbinder, an Orinda resident, whose 7-year-old son was using the park’s playground. “There’s smoking going on. Nobody seems to be concerned about being stopped.”

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who wrote the law, said it was “outrageous” that the first citation was only just issued last week. “Clearly no one is enforcing it,” she said. The supervisor said she would look into “why this is not being implemented.”

When told about the smokers at the park, Chan said, “We are going to go out there and continue to do outreach and walk through the park and make surepeople are abiding by the law. Behavior is not going to change overnight.”

In 2005, the Board of Supervisors, citing the health risks associated with secondhand smoke, adopted the smoking ban in city parks and it was signed by Newsom. The law authorizes a $100 fine for first offenders and up to $500 for repeat offenses.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read