Election also a success in campaign for smoke-free OP

Opinion

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On behalf of the Campaign for a Smoke Free Oak Park, I want to congratulate the winners in last week's election, David Pope, Martha Brock, Geoff Baker and Greg Marsey. In many ways we viewed this election as a referendum on the quality of life in Oak Park in which the issue of smoke free restaurants was just one quality of life issue affecting our lives, along with high rise developments, traffic congestion, parks and parking.

It should come as no surprise that all the winners in the election publicly support a smoke free Oak Park and did so before the election. In contrast, not one candidate on the VMA slate supported a smoke free Oak Park. Diana Carpenter voted against the smoke free ordinance on March 7 and the rest of the slate claimed "no position" on the issue. The positions of Pope, Milstein, Baker, Brock and Marsey in support of clean indoor air reflect the views of the vast majority of Oak Parkers, over 70 percent of whom articulated their support for clean indoor air in a recent survey.

The trustees' positions are also consistent with the position of the Campaign for a Smoke Free Oak Park. We all agree that: Exposure to secondhand is a serious health risk to workers and patrons in restaurants; a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance that prohibits smoking in all restaurants in Oak Park must be passed as the only way to address this risk; the indoor smoking prohibition should be phased in over time; there should be a village program, yet to be determined to address potential business fears.

The Campaign for a Smoke Free Oak Park believes that the framework for a settlement is before us and that this will be a win-win for our community; good for health and good for business. Our members are against the "grandfathering" of existing businesses but are eager to sit with the business community and the trustees to help forge the elements of this new clean indoor air ordinance that will help address the business concerns.

Finally, we would like to give special thanks to Bob Milstein, who voted in favor of clean indoor air at the March 7 village board meeting and was instrumental in facilitating the support of the New Leadership Party slate.

We also want to thank David Pope, who, while he did not support the ordinance proposed on March 7, does support a phased in prohibition of indoor smoking and has articulated a position on this very close to that of ours.

David Ansell, on behalf of
Campaign for a Smoke Free Oak Park

 

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