by Alan McArthur
Smokers can still light up in Parkville.
Patrons of Parkville restaurants and bars can still smoke after the board of aldermen voted against a proposed smoking ban.
The final vote on the ordinance of 3-5 means the ordinance failed.
The ordinance only moved to a vote because Gerry Richardson, mayor, broke two ties to move the ordinance forward.
The ordinance would have banned smoking in all places of employment and kept patrons from smoking in all restaurants and bars in Parkville, with no exemptions.
“This is one of the larger, more controversial issues Parkville has addressed in some time,” said Richardson.
Richardson then asked each of the aldermen to speak about whether they were in favor or against the ordinance.
“Certainly this is one of the more controversial issues since the riverboat,” said Marc Sportsman, alderman. “There is no doubt in my mind this would have passed if it had got to a vote, but as a fourth class city it's our responsibility to make that decision. This is a case where rights are taken away for a greater safety and I support the non-smoking ordinance.”
“I am torn on this issue, I recognize smoking is not good, there is no question about that,” said Jeff Bay, alderman. “I believe in letting the market take care of issues. I am not a fan of more government regulations. It is the responsibility of families to take children where there is no smoking. I am in support of a ban only if it allows for private clubs.”
“I support a smoking ban in public places,” said Dave McCoy, alderman. “But I believe in the individual's right to smoke in a residence and because I feel that way I think private clubs are like a residence.”
“I smoked for 30 years and I quit,” said Jim Brooks, alderman. “I have a problem where it is applied to bars and restaurants. We have some very small places where if they put a sign on the door that said 'smoking inside' people would have the option of not going in the place. If we want to improve health, we are taking an indirect stab at it with this.”
“I don't know my rights as someone who doesn't smoke should say 'you can't smoke in here' when I could go someplace else,” said Deborah Butcher, alderman. “I don't believe this (ordinance) is the particular one I could approve. I cannot support this ordinance as written.”
“This is not a ban on smoking, this is a ban on smoking in public places,” said Gia McFarlane, alderman. “It's not hard to not smoke for three hours in a bar while watching the game. I fully back this ordinance.”
“In its present setup, I can't support this,” said Marvin Ferguson, alderman. “I think if we do want to enact an ordinance, restaurants need to have some time. Every year we lose a little more liberties.”
“There is no doubt if this had gone before voters it would pass with a wide margin,” said Nan McManus, alderman. “I am pro-business, but I can't ignore the wishes of the majority. I hope if this passes, supporters will visit the businesses that will be forced to be smoke free.”
McFarlane later responded to Ferguson's comments.
“In 2006 this issue came before the board. It would still not take effect for 120 days and it has been before this board for sometime now. A lot of people have been waiting for this vote.”
After the discussion, Ferguson made a motion for the first reading of the ordinance and Sportsman seconded. The vote was then split 4-4 with Brooks, Ferguson, McCoy, and Bay voting no. Voting yes were Butcher, McFarlane, McManus, and Sportsman. Richardson broke the tie with a yes vote.
After the first reading, Ferguson made a motion to approve the first reading and move to the second reading of the ordinance, Sportsman seconded. The vote was again split 4-4 with Brooks, Ferguson, McCoy and Bay voting no. Voting yes were Butcher, McFarlane, McManus, and Sportsman. Richardson again broke the tie with a yes vote.
On the final vote, the ordinance failed by a 3-5 vote. Voting yes were Sportsman, McManus, and McFarlane. Voting no were Brooks, McCoy, Bay, Butcher, and Ferguson.
After the vote the board sat in silence for a few seconds before Richardson spoke.
“The ordinance is defeated, I've never had to say that before,” said Richardson.