How times change. They used to call it the Republic of Santa Monica because our little city by the bay was so crunchy liberal you could barely throw a rock without hitting a pair of Birkenstocks or an unkempt beard. It was the home of Three's Company (and the Regal Beagle), Tom Hayden and Jerry Rubin.
Today, Rubin is one of the voices calling for what would arguably be the country's tightest restrictions on smoking -- a ban on the practice in apartments, condos, duplexes and any "multi-family units" in the city. If that happens, Santa Monica would officially shut the door on its hippie roots: Frankly, it would be getting all up in peoples bedrooms like right-wing minister.
A group called Santa Monicans for Non-Smoking Renters Rights, which has a name that echoes the city's longtime political power base, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, is pushing to have the city enact such a ban out of what it says is concern for neighbors health, according to the Argonaut newspaper.
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Cigarette smoke can flow out of patios, windows and doors and permeate common courtyards, walkways and entrances, the argument goes: It can even get into furnishings and walls. They call it "third-hand smoke."
Santa Monica Rent Control Board member Robert Kronovet proposed such a ban earlier th is month. The board, however, doesn't have power to enact the rule, and he failed to drum up enough support to formally ask the city council to pass a stricter smoking law (the city already bans such puffery in parks, beaches, farmers markets, outdoor dining areas, and common areas of apartments and condo complexes).
Rubin supports such a ban, saying, according to the Argonaut, "We do have a right to protect renters when there is a health threat and a nuisance such as this."
The idea, for now, isn't getting very far.