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The following information is from the City of Kirkland to correct some inaccuracies in the letter which follows:
There appears to be some incorrect information on Kirkland Views regarding the City of Kirkland’s intended policies regarding smoking in our local parks. To be clear, there is no legislative action planned by the City Council or Park Board on this topic on February 7 or for the foreseeable future. We are not moving towards a ban on smoking within Kirkland parks.
What the Parks and Community Services Department will be doing this year, based on the recommendations of the Kirkland Park Board, is placing information signs (purchased with grant funds) in certain parks simply asking for the cooperation of tobacco users to voluntarily comply with a policy of not using tobacco products in or near our children’s playgrounds.
As you may recall, last fall Kirkland was one of several King County cities looking into the public health and environmental issues surrounding use of tobacco products in public parks. More than 25 cities throughout our state have adopted policies or regulations promoting tobacco and smoke-free public outdoor areas. A growing research base indicates that second hand smoke outdoors presents health risks to non‐smokers and that youth who see adults smoking are more likely to themselves smoke. There are also negative environmental impacts of cigarette litter in public places.
The City did conduct a non-scientific online survey in October 2011 which had over 750 respondents. In part, the survey asked if tobacco should be prohibited in parks, as well as within specific areas of parks. Over 70% of respondents supported prohibiting tobacco in or near playgrounds.
Again, the City of Kirkland is not considering legislation to ban smoking in parks but we do ask for the cooperation of tobacco users in helping us to provide tobacco-free playgrounds for our children. If you or your readers would like any more information please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or (425) 587-3301.
Jennifer Schroder, Director of Parks and Community Services[/box]
To the Editor,
On February 7th the city council will be voting on banning cigarette smoking in the parks. Smoking in the parks is not the issue, the real issue is; do you want an outside group to make the rules in OUR parks?
Do you want this outside group called CDC, Center for Disease Control, to dictate what we can do in our parks? You see CDC is giving out grants under American Recovery and Investment Act Prevention and wellness Initiative: Communities putting prevention to work. This group is giving cities grants for tobacco and obesity, and if we accept their grant they get to make the rules. This does not mean you will not be paying for the parks through your property taxes which are due in a couple of months, you will still have to pay, you just loose control of what you can and cannot do in your parks.
I personally went to our cities park board meeting and met the parks board members and I was very impressed. We have an amazing group of local people watching over our parks and doing an impressive job. I believe that if 2/3rds of the homeowners in Kirkland approached the board with smoking issues and asked to ban cigarette smoking in the parks they would do it and I would see no reason to fight it because I respect property owners.
That is not what is happening, the parks are our public property and CDC wants to bribe our city council by giving them a grant to take control of our public property.
Are we going to allow this outside group to take control of our public property?
What will be next? Will they ban cooking dead animals in the park next? They are giving out obesity grants as well, how far are we willing to let them go for this grant money???
Now they are so kind, for they will give you many choices on which rules you want to implement, like we don't have to make it a law and waste our resources, it can just be a rule and CDC will pay for the no smoking signs, how kind of them. This is why I believe our city council will sell our public property (parks) to CDC because most of us are upset about the waste of our resources and by just making it a rule they can take the money without upsetting the people. Doesn't change the fact that if we receive this grant we HAVE to implement their rules while we continue to pay through our property taxes.
I encourage each and every one of you to trust the people of this fine city and not let an outside group dictate what we can and cannot do in our parks. Please call and email everyone on the cities parks board and each of our city council to let them know how you feel about an outside group buying the rights to control our parks. The city council will be voting on this issue on Febuary 7th, please try to attend this meeting. We must show a strong stand for our parks if we want to keep our parks local.
Tara A Wilkins Member Campaign for Liberty PCO 45th Dems