Friday, March 6, 2009

Breaking: Sierra Madre Chamber Of Commerce President Comes Out Against Smoking Restrictions

In a long editorial on his Sierra Madre News Net Site, the President of Sierra Madre's Chamber of Commerce Bill Coburn has now come out against smoking restrictions in the downtown area.

Two rather dubious claims that I found interesting:

- "I am not aware of any studies that state that people sitting at tables that are usually several feet from each other at occasional visits to places where smoking is allowed outdoors have suffered health-wise for having done so." (Obviously Bill has made his decision sans any research whatsover. Second hand smoke is a proven and leading cause of lung cancer. Why is it so many people on this site know that, but Bill doesn't? Should we send him off for a tutorial at City of Hope?)

- "... it should be possible to live and let live, as has been Sierra Madre's behavior for more than one hundred years, without legislating our neighbors and friends behavior." (So public outdoor drinking, gunslinging, gambling, prostitution, cock fights, public nudity, drug consumption, these are all behaviors that have never been legislated upon here? Wow. Could be quite a wild weekend coming up! A regular old Wild West extravaganza. Anybody told our Police Department yet? Is Judge Roy Bean in town?)

There's a lot more. You can access the entire statement here. Feel free to comment after reading and proper pondering.


  1. I love it when people talk about how things were done in Sierra Madre for years. Live and let live? Give me a break. The man who designed Mt. Rushmore lived in Sierra Madre and his dogs were poisoned. That was in the early 1900s. My neighbor's dog was poisoned 80+ years later. And after nearly 30 years in Sierra Madre, I would say it's anything but live and let live. It's great if you're doing the poisoning, but if you're the poisoned, it's not so great.

  2. Are you kidding me? Bill Coburn has never seen the sidewalks in front of these businesses in the morning. Is he sleeping in? They are full of cigarette butts!
    I love when "lawsuits" are thrown around - everyone yelling "class-action" ..since when was the "sidewalk" part of a business? Can you actually sue for something the city lets you use for your business benefit? the double standard here, Bill. Here's the bottom line, when your "rights" infringes upon the rights' of others it's no longer your right! PERIOD!

  3. At the heart of Mr. Coburn's long and rambling
    "editorial" is the same old lie. Nobody is harmed by second hand smoke. Why is it the entire civilized workd knows this, yet these slick characters think they can somehow convince people to think otherwise? Disgusting.

  4. Bill Coburn is obviously a DIRT.
    This is a DIRT obstructionist plot.
    What are you afraid of, Bill and the rest of you dirts? Afraid of our current city council?
    Why? They are doing a great job for Sierra Madre.
    I've told you people so many times, Kurt and Don are committed to representing the majority of the residents. We are SO LUCKY to have them on the city council.
    They KEPT and continue to KEEP their PROMISES to the residents who voted for them.
    As for MacGillivray, she has kept all her promises, to set up a canyon zoning committee, a general planning committee will be formed soon. To protect your downtown from over development. To protect your hillsides.
    What a lot of you don't know, but I just found out was MaryAnn also promised the people at all her coffee campaign meetings that she would be able to vote on One Carter and Stonehouse. It was of great concern to many of her supporters. A well known realtor in town, who was at the time, representing the developers of the One Carter homes, threatened to SUE MaryAnn if she voted on either property issues.
    Duncan and MaryAnn MacGillivray, hired researchers and attorneys to prove she could indeed get to cost MaryAnn and Duncan $6,000 SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS, you read that right, they refused any donations, from what I'm told, paid every dollar of it. Tough to do now a days.
    Pretty damn dedicated to keeping a promise, that MaryAnn MacGillivray, how many of you would have done that? I can tell you. Kurt and Don did the same thing, put plenty of their own $$$$$ up to save the downtown from being destroyed, not to mention the threats, harassment and slander they had to put up with from you damn dirts.
    Tough shit if you DIRTS lost your GAMBLES on downtown projects.
    Thank GOD MaryAnn, Don and Kurt kept their promises. Thank God for the preservation of Sierra Madre!
    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Bill Coburn, you fool.

  5. That's what we get from our little Dirt
    pals. Lies far larger than themselves.

  6. Seems to be the norm that the Chamber is not on board with a smoking ban - at first. Read here how the city of Glendale had the Chamber help educate the public after first being "opposed". Keep in mind that Malibu is a population of 13,000... Enjoy.. I will post on Bill's site as well.

    City receives 'F' grade for smoking policies
    Special to the Malibu Times
    By Melonie Magruder
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:51 PM PST

    The American Lung Association recently released its seventh annual state "report card" assessing the overall tobacco control grade for major Californian cities and Malibu scored an "F."

    The report assesses each state's efforts in four key tobacco control policy areas. Statewide, California earned an "A" for its smoke-free air laws, a "D" for its cigarette tax rate, an "F" for tobacco prevention and control program funding, and a "D" for insurance coverage of cessation treatments and services.

    When broken down into individual municipalities, however, Malibu scored an "F" for overall tobacco control, a "D" for smokefree outdoor air, an "F" for smokefree housing and another "F" for reducing sales of tobacco products.

    The only California city that received an "A" rating was Glendale, which last year passed a city ordinance banning smoking in any public places except the street or sidewalk several yards away from bus stops or sidewalk dining areas. Disposing of cigarettes in any public place is prohibited as well.

    Malibu Public Safety Commissioner Susan Tellem said she would present a proposal before the city council as early as next month to emulate Glendale's ordinance.

    "This is a health and fire safety issue," Tellem said. "I've been to Starbucks and had to leave the outdoor seating area because of the amount of smoke there. And people are always tossing cigarettes out of their cars. Considering the fire danger Malibu faces, this ordinance is vital to public safety."

    Indeed, the January 2007 fire that sparked at Bluffs Park was probably started by a tossed cigarette from a passing car, Detective Jim Gonzalez, of the county Sheriff's Department, said.

    Tellem noted she had been forced to ask Verizon employees working on telephone lines up in the driest hills of Malibu to snuff their cigarettes during the height of fire season. She said she didn't expect to hear too much backlash from businesses, with restaurants already banning smoking on premises.

    Tatiana Ennist, assistant manager at the Cross Creek Starbucks, said that smoking is not encouraged in their outdoor seating area.

    "We don't put out ashtrays," Ennist said. "We always have to sweep up butts at the end of the day. I don't think it [banning smoking] will affect business because people always need their coffee."

    With the dangers of second hand smoke becoming more widely known, more and more municipalities across the nation have been issuing total bans on smoking in public places, including outdoor restaurants, parks, city golf courses and other outdoor sports venues. In some cities, the results of smoking bans have been dramatic.

    Paul G. Billings is the vice president of national policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association. He said you couldn't argue with the statistics.

    "After a city ordinance to completely ban smoking in public in Pueblo, Colo., the incidence of heart attacks dropped 27 percent in the first year of operation and 40 percent by the second year," Billings said. "Helena, Montana saw a 40 percent reduction after going smoke free and Bloomington, Indiana dropped 29 percent. So, it's not just a bi-coastal phenomenon. Mid-America is catching on, too. But it's only after a long-fought campaign to educate public officials."

    Many antigovernment organizations have protested the bans, claiming that local tax revenues are affected by slumps in sales when restaurants and bars ban smoking.

    "Well, second hand smoke affects the health of others," Billings said. "One's constitutional right to throw a punch ends at the tip of someone else's nose."

    Steven Koszis, administrative analyst for the City of Glendale, disputed the argument of lost revenue after smoking bans.

    "Actually, apartment owners probably see lower turnover costs and lower fire insurance premiums when smoking is banned in their buildings," Koszis said. "Beverly Hills released a study that showed an increase in business tax revenue in 100 out of 300 restaurants after a ban was imposed. And that was even during the writers' strike."

    Koszis said the key to effective implementation of such an ordinance is appropriate public education, giving plenty of time for residents and visitors to absorb the lessons and practical aspects of such a ban.

    "The Chamber of Commerce was opposed to an outright ban at first," Koszis said. "But we worked with them during the writing of the ordinance and they came on board. Now, they're helping to educate the public.

    "Our goal is compliance, not to make our citizens a bunch of criminals," Koszis continued. "There are eight enforcement interactions, including verbal warnings and small citations, before you are cited for a misdemeanor."

    Tellem, who was a smoker until forced to give up the habit for health reasons, said that it was important to have an ordinance with "teeth," noting that Malibu's 2006 ban on beach smoking has seen mixed compliance.

    "A draft proposal for the ordinance has already been written, so the city council as a whole should be in favor of it," Tellem said. "But one issue might be that they have too much on their plate right now. But speaking as Public Safety Commissioner, it is high time for this ordinance."

    The American Lung Association of California's report can be viewed online at

  7. Whoaaa!! Old Kentucky, gettin' a little off topic.

  8. Nope, Bill Coburn is a mouthpiece for the dirts, who are behind this smoking thing, you all can be sure of that.

    Sharon Pevsner:
    Thanks for posting that. I'm sure with you on this one, I doubt if these foolish smokers will pay any mind to your strong evidence, but thanks for posting it anyway.
    I share your concern for those babies you bring by Beantown, and I know you're fighting for everyone's health.
    Thank you. You are a fine citizen.

  9. Sharon, thank you very much. It's hard to keep hitting the logic when the opposition is getting more entrenched in irrational rebellion. Good for you.
    Old Kentucky blows a gasket now & then - but that heart is always in the right place.

  10. The first comment on this thread, by regular poster roia is absolutely frightening.
    I know this happened, and I know it was the dirts who did it.
    People don't realize the dirts are capable of horrific "pranks" that actually are crimes.
    From cyber bullying on porn websites, recommended to us by former Mayor John Buchanan (a dirt) to smashing people's car windows and mailboxes, one mailbox of a well known electrician and Measure V supporter was blown up with a homemade bomb. People's brake lines have been cut in the past, the victims are ALWAYS enemies of the dirts.
    Dirts are dangerous and there is more than one political opponent of theirs who has installed video surveillance equipment on their property.

  11. Speaking of peculiar attempts at terrorism by the dirts, one fine morning I woke up and noticed these large plastic bags on my front lawn filled with dog poop. And I mean large bags. And all I could think is what idiot spent all that time putting dog poop into big plastic bags just so they could leave it on my lawn? These are very strange people, that's for sure.

  12. The biggest irony of all is that below Bill's letter on his website is a letter to the editor regarding the use of a cigar float in the 4th of July parade..written by 3 Phd's from the City of Hope, let me paraphase:
    "What a great opportunity the Sierra Madre 4th of July parade provides to teach our children about the serious health effects of tobacco use, by redesigning the cigar float to depict persons with, for example, a tracheotomy and difficulty breathing/walking, black lungs, heart disease, etc. rather than what appears to be cigar smoking as an acceptable behavior. Perhaps the city float planners are unaware that a single cigar can contain as much tobacco as a pack of cigarettes and the second-hand smoking effect is as strong, if not stronger, than that of cigarettes" Geez, did Bill really read this? maybe he does need a tour of City of Hope.

  13. If not a tour of City of Hope, then at least a trip to
    their highly regarded brain transplant facility. Bill
    being widely known for having a particularly drafty

  14. I wonder if any City Council members who might be running for reelection will enjoy having to explain to the parents of this community why he (Hi Joe!) voted against downtown smoking restrictions? It would seem to me that having that hung around your neck would make you as about as popular as, well, cancer.

  15. my latest post to Bill Coburn:


    You stated: For the record - I agree that smoking is a health issue, including second hand smoke. I could and probably should have done more research before posting my opinion. Still not convinced smoking in an outdoor dining area is dangerous enough that we have to make laws about it. Common courtesy should be enough."

    Here's something to think about. We have 7 schools in Sierra Madre alone with over 1900 STUDENTS from preschool to eighth grade. I bet many of them head to our downtown district when school gets out for a little refreshment. Your proposal would put in place a 13 yr old asking an adult to put out his/her cigarette. I know we agree on one thing, that cigarettes are addictive. So essentially your proposal is having a non-smoker approach a smoker to put it out. Really? Consider what the American
    Lung Association has to say: "Every day approximately 4,000 children between 12 and 17 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,300 of them will become regular smokers.4 Half of them will ultimately die from their habit."5

    Bill, please do everyone a favor and do this issue due diligence. We are talking about our kids futures.

  16. Correction: Preschool to high school...not just eighth grade...

  17. I'm not sure Bill Coburn can reverse his
    position on smoking restrictions. I'm
    fairly certain that the entity that owns
    his soul will not permit it.

  18. Doesn't Sierra Madre do a wine walk to benefit the City of Hope? Don't they also do a Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society? Let me get this straight....approx. 15% of the population smokes so Sierra Madre would cater to that? I need to move...

  19. I think so many young people are opposed to a ban on smoking is that young people are the main smokers these days. As people get older the health effects of cigarettes force them to quit or die. Some quit and others die. Young people are sucked into the addiction by seductive advertising and the need to rebel. It's not a constitutional or other form of human right to smoke.

  20. Finally Roia is getting it...

  21. the best part of all is Bill's mugshot on facebook...he looks like he could be all those kids grandfather!

  22. Sir Eric,
    We need a petition to convince City Council to go forward with this ban on smoking. Has the woman who started the subject with the Council tried to organize any sort of resident support? She should!

  23. Yes, I have....please join us on March 24, 2009 at 6:30 at City Hall ... we will have our voices heard! Thank you for your support...