Friday, March 6, 2009

Those Tobacco Wacky Kids Are The Future Of Sierra Madre, Man.

The absurdities are piling up on this particular burning (so to speak) Sierra Madre issue so fast its hard to know where to start.

So let's start here. Rumors that we're hearing at The Tattler suggest that our very own local bastion of decisive and clear thinking, The Sierra Madre Chamber Of Commerce, might be having some second thoughts on the possibility of an ordinance against the kind of in-your-face tobacco consumption we've been seeing downtown as of late. The idea being that if you chase the smokers from places such as the tables in front of Beantown, our in-town cappuccino, tobacco and beer-based economy may somehow collapse, provoking a crisis only rivaled by what is going on in the rest of the country.

And they do have a point, public smoking does bring in some business. A lot of the kids one can find wiling away their days in front of certain local establishments quaffing lattes and consuming the fine tobacco products of such global corporate entities as Philip Morris (AKA Kraft Foods), R.J. Reynolds, and Brown & Williamson (it's all about our individuality, man!), are not from Sierra Madre. They're here because the towns surrounding our stalwart little bastion of the freedom to smoke yourself to death in a bucolic public setting have literally run their unfortunate habit out of town. Making Sierra Madre a lifestyle sanctuary for this self-styled oppressed refugee community.

So in the ethical spirit of our noble and caring Chamber of Commerce, can't we take this one an additional step further? We here at The Tattler, in the hopes of strengthening the business community of downtown Sierra Madre, now propose that all ordinances against public outdoor alcohol consumption be immediately rescinded. Since drinking outdoors and in public is banished from the streets of every other town in the San Gabriel Valley, doesn't it logically follow that if we allow people to get their Budweiser on in Kersting Court, word will spread and those who wish to engage in this kind of behavior will flock here to party like there is no tomorrow? Bringing with them an infusion of new business to our challenged local economy? And most of them do pay cash, you know. We're talking some real liquidity here.

And hey, maybe our highly entrepreneurial COC could come up with some new products all their own! How about Wisteria Wine, served in its own specially designed recycled brown paper bag? Michillinda Malt Liquor? Heasley High Life? The opportunities are endless.

And after all, if the tobacco wacky kids of our happy valley have discovered that Sierra Madre is the one place that allows them to freely express their individuality by smoking in the vicinity of small children (therefore making a positive contribution to the downtown economy), wouldn't public drinking bring a similar benefit to town? And since the Chamber of Commerce now seems willing to jettison all public health considerations in favor of doing a little bidness, certainly some there should find this modest proposal appealing.

Speaking of absurdities, have you seen the sign Beantown has put up in its window? A reader kindly sent the above photo in to, and we have now published it here. As you can see from this picture, the owner of Beantown is instructing his puffing proto-pals to do the following: "No smoking around children, no smoking around people who are eating," et cetera. So let's try and get this straight. If our Hot Topic bohemians (can individuality really be the product of global commerce?) smoking in front of this establishment obey his wishes here, won't they be following exactly the same kinds of things a Sierra Madre outdoor smoking ordinance would have them do?

Deliberations on the smoking tip by our City Council have been postponed for a couple of weeks. And there are some issues that need to be dealt with first. But none of them are more absurd than what we are seeing around town now from the "ban the ban" crowd. You have to wonder if perhaps certain people haven't lost their cotton picking minds.


  1. This is a ridiculous "dispute".
    All the courts in the land have ruled that any PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE TRUMPS CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE.
    The dirts are behind this distraction.
    Our city council has some very important issues to deal with, issues the dirts want to OBSTRUCT.
    It's smoke heads.......if you want to smoke, walk away from the tables to do so, same as you (hopefully) would do to "pass gas". It's a courtesy to your fellow human beings. It's NOT A's a RESTRICTION.
    City Council members....if you are reading this....??? Please!!!! Don't waste anymore of your valuable time on this DUMB issue.
    If it wasn't wasting valuable city time, it would just be laughable.

  2. Sierra Madre business ownerMarch 6, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    What we are seeing in the struggle for the right to smoke is the awesome power of nicotine. Even though we must keep smokers from forcing others to inhale toxins, we also must remember to have compassion for the addicted. It's the nicotine talking. From the University of Minnesota:

    Tobacco is as addictive as heroin (as a mood & behavior altering agent).
    Nicotine is:
    1000 X more potent than alcohol
    10-100 X more potent than barbiturates
    5-10 X more potent than cocaine or morphine

  3. I don't patronize the outdoor dining establishments in Sierra Madre because -- not only the tobacco -- but because of the diesel, gasoline and carbon monoxide fumes engulfing the streetside tables! Really! The air should be tested.

  4. Its a Public Health Issue,Stupid,their so called "right" to foul the air of others is always trumped by Public Health concerns.This is not about Civil Liberties,,It's about the our right to healthy air space.

  5. The World's Largest Blossoming PlantMarch 6, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    Two points. The first being that the smell of burning leaves is genocidal to me, and as Sierra Madre's most beloved tourist attraction I think that my wishes need to be respected here. Secondly, you cannot make wine out of a Wisteria plant. So let's just drop that one right now.

  6. I can see it now. Sierra Madre, "The Sin City of the Foothills."
    Bring your wallet because you're going to have a real good

  7. Marie Rose, wait until the millionaires' suburb at the top of Baldwin is up & running - think about those added exhaust fumes!

  8. I just looked at the California Environmental Protection document linked here, and it says October of 2006. Is this the same thing the pro-tobacco people refer to on their website? Because there they claim this dicument is 15 years old. It isn't.

  9. No, it isn't the document the pro-folks refer to. They listed one that is indeed 15 years old...they prefer to discount the credentials of the CDC, California Air Resources Board, American Lung Association, etc. You know it's "there" right to only look at one ....

  10. At the Wine Walk I had a glass with a non alcoholic drink in it and the police forbid me to leave the shop. I told them it was not wine. Didn't matter. I should have ignored them. As usual Sierra Madre's finest would not listen. They were on a mission!

  11. Take a look at this site, it's a hoot!!

  12. If cigarettes had been just discovered they would never ever be legal. Never be legal.
    They are far too detrimental to health, of the smoker and the non-smoker who breathes their smoke.
    I used to smoke years ago, when I think of how I smoked cigarretes around my own makes me sick. I didn't know then, I even smoked around my poor grandmother who died of lung disease, although she never smoked, but was around all of us who did.
    Again, we didn't know......SIGH
    You smokers do why not be responsible citizens and accept restrictions.
    Your website/s are dumb. This is a crazy "cause".

  13. Hey Anon @11:29, what a find!
    Check out what they say to expect from those crazy antis:

  14. These websites are funded by the
    tobacco corporations. They're just
    a pack of lies designed to sucker
    the gullible into buying their crap.
    To see the knuckleheads in front
    of Beantown passing around this kind
    of propaganda and reading it like
    its some kind of great wisdom is
    just sad. I didn't know God made
    people quite that stupid.

  15. Why stop at smoking and alcohol? There's always prostitution and gambling. Maybe we could put up a few slot machines. Outdoors.

  16. Those websites are great! What they lack is funeral links...hey, they need to be supported too! Fact: Smokers lives are cut short by 13-15 years...hey to a 20 year old...that must be a lifetime...

  17. Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet

    Secondhand smoke, also know as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. It is involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers, lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.1

    The current Surgeon General’s Report concluded that scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Short exposures to secondhand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potentially increasing the risk of heart attack.2

    Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).3

    Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.4

    Secondhand smoke causes almost 50,000 deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, including approximately 3,400 from lung cancer and 22,700-69,600 from heart disease.5

    Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work are at increased risk for adverse health effects. Levels of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars were found to be 2 to 5 times higher than in residences with smokers and 2 to 6 times higher than in office workplaces.6

    Workplace productivity was increased and absenteeism was decreased among former smokers compared with current smokers.7

    Twenty-three states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Utah, and Vermont – as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.8

    Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children. Secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year, and causes 430 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths in the United States annually.9

    Secondhand smoke exposure may cause buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 790,000 physician office visits per year.10 Secondhand smoke can also aggravate symptoms in 400,000 to 1,000,000 children with asthma.11

    In the United States, 21 million, or 35 percent of, children live in homes where residents or visitors smoke in the home on a regular basis.12 Approximately 50-75 percent of children in the United States have detectable levels of cotinine, the breakdown product of nicotine in the blood.13

    Research indicates that private research conducted by cigarette company Philip Morris in the 1980s showed that secondhand smoke was highly toxic, yet the company suppressed the finding during the next two decades.14

    For more information on secondhand smoke, please review the Tobacco Morbidity and Mortality Trend Report as well as our Lung Disease Data publication in the Data and Statistics section of our website at, or call the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).

  18. roia - Looks like what yr describing
    here would be perfect for the Hotel
    Shirley. Put some red lights in the
    windows and it would be good to go.
    A nice historic touch for a city very
    concerned about its heritage.

  19. Protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and in the common areas of multi-family rental housing under circumstances where one (1) or more persons will be exposed to secondhand smoke;

    B. Ensure a cleaner and more hygienic envi-ronment for the city, its residents, and its natural resources;

    C. Strike a reasonable balance between the needs of persons who smoke and the needs of non-smokers, including children, to breathe smoke-free air, by recognizing the threat to public health and the environment that smoking causes, and by acknowledging that, when these needs conflict, the need to breath smoke-free air must prevail; and

    D. Recognize the right of city residents, workers, and visitors to be free from unwelcome secondhand smoke.

  20. On the smoking club site (yes, 11:29, a hoot indeed!) the argument is made that the pharmaceutical industry is behind smoking bans (it's a restriction), because the pharms want to cash in on their own nicotine delivery systems. The pharms have never, ever been penny wise and pound foolish - the medications, including chemotherapy, for the cancer stricken are undoubtedly one of their cash cows. From a business point of view, the pharmaceutical industry is much more interested in keeping smoking going strong. Just business, ya know.

  21. Smoke a Cigarette....go to Jail
    Clean up Dog Crap...go to Jail
    It truly is the Sierra Madre Way....

  22. Ignore facts...light up another one.
    It truly is a smoker's way...

  23. i wonder how many Sierra Madre cops it will take to arrest a smoker?

    they'll have guns drawn on smokers like they have done with kids in the city or box in an old grandmother with three police cars and have their hands on their holsters as they give her a traffic ticket

  24. Anonymous the XIVMarch 7, 2009 at 6:45 PM

    You know what they say. If you don't like cops the next time you need help call the purple haired kid from Monrovia smoking the clove cigarette in front of Beantown.

  25. you know it's really a self policing issue...people stop at stop signs don't they? Every time someone says the police will need to be called its saying that the smokers have total disregard for a law - I'm going to got out on a limb and suggest smokers (while they may not like a smoking ban) are not law breakers or are they?

  26. Really? Are you serious? It is not your choice to smoke or not smoke that makes people criminals. Just because there is a group of people who do something that others don't do, doesn't make us criminals.

  27. If it's legislated it does.