The Dillingham City council will bring back a proposal to ban smoking in bars. After a vote in May that failed to advance the ban to committee, the council Thursday night decided to put the topic on the agenda for its next meeting.
Dillingham resident Adam Kane urged the council to take direct action and ban smoking in time for the busy summer season. Kane argued that a smoking ban would not hurt business and would have positive health benefits.
"I've heard some arguments of well, people have the choice to go to a bar or not. People also have a choice to go to a grocery store or restaurant or park. All of those are prohibited. To use that argument doesn't make sense," said Kane.
Councilman Bob Himschoot moved to put the item on the agenda for the June 13th meeting. No vote is scheduled, but the council will discuss if and how it wants to consider the proposed ban. The ban could move forward in a different vehicle: A citizen’s initiative. An application has for that has been submitted to the city. If the council does not act, Kane says he will begin to gather signatures to put the smoking ban before voters in an October election.
Himschoot says he wants to the council to look at the issue before that happens.
"I don't think that letting it go straight to referendum is actually...I think we're avoiding a bit of our responsibility there. I think we should have it on the agenda at least so the council can discuss what direction to take it," said Himschoot.
The council will meet next Thursday, June 13th. Mayor Alice Ruby:
"Putting it on the agenda provides a good place for the public to approach the council. It's not as informal as a committee, but it's a good forum for you to get input from the citizens," said Ruby.
The campaign to ban smoking has gotten traction online in recent weeks. Proponent Apayo Moore has collected 330 facebook likes in favor of the smoking ban.