“A smoking ban is pretty much unenforceable in Seattle parks,” Parks Commissioner Jourdan Keith said today in protest of Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher’s ban on smoking in all city parks. “My concern is it will be disproportionately enforced to affect the few people who are already displaced—people who don’t have anywhere else to go.”
Keith heard this concern repeatedly during weeks of public testimony leading up to the board’s decision on February 11. As an asthma sufferer, Keith was proud of the board’s compromise to keep smokers in parks while minimizing their affect on others—hence the ban on smoking at beaches, play fields, playgrounds, and within 25 feet of other park users.
Gallagher sat through the three-hour-long meeting while board members debated this issue (going an hour over the meeting’s scheduled time to do so), only to reject their recommendation in favor of a full ban yesterday.
What happens when we have large events like Seafair? Keith asks. Will we have hoards of officials out ticketing hoards of smokers? Or will police primarily use the ban against the homeless, the poor, and street kids?
And again, no answer from Gallagher, who is out enjoying his hard-earned vacation.