Voice: E.C. police need to crack down on smoking in bars

March 16, 2002

Abdel Salem, El Centro city manager

Dear Sir:

I'm a member of the tobacco coalition here in Imperial County and on their behalf I'd like to appeal to you for some assistance with a persistent problem.

Though smoking in bars has been illegal for more than three years in California there are still a few establishments that refuse to comply. I of course am most familiar with those in El Centro, such as Erma's Place, El Rancho Grande and Vallarta. Our tobacco coordinator, Terri Shiffer, is of course cognizant of countywide "offenders."

Rosie Nava, our former coordinator, and Ms. Shiffer have repeatedly educated the bar owners and managers to no avail. They all but blow smoke in their faces. Nor have repeated calls to the Police Department helped. When/if the police respond, a "warning" is usually all that is issued. After three years we think citations are more in order.


Terri and I have even spoken personally with the police chief, over a year ago in fact, and were basically told the Police Department is too busy with "high-priority" calls.

We empathize with the P.D. and of course do not expect the officers to place smoking in bars above homicides and the like; however, we asked that perhaps the officers could randomly visit local bars when they were able and cite those smoking. We feel that the problem would be shortlived if this happened. Our suggestion fell on deaf ears.

This is why we are appealing to you for help. We would appreciate anything you could do to facilitate compliance with the law.



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