City officials Tuesday said the announcement validated the four months of public debate and political posturing that consumed City Hall last year as the City Council worked to pass an ordinance in October that restricted smoking on nearly all publicly accessible property.
“It shows what can be done when you have a little bit of courage and take a step in front,” said Sam Engel, administrator for Glendale’s Neighborhood Services Division, the lead department for enforcing the new laws.
It was also a remarkable turn of events for a city not particularly known for being “impulsive,” Mayor John Drayman said.
“I think in this case, it might have been seen as sudden, but there was a lot of research and groundwork that went into it,” he said.
The new report put Burbank, which had been held up in elite company as a trailblazer for citywide smoking restrictions, behind Glendale, disappointing officials who had championed one of the county’s first anti-smoking ordinances.
“I am disappointed that we dropped a level,” said Burbank City Councilwoman Marsha Ramos, who as mayor lobbied hard for the city’s anti-smoking ordinance in 2007. “Last year, that A grade meant everything to me.”
In determining the grades, the American Lung Assn. did not necessarily look at how the laws were being enforced, instead focusing on the extent to which municipal laws restricted smoking outdoors, in multiunit housing and tobacco sales. Point values were assigned according to how restrictive each city’s laws were in 14 sub-categories.
The lower grades could provoke a renewed interest to strengthen restrictions, Ramos said.
“I think the momentum is coming, but you never know,” she said.