It was a big day for non-smokers and tenants in San Francisco Tuesday, as the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed two ordinances in their favor.
Both Supervisor Eric Mar’s ordinance extending smoking restrictions to most unenclosed public places and Supervisor John Avalos’ ordinance extending just cause protections under foreclosure received a 10 – 0 vote.
Both ordinances will go for a second and final vote on March 16. The mayor intends to support both, according to Tony Winnicker, communications director for the mayor.
“This [smoking] legislation will protect thousands of San Franciscans from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” Mar urged his colleagues before the vote. “It’s really a two-and-a-half year campaign … to strengthen our historic 1994 anti-smoking ordinance, which bans smoking in many enclosed areas.”
Despite concern from some bar and restaurant owners and workers in the Mission, Avalos, the smoking ordinance’s co-sponsor, insisted it would bring a great amount of good while doing the least amount of harm.
“We were able to make these regulations without impacting businesses and businesses can still thrive,” Avalos said before the vote. “I think we’ll see people who will continue to frequent restaurants they care about and restaurants will be a better place to eat without the threat of secondhand smoke.”
After the meeting, Mar expressed surprise at the unanimous support from his colleagues, but said it was mostly because of “the force of what John [Avalos] said and the strong community backing.”
Avalos’ own just cause ordinance would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants who live in post-1979 units that have been foreclosed.
“I expected it to go through because we narrowed it down,” Avalos said after the meeting in reference to his prior just cause legislation that did not pass when the board failed to override the mayor’s veto. “The mayor’s office worked with us on developing the policy [for the current legislation]. We wrote it but they gave us input on it, so it was clearly a consensus at the end of the day.”