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Burlington mayor vetoes smoking ban

January 13, 2012
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BURLINGTON, Vt.—The mayor of Vermont's largest city on Friday vetoed an outdoor smoking ban in downtown Burlington, saying the ordinance is difficult to enforce and doesn't protect some employees from secondhand smoke.

The Burlington City Council voted Monday to ban outdoor smoking in most of the downtown between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The ban exempts outdoor cafes and private alleys.

Mayor Bob Kiss said Friday that the ban is a compromise that is bad public policy.

"The smoking ordinance opens the door to difficult, inconsistent and selective enforcement by law enforcement officers. This is a bad result for everyone," Kiss wrote to the city council.

"The Ordinance Committee needs to stay at the drawing board and put something together that isn't hypocritical and works," he said.

Kiss said the ordinance encompasses too large an area for non-smoking, and is riddled with exceptions to allow smoking on private property -- in the alleyways behind stores, bars and restaurants and where private property is available for use -- or in outdoor cafes or from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. every night.

He also said it would be unfair to some employees who work on Church Street Marketplace who would have to walk a long way to find legal areas to smoke.

City Councilor Joan Shannon said Monday that the ban isn't perfect. She called it a compromise that will probably have to be revisited.

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