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By Donna Westfall – January 4, 2018 –
Did you know that it’s been 20 years since the smoking ban went into effect for bars? Did you further know that the local Veterans Memorial Building Canteen located at 810 H Street in Crescent City simply ignored the law?

Not any more.

Enter Alan “Chuck” Orton. 72 year old Chuck, is a veteran and stroke survivor which means he shouldn’t be around smokers period. He states he’s tried to get smoking banned in the Canteen for years and has largely been ignored.

I met Chuck when he popped in for a few minutes at this morning’s Town Hall Meeting at Fisherman’s Restaurant. His goal, to personally thank Supervisor 1st District, Roger Gitlin, for getting the ban on smoking accomplished.

Chuck said that when he complained at the Canteen about the smoking, “some women starting cussing me out.”

Gitlin didn’t want to take the credit. “Chuck, you came to me with a problem. I spoke to Chief Administrative Officer, Jay Sarina. Jay notified the Canteen that the law would be enforced. This is the way our job as supervisor should work.”

Thanks go to Supervisor 5th District, Bob Berkowitz, for organizing The Town Hall Meeting; a public forum so the people have a voice. This is how it should work. But it only works if you speak up.

5 thoughts on “No More Smoking at Vet Hall Canteen!”
  1. The Cantina is located inside a county building and signs have been posted on the building for years that smoking is prohibited within 25 feet, per County Code 9.12. Government Code Section 7596-7597 prohibits smoking in all state, county, and city government buildings, including California community college district buildings, as well as within 20 feet from their main exits, entrances, or operable windows, and in any passenger vehicle owned by the state.

    Labor Code Section 6404.5 covers the smoking prohibitions in bars, restaurants, etc. Under this Labor Code it is very clear “This subdivision shall be enforced by local law enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, local health departments, as determined by the local governing body.”

    The Cantina is not “private property” as they would lead you to believe, it is located in a county building and the smoking prohibition is in effect 24 hours/7 days a week. Hope this helps.

    As I related in my previous posting there is a long history of how smoking was being allowed inside a county building. The local governing body (BOS) has not given the enforcement authority to the local health dept to ensure compliance.

    1. There’s a part missing. If a county ‘lets’ (rents, whatever) a building to a person or entity, it’s no longer a county building per se for that period of time. And I’m pretty sure the Canteen is a private club which would exempt it from laws otherwise applicable. Maybe there’s explanations to these gaps. I’m not taking sides, I’m just trying to figure out if the county overstepped here.

  2. This is great news. There is a long history on how smoking was covertly allowed at the Vets Hall. Ironically this issue was brought to the CAO by a concerned county employee years ago but he failed to confront the issue and allowed smoking to continue. Now the hard part…, enforcement. Supervisors need to visit the Cantina to ensure the law is being complied with. My guess is that the ban will be ignored by the Cantina staff. Law enforcement will need to be involved to issue citations as county health inspections do not have the authority to ensure compliance. The BOS has the authority to give health inspectors oversight of the smoking prohibition, to include issuing citations and closing down the Cantina for noncompliance. Credit to Chuck for speaking up!

    1. Jeff, what law are you referring to? The Canteen is a private club. Is there a new law that prohibits smoking on private property? In other words, if police are called what law would they be enforcing? Just wondering, any info would be appreciated. I’m not advocating one way or the other.

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