Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Liberty? Cleveland bans outdoor smoking, trans fat in restaurants...

Cleveland City Council Decides on Smoking, Trans Fat, Food Trucks

CLEVELAND—City council wants to make Cleveland a healthier place to live and work. Monday night, council approved legislation that will affect how you eat and breathe.

"We are going to surpass other cities. We not only have better institutions, we have better people," said councilman Joe Cimperman.

Cimperman is sponsoring an initiative called "Healthy Cleveland." Part of his plan includes an outdoor smoking ban.

During Monday's meeting, council voted to approve a smoking ban on city-owned properties, including public parks, pools and picnic areas. "You won't be able to smoke in front of City Hall anymore. You won't be able to smoke at a playground," said Cimperman.

Smokers will be prohibited within 150 feet of a city-owned place of employment. City golf courses, cemeteries and lakefront fishing piers will be exempt from the ban. The smoking ban will take effect 60 days after the Mayor signs the legislation.

"A lot of this is going to be based on trust," said Cimperman.

Cleveland restaurants will now have to revise their recipes. By July of 2013, trans fats will be banned from prepared food in city restaurants. "You look at KFC, Applebee's, Wal-Mart, they're already getting rid of it," said Cimperman.

Anyone who violates either ordinance will get a warning. Second-time violaters will have to pay a $150 fine and subsquent violators will pay a $250 fine.

After months of haggling, food trucks owners score a victory. Council also voted to allow mobile food vendors to set up shop in the central business district.

"We recognize the legislation is going to be tweaked in November but we got to give it a shot because we have so many people who are entrepenuers, small business people. We can't discriminate because one group of people say they don't want them here," said Cimperman.