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Keeping Cigs Off Sidewalks: Whose Job Is It?

At least one observer thinks so after scanning the pavement outside one Silver Lake restaurant over the weekend.

Silver Lake Neighborhood Council member Leonardo Chalupowicz had an intriguing post on his Facebook page Monday:

Silver Lake has become a fun place to go out for drinks and dinner, but one of the unintended consequences of this is that customers smoke in the street in front of those establishments, and most of the places don't have a plan in place to responsibly dispose of cigarette butts. They are thrown on the sidewalk or the curb, and the next morning sidewalks get washed and the butts go to the ocean. It would be great if the owners provide ashtrays where people gather to smoke and then sweep and pick up the butts. THANK YOU!

Chalupowicz took the above photo of the curb near Parkman Avenue and Sunset Boulevard and posted it on Facebook to illustrate his point.

A member of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council's Urban Design and Preservation Committee, Chaluopowicz says he plans to present a proposal at tonight's meeting to send a letter to business owners regarding the issue.

He also hopes to make such awareness a requirement for new liquor licensees as well.

Is Chalupowicz right:

-Are ashtrays in short supply on smoking patios in Echo Park, Los Feliz and Silver Lake?

-Should establishment owners do a better job of providing ashtrays to patrons and encouraging them to use them?

Tell us in comments what you think.

Will Campbell July 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM
What would be great is if the esteemed and well-meaning neighborhood councilmember knew the law. That way he wouldn't waste everybodies time putting forth a useless proposal that would in effect facilitate what is in fact now illegal. It has been illegal to light up in outdoor dining areas in Los Angeles since March 2011 when a new law that took effect to protect restaurant patrons from secondhand smoke. The Los Angeles ordinance prohibits smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas and food courts and within 40 feet of food carts and mobile food trucks. Violators, both customers and businesses, face fines of up to $500. Thus, the last thing needed is a proposal demanding ashtrays be placed in areas where smoking is banned.
cheryl revkin July 03, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thanks for pointing out the law, Will, but it seems its not being enforced. Kukos to Leonardo for documenting the damage that continues to plague our storm drains and ultimately our ocean. I love the idea of our Neighborhood Council reminding our businesses that they could help with this issue and therefore make Silver Lake an exemplary environmentally conscious community.
kkurman July 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This may come as a surprise to non-smokers but some smokers are people too, with, or at least they should have, rights. I would appreciate there being an ashtray provided where I enjoy my moment of exile from 'polite' society. I, personally, don't toss my butt on the sidewalk, I remove the burning tip and find a trashcan to dispose of it, but I realize that others don't, but would appreciate and use an ashtray if it were provided. I get it that non-smokers don't like stinky smokers in their midst, but once removed I would appreciate it if they would share their pious proclamations to amongst themselves. All your dreams have come true, we have been pushed to the margins, banished from the 'purity' of your environment, at least try and allow that we may have some semblance of civic responsibility and would use an ashtray if it was provided. It was no less a personage than Helen Mirren who sauntered up to me on the smoking terrace of the BH Hotel to say hello, I offered her a fag and she declined, "Oh, I don't smoke, but this is were all the interesting people are..." I don't know what you all are talking about, but too bad its missing all the poets, artists, dissidents and 'characters' who assemble out on the curb, and we laugh, not always at your expense. If only there was an ashtray, oh, well, this is whats expected, I guess, so there you go. There is a perspective on the universe that extends beyond 'ten feet from the door', just sayin'...
Will Campbell July 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I agree Cheryl. The irony is that this continued situation is largely the establishments' doing (whether because they don't know the law or choose not to enforce it). The law's implementation was delayed a full year specifically so that affected businesses would have plenty of time to develop policy and mount the appropriate signage to increase awareness. Many have failed to do so more than a year later. I should also clarify that many bars and nightclubs are exempt from this ban and the community would certainly benefit if those owners took the initiative to provide smokers with appropriate methods of butt disposal.
bouncer July 04, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I have been a bouncer at a popular Silver Lake bar for 15 years. I stand at the entrance of the bar which is right on the sidewalk. We provide Two ash cans and one free standing ash tray. Most of the butts are smashed on the ground all around the ash trays. On a crowded weekend night when the bar is closed there are hundreds of cigarette butts on the sidewalk an inch away from an ashtray. Smokers are the most inconsiderate litterers I've ever encountered. And @kkurman, cigarettes don't make a person interesting, intelligence does and and an intelligent person would know that cigarette smoking is going to possible kill you and possibly kill the person next to you at an outdoor restaurant who is breathing in your second hand smoke. And for that matter kill the creatures that make the ocean their home when TONS of your cigarette butts flow into the ocean. If you don't care about humans at least care about the sea creatures when you toss your butt out the window or smash or flick it on the street.
kkurman July 04, 2012 at 03:11 PM
i agree with you, that's totally disgusting. I also agree that it is not the cigarette that makes the person interesting. In fact, the whole argument is indefensible. As with so many things, the rotten apple spoils the basket, I just happen to be in a basket with a bunch of rotten apples. One responsible smoker does not a population make. And since I can't and won't defend the gross offenders I'll cede the ground, but not in silence, I will continue to call people on their offense.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) July 04, 2012 at 06:40 PM
@Happy 4th everyone. Great commenting. Appreciate it. Would love to hear from dissenting outdoor smokes and restaurant owners on this one.
bouncer July 04, 2012 at 10:41 PM
@kkurman. I really appreciate your honesty. It would be great for people and the environment if more smokers thought like you. Happy 4th!

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