by Andrew Crisp
Tuesday's City Council work sessions on proposed smoke-free ordinances attracted an audience of more than 200 from 4-5:30 p.m. and again from 6-7:45 p.m.
"Smoking is a disease ... it is an addiction," said Don Curtis, who lost both his brother-in-law and sister to cancer.
Lucas Grubbs said: "I do enjoy a good cigar from time to time. ... I was impressed that there were some bars [in Boise] who allow smoking and some who don't. ... I do firmly believe that bars should have the choice."
Jason Prettyboy represented the Native American Coalition, which voiced concerns about the use of a pipe or other lit instrument in their religious ceremonies. Ralph Blount of the City Attorney's Office was confident that the U.S. Constitution trumped any city smoking ban for religious usage of tobacco.
The evening was not without its emotion. A presenter asked the City Council where the Constitution allowed for smoking restrictions. City Council member Alan Shealy responded that the courts have thrown out cases alleging rights of smokers. He and the man interrupted one another as the man left the podium.
"Don't waste our time with this constitutional BS," said Shealy.
In between the afternoon and evening sessions, protesters from Murtadha "Ali" Alsudani's Broadway Avenue Ali Baba hookah bar picketed City Hall. They held signs like "Stop making the economy worse!" and sported a petition of 300 names collected at their establishment last week.
When the public hearing sessions came to a close, the Council approved a motion to send both ordinances to the Oct. 25 schedule, when they will begin a process of three readings at three separate meetings before a final vote in November. If approved, the ordinance would become effective on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012.
A time line of Boise Weekly's live Twitter coverage of the hearing: