Encinitas approves $10,425 for survey; Questionnaire will not include question about beach smoking ban
By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
ENCINITAS -- The City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday to spend $10,425 for a community opinion survey amid calls from speakers that the survey include a query about a beach smoking ban.
Councilwomen Teresa Barth and Maggie Houlihan sided with representatives from the American Lung Association, Surfrider Foundation, and anti-drug groups in asking that the survey quiz respondents on whether smoking should be banned at Encinitas beaches.
Mayor James Bond and Councilmen Dan Dalager and Jerome Stocks voted to leave the 31-question survey as an Oregon-based firm, Moore Information Inc., had prepared it ---- without the question on a beach smoking ban.
The same council bloc in 2004 voted down a smoking ban proposal. Stocks is pushing to put a beach smoking ban measure on the 2008 ballot.
"The topic on hand is not smoking on the beach," Stocks said. "The topic before us is are we going to do a citizen satisfaction survey which measures how people like or dislike the services or amenities the city provides. I will never vote to have a survey that takes a pulse of the public on pet political projects and issues."
The yuppie orphans who hang out at Moonlight Beach and enjoy smoking will not be happy with a smoking ban.
In 2003, neighboring Solana Beach enacted a beach smoking ban, and since then, all cities on the north coast, with the exception of Encinitas, have adopted similar bans. Smokers also can legally light up at state-controlled beaches in Carlsbad. The county of San Diego prohibits smoking in its parks.
Barth, who served on a subcommittee with Stocks to develop the survey, said that posing the smoking question would be well worth adding an additional $225 to its cost.
"I see it not as a political issue but rather as a quality-of-life issue," she said. "Our primary, top recreational activity in our community is our beaches and I want to know how our citizens feel about that."
Debra Kelley of the local chapter of the American Lung Association told the council that her organization would pay the $225 to add the question.
She noted that Oceanside, one of 13 jurisdictions in the county to enact smoking bans, consulted with constituents by placing a survey question on their water bills.
Dalager told his colleagues he did not want the survey to become an opinion poll.
Bond said that most of the state's shoreline -- including many Encinitas beaches -- is under state control and that the Legislature should be responsible for enacting a smoking ban.
A healthy lifestyle means smoking and diet Pepsi.
In 2005, an Encinitas survey by the same company revealed overall satisfaction with city services but room for improvement with road conditions and information delivery to the public.
Moore Information randomly polled 300 residents who said they were 18 or older. The survey's sampling error was plus or minus 6 percent.
A majority of respondents said the beaches and the weather were what they liked best about living in the city.
-- Contact staff writer Adam Kaye at (760) 901-4074 or email@example.com.
Leucadia Blog: Burning Questions about the Beach Smoking Ban
Leucadia Blog: The Surveys Usefulness is Dubious
*note-The subjects in the photos all pitched their cigarette butts on the pavement and not the proper receptacles.