Voters voiced their support for the issue last Tuesday. However, tonight the council decided 5 to 3 to go against the voters decision.
People who worked to get the smoking ban passed say they are in total disbelief. They say they did everything they needed to do, and they felt tonight would just be a formality to pass the ordinance. But the city council didn't see it that way. Co-Chairperson of Smoke Free Webb City Krista Stark was shocked that council voted it down. She says, "We thought that the will of the people, and however the vote turned out, would be enacted by the city council."
The ordinance to ban smoking in public places in Webb City passed in last weeks election with 56% of the voters deciding they wanted smoking out of the cities restaurants, bars, and workplaces. Webb City Mayor John Biggs says that he was surprised council didn't take up the ban. He says, "Well obviously some council members believe their opinions are more important than their constituents."
Opponents at tonight's city council meeting voiced concerns over personal property rights, and their rights of freedom of choice. And while he didn't agree with it, Biggs says it was within council's right not to approve it. He says, "This is a republic and they are all elected. They don't agree with me. I have the satisfaction of knowing that most of the voters agreed with me, but we'll move on."
Supporters of the ban say they were fighting for the rights of workers so they wouldn't have to breathe the second hand smoke.
The Smoke Free Webb City coalition says the fight is far from over. They will first look into a referendum to get the issue on the ballot again and to make the results binding. Stark says if that's not available they may have other options. She says, "If recall of city council people is available, then we will probably pursue that route."
Council members Edwards, Monson, Meredith, Fisher, and wilson voted against the ban.
Council members Goodall, Darby, and Mense were in favor of approving it.