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Santa Fe Plaza smoking bans moves to hearing

SANTA FE, N.M. — The only smoke seen during this year’s Santa Fe Bandstand series could be coming from Larry Mitchell’s guitar.

The Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to publish notice of a public hearing to be held May 10 on a proposed amendment that would ban smoking — of cigarettes, cigars, pipes “or any other device that produces smoke” — during the popular music series held on weeknights for seven weeks during the summer at the city’s downtown Plaza.smoking

The ban would also include the use of vaporizers. The city ordinance says “smoke” also means “the gaseous products, vapor or particles” produced by a smoking device.

The proposed change to the city ordinance banning smoking during Bandstand events was brought by City Councilor Signe Lindell, with councilors Carmichael Dominguez, Peter Ives and Renee Villarreal signing on as co-sponsors.

The current ordinance restricts such activities as bicycling, skateboarding, playing ball and animals not on a leash in Plaza Park, but doesn’t address smoking.

According to city documents, Bandstand organizers have received numerous complaints about smoking during concerts. The Fiscal Impact Report says that those people who still wish to smoke during music shows can do so, “but from a greater distance so as not to impact the greater population of concert-goers.”

Anyone found smoking on the Plaza from an hour before scheduled shows until before they end would be subject to the same punishment for violating the other restrictions at Plaza Park: a warning on the first offense, a $50 fine for a second offense, and a $100 fine for a third offense.

This year’s Bandstand runs from July 5 to Aug. 25 and generally features local and regional performers. While the concert schedule hasn’t been announced yet, in past years shows have featured such acts as Chango, Nacha Mendez, Alex Maryol, Jono Manson, the Sean Healen Band, Syd Masters & The Swing Riders, and Grammy Award winners Robert Mirabal and Larry Mitchell.

Before the meeting, City Councilor Ron Trujillo, who has announced he is running for mayor in 2018, said he would like to see a ban on smoking and chewing tobacco in all of the city’s parks. He said he proposed that idea several years ago, “but it didn’t get very far.”

“I’ve gone to parks and seen people smoking right in front of where children are playing,” he said. “I’ve also seen people chewing tobacco and seen wades of tobacco on bleachers and spit. That shouldn’t be happening around children.”

Trujillo said he may revive the effort to ban the use of tobacco in parks.

“Let’s see how this one goes, first,” he said.

During the meeting, Ives said he had recently gotten a call from former city councilor Frank Montaño, who suggested to him that the ban should apply to all city parks.

“Maybe that’s not a bad idea,” Ives said.