March 15, 2006 - Marana's town council voted down a proposed smoking ordinance twice last week but passed the measure with a third vote.
Almost identical to Pima County's, the adopted ordinance would be superseded by a state law should voters approve a statewide smoking ban in November.
Smoke-Free Arizona would outlaw smoking in restaurants and bars, while Marana's adopted ordinance allows smoking in bars, defined as businesses that sell more alcohol than food.
Under Marana's ordinance, a restaurant could build a designated smoking area with a ventilation system, completely separated from non-smoking areas. Town Attorney Frank Cassidy came up with two options for the ordinance, which he explained to the council at its March 7 meeting.
The first would ban smoking in restaurants until the establishment finishes its renovations to create a designated smoking area.
The second option would allow smoking to continue even before a restaurant has finished work on its smoking section, as long as the business meets deadlines for submitting applications and completing construction.
Councilwoman Carol McGorray moved to approve the second option, but the council voted 4 to 3 against the motion.
Councilwoman Patti Comerford then moved to approve the first option, but changed the definition of a bar to a business whose alcohol sales reach just 40 percent, not a majority.
The council shot down this motion with another 4-3 vote.
Several people in the audience sighed.
"Wait," Mayor Ed Honea said. "I don't think anybody on this council is against a smoking ordinance. Maybe we're just trying to do too much too fast."
The mayor suggested scheduling a study session to hash out differences, but Comerford - who voted against McGorray's initial motion - wanted to take one last vote.
She would change her vote, if it means the passage of the smoking ordinance, she explained.
After some confusion, the council voted to reconsider McGorray's motion.
Finally, the smoking ordinance passed by a vote of 5 to 2.
Councilman Tim Escobedo voted against the final motion. Vice Mayor Herb Kai voted against all three motions.
Business owners, not the town, should decide on whether to allow smoking, Kai said during a discussion of the ordinance at a Feb. 28 town council meeting.
Only proponents of the ordinance addressed the town council at its last two meetings.
"I've been expecting this," said Harold Jaggers, manager at the Waffle House on Ina Road.
The small restaurant has just three non-smoking booths. The ordinance will negatively affect business, Jaggers said.
People can still smoke at the Old Father Inn, a bar on Ina Road, where alcohol accounts for about 60 percent of sales, owner Frank Silverman said.
In addition, bowling alleys and pool halls can allow smoking.
However, "everything becomes smoke-
less if the statewide initiative passes," Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat reminded everyone.
The ordinance goes into effect the first week of April.