Murrieta smokers lost a little more space to light up Tuesday night.
The Murrieta City Council clarified and strengthened its public smoking law by banning all smoking in city-owned parks, adjoining parking lots and open spaces and trails. The city had passed a law banning smoking within 15 feet of children’s playgrounds and athletic fields.
“The ordinance we have now has some gray areas,” Murrieta Community Services Manager Debbie Tharp said Tuesday night. “It was hard for our police department and rangers to patrol and monitor. This makes it easier to have it clear where you can and cannot smoke.”
If caught smoking in city-owned areas, violators can be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second within a year and $500 for any violations after that.
Resident Diana Serafin was the only person to speak on the issue. She said she has been smoking for 40 years and is, “one of those hated smokers.”
She said she makes sure to light up away from people and makes sure to dispose her cigarettes in the proper manner.
“Have a little mercy on us,” she said. “Think twice before you pass this and make us a villain. By the way, we pay heavy taxes to smoke and that money goes to the city.”
The Council members unanimously approved of the ordinance.