Breaking news from the Little Rock Zoo, through spokeswoman Susan Altrui:
The Zoo Board of Governors unanimously passed a ban on smoking in the Zoo last night. There will be no designated smoking areas for the public, only a designated smoking area for staff that is not within view of the public and is determined by the zoo director. The resolution also allows smoking 100 feet from the entrance of any building during after-hour events where children are not allowed and where everyone attending the event must be at least 21 years of age. This would apply to fundraising events such as Zoo Year’s Eve and Wild Wines of the World and More. The resolution was passed unanimously by all members of the board accept Rene Doty who was absent from the meeting. The board currently has only 8 members. JJ Vigneault resigned from the board recently leaving a vacancy. The resolution originally said that if a patron refused to comply with the policy after being asked by zoo staff to comply that the Little Rock Police Department should assist in the removal of the patron from the premises However, to require the Little Rock Police Department to do as such would require an ordinance from the Board of Directors so the Zoo Board of Governors changed it to state that the zoo director will take action as he deems appropriate. The resolution was delivered to Bruce Moore this morning and will go into effect immediately. I’m attaching a copy for you to view. The resolution was introduced by Tad Bohannon.
Vigneault's departure didn't hurt. He's been a tobacco lobbyist. The Zoo still falls short of the city's suggested guideline on no smoking in city parks. Any preservation of a smoking area for employees or guests is in violation of that policy, which is not enforceable since it has not been adopted by ordinance. Somebody is still hanging hard onto the cancer sticks, but this is an improvement.
UPDATE: Altrui says this policy will not go into effect immediately. City Hall is now saying — though it has never said this before relative to zoo smoking rules — that it might be necessary for the City Board of Directors to approve any rules relative to smoking in the zoo. The new policy will be on hold, until that question is resolved.
Here's a simple solution for the City Board: Pass an ordinance banning smoking in public parks.
UPDATE II FROM ZOO: "City Manager Bruce Moore says that the policy is consistent with other city policies and that he will uphold the resolution."
This is all kind of weird, don't you think?