By Irma Avelar
On Nov. 1, at 6 p,m., the San Fernando City Council will be voting on an ordinance that would essentially make multi-unit housing smoke-free.
This is a life-changing opportunity for everyone regardless of which side of the issue you stand, and if you think this issue doesn’t involve you, I implore you to reconsider.
Do you have family or friends who live in apartment? If so, this issue involves you because whether you believe it or not, smoking kills, and it makes no exemptions. Just because a wall exists and a door closes doesn’t mean that you are safe. Smoke travels through windows, fans, light fixtures, walls, you name it.
The only way it won’t seep into a home, is if it doesn’t exist in the first place. No smoke, no secondhand inhalation, and in some people’s case, this can also mean no inhaler.
My friend’s younger brother suffered from asthma most of his life. They lived here in this city for many years, and like any other children, they enjoyed playing together, whether it was tag, hide-n-seek, or just racing around the wooden playground at Las Palmas Park.
But unlike other kids, they took frequent breaks, compulsively monitored his breathing, and most importantly, stayed vigilant of any smokers. They lived in a multi-unit home and like many of you who are reading this, also lived with smokers. Never in their wildest dreams, did they imagine someday they’d have the chance to change their living conditions. They only had one choice: get as far away as possible.
But today that is not the case. Because on Nov. 1, the City Council is taking a vote on an ordinance that would give multi-unit residents a breath of fresh air.
Back in May, we visited apartments throughout the city and handed out free masks and information. Many of you shared your stories with us, and 98 of you signed a postcard that stated you “support policies that protect City of San Fernando residents from unwanted drifting secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing.”
On Nov. 1 our coalition, “Healthy Lungs y Vidas Saludables, will be there to represent each and every one of you. If we did not have the pleasure of meeting you or hearing your story, it’s not too late to let your voice be heard. You can submit your commentary by emailing CityClerk@sfcity.org no later than 4:00 p.m. the day of the meeting or by calling (818) 898-1204.
The meeting will stream live from the city’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CityOfSanFernando.
Irma Avelar is a representative for the Healthy Lungs y Vidas Saludables Coalition.