Palmer Stands by His Vote

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Meridian City Councilman Jesse Palmer confirmed Thursday that he will not vote to override a mayoral veto of a no-smoking ordinance.

Mayor John Robert Smith vetoed the bill that applied to many public places. It passed 3 to 2 on Nov. 2.

"It was an action that I had asked for and called for during the council meeting when it all came up, in order to give people a chance to step back and take a good look and see if this is something we really can live with," said Palmer. "I advocated that action at the meeting. In other words, I asked the mayor to veto it. I would vote to sustain it."

It has been suggested representatives of the American Cancer Society, sponsor of the bill, the Hospitality and Restaurant industry, the opponents, and councilmen representing both sides of the vote get together to see if there is a middle ground.

"Some of the places that have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to build their places and they didn't build it actually to conform with that particular statute, you know, where they can separate and have an area where they can allow smoking and where they do not allow smoking," Palmer said.

Palmer called it one of the most divisive issues in the 16 years he has been on the council.

Palmer and Councilman George Thomas voted against the ordinance. Bobby Smith, Mary Perry and Barbara Henson voted in favor.

Newscenter 11 contacted Councilman Bobby Smith, who introduced the ordinance, but he declined to speak on camera about the issue.