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80% of People Living in MUDs Want to Live SMoke-free Affair with Smoke-free Housing Alice: Narrating the personal Anna I am not going away not by a long shot. The smoke-free housing saga continues Answers to Frequently Asked Questions including Grandfathering Anti-smoking champ honoured for PUSH Any defensive discussion indefensible April Lifting the Veil off of Quiet Enjoyment Arabian COUGHING Poster At the Core of Smoke-Free Housing Workplace violence and bullying ATTRIBUTE REQUIRED TO SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISH BEING SMOKE-FREE AUTHORITIES for Smoke-free Housing BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL Decides Crescent Housing Societys Application To Dismiss Lacking in Substance Concreteness and Good Faith (Another Debacle) BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL hears first case on SHS in MUDs Monday April 2 – Wednesday April 4 2012 Cancer in non-smoker sparks legal action Australia CLEANING UP TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS COMMUNITY DISCUSSION FORM Comparing “big” and “too small to matter” crises and catastrophes Demand for non-smoking apartments next to impossible Do you struggle with the problem of drifting second-hand smoke in your home? What you can do looks like 2011 DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH THE PROBLEM OF SECONDHAND SMOKE DRIFT What Struggle Looks like Drewlo Holdings Building More Smoke-free Apartments DROs Ways to Strengthen a Bid for Smoke-free Housing Ethical Dilemma of Smoke-free Housing EX-SMOKERS ARE UNSTOPPABLE flash mob dance Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing Governance by Dysfunctional Boards How the Smoke-free Housing Initiative inadvertently opened up governance for public scrutiny Grandfathering How does it apply to smokers Grandfathering Smoke freely Grandfathering Smokes License to Smoke License for Abuse GROUNDHOG DAY PUSHing the Drift to Smoke-free Housing GROUNDHOG DAY 2012: Secondhand smoke from grandfathered smokers takes a wee hit How Provincial and Municipal Bylaws Apply for MUDs in BC HR DECISION ORDERS “METRO ONE” TO CEASE ITS DISCRIMINATION AND REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING A SIMILAR CONTRAVENTION IN THE FUTURE INJUNCTIVE RELIEF A court order to Do this and Stop doing that Inspiring story behind SMOKE-FREE CARS ACT 2007 knowledge exchange Krossa from Maple Ridge Dare Extend Ideation For Smoke-free Housing Lung cancer kills non-smoker McDaniels thank supporters Measuring second-hand smoke drift in non-smokers: Prove it Medical Marijuana NEWS ~ NEWS ~ NEWS London ON New Apartment Building Opts for Smoke-free and Utilizing Grants to Encourage Smoke-free Housing NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY YOUR TIME HAS COME NSRAs rebuttal of Harpers Gut of Federal Tobacco Control Program People imagining a smoke-free world Picture Worth a Thousand Words Premier Christy Clark announces Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) Sense and scent-ability: Do you smell second-hand smoke in your home? SHS Is Not Simply An Issue Between Neighbours Slaying the Myth of Right-To-Smoke and In-My-Home SMOKE DAMAGE - Voices from the Front Lines of Tobacco Wars Smoke-free at Last Smoke-free housing Litany of motivations and obstructions Smoke-free Housing: An award winning direction Standardize your letters and claims: Make them all the same Steps to Designating Smoking Area in Common Areas and Avoiding Misrepresentation STORIES: Heart of the Matter Strata concedes failure to accommodate McDaniels TENANTS' FUME IN SMOKE-FEST ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT COSTING THOUSANDS The 'In-Perpetuity' of National Non-Smoking Week Thinking Petition? Draft a report instead. Trials Against Big Tobacco Reveal Internal Documents Stating Lethal Hazard Of Smoking And Environmental Tobacco Smoke TRIBUNAL GRANTS COMPLAINANTS' APPLICATION TO AMEND THEIR COMPLAINT Tribunal's Decision Reveals DEBACLE Urging Political Will VEN TI-LA-TION – exchanging stale noxious air with clean fresh air Weitzels and Willow Park Estates What has California's new smoke-free housing law to do with us Canadians? What makes normal sensible people become dysfunctional when they join a board and what turns CEOs or EDs into mini-dictators? Why Isn't Vancouver's OLYMPIC VILLAGE A Flagship for Smoke-free Housing? Why there is a PUSH for Sf Housing WOW You've come a long way baby Yukon Housing Corp’s smoke-free housing leaves smokers fuming YUKON NORTH OF ORDINARY™ TRUMPS NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL BC AGAIN Yukon's smoke-free housing comes into effect Jan 1 2012

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WOW ! You've come a long way baby!

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXIII


If you think that a press release from US Housing and Urban Development has no impact or relevance on what is happening around smoke-free housing, in Canada, consider the smoke-free housing ideation drifted into Canada from the United States.  This is very much a global movement. 



PRESS RELEASE
Friday, October 14, 2011.
HUD No. 11-251
Shantae Goodloe
(202) 708-0685




HUD CHARGES FLORIDA PROPERTY OWNER, MANAGERS WITH DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
Management refused to relocate resident hospitalized by neighbors’ second-hand smoke
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has charged an Ocala, Florida property owner, management company, and its employees with violating the Fair Housing Act for refusing to allow a resident to move to a different apartment after her neighbors’ second-hand smoke twice sent her to the emergency room.
HUD brings the charge on behalf of the resident, alleging that managers at Magnolia Walk II, a 144-unit low income housing tax credit participant property, falsely claimed that tax law required that they treat the tenant’s request like a new application, requiring new fees and deposits, before they could grant her request.
The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for renters with disabilities.
Owners and managers of low-income housing tax credit properties, like others, must rent and manage apartments in a manner consistent with the Fair Housing Act,” said John TrasviƱa, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “A transfer to another unit when it is medically necessary not only affords a person with a disability the same opportunity to enjoy her housing as others do, but may also be critical to that person’s well-being. HUD will ensure through its enforcement of the law that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live in the housing of their choice.”
According to HUD’s charge, the resident had to be transported to the emergency room twice from her apartment after complaining of difficulty breathing. First orally, and then formally in writing, the tenant informed Magnolia Walk II management that smoke was coming into her apartment from other units, and that her doctor had advised her to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke because it would exacerbate her chronic respiratory illness. She requested to move to a vacant apartment located between an elevator and a unit occupied by a non-smoker.
Managers claimed, falsely, that tax regulations prevented the tenant’s transfer without her being treated as a new tenant, necessitating an application fee and additional security deposit, as well as an early termination fee for vacating her current unit. To avoid paying the early termination fee, the tenant waited to move to the requested unit until after her lease expired, nearly a year after her first request. Management still charged her the application fee and additional security deposit.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that illegal discrimination has occurred, the judge may award monetary damages to the resident for the harm she was caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the resident.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275(TTY).
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HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the
need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build
inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and
http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at
www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF: A court order to "Do this," and "Stop doing that."


Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXII


What do people do, when in their struggle to have the problem of secondhand smoke attended to as a reasonable person, in a reasonable way, as a good tenant, and good neighbour, every response amounts to, seemingly, an obstruction, an act of non-compliance, and an act of contempt with the law, and investigation winds through the legal system at a snail's pace? On top of that, the board falls apart, external investigations ensue, management's dismissed, and financial malfeasance takes the spotlight eclipsing secondhand smoke issues.
You make the case for another legal remedy: an injunction.
Before making application for injunctive assistance, you must exhaust whatever other avenues may be available to obtain or expedite relief (RTB, Nuisance), to demonstrate conclusively that the injunction represents the only opportunity for obtaining an adequate, alternative remedy.
Notwithstanding the existence of a comprehensive code for settling disputes, where no adequate alternative remedy exists, the courts retain a residual of discretionary power to grant interlocutory relief, such as an injunction...considering the circumstances, timing, and issues which made intervention by the court appropriate and necessary.” Canadian Pacific 1996:24317
As part of the application, you present the immediacy of the harm allegedly done, and evidence of irreparable harm which cannot be adequately compensated for in damages else wise (financial awards).
The courts decide whether your case is an appropriate case to grant an injunction.
Superior courts consider an injunction, or injunctive relief, as an extraordinary 'equity remedy' invoked in circumstances which violate the plaintiff's rights. An equity remedy examines granting an injunction against maintaining the status quo.
Courts evaluate the immediacy and irreparability of injuries, inadequacy of mitigation, and inadequacy of damages and financial awards if an injunction were not granted, against the possible damages from granting an injunction.
Courts have granted injunctions in labour, family, and retail disputes. Courts have issued injunctions that both parents not smoke when with their children. When an injunction is breached, and breached wilfully and deliberately, courts charge under contempt.
The specific arena of injunction relating to secondhand smoke in multi-unit dwellings remains a new challenge in Canada and the United States. I follow three cases before the courts.
Primarily, the issue remains one of access to a lawyer who would present the case.
Secondhand smoke falls under Nuisance because it poses a serious, immediate, and pervasive health risk, established by ministries of health all over the world. Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, as witnessed through allergies and asthma (sneezing, coughing). However, by virtue of the way secondhand smoke absorbs into and affects the body, instance damage becomes trivialized, and the future onset of cancer or heart disease dismissed.
An injunction addresses the health risk where immediate harm occurs, as does irreparable harm in circumstances compounded by living in multi-unit dwellings. An issue before the courts highlights whether an applicant must show substantial medical injury in order to get injunctive relief (asthma vs cancer). In situations analogous to secondhand smoke exposure, case law does not require evidence of actual adverse medical condition in order to harness the protection of declaring something a nuisance, and to garner injunctive relief.
Still, the pervasive notion survives that secondhand smoke drift is merely a nuisance (in the trivial sense) and an offensive odor which people are disturbed over, something which cannot be considered a serious health risk. Defense lawyers write this, and get paid.
In the meantime, Lana, who is 70 years old files a dispute resolution claim, and Marina files a dispute resolution claim in a bid to protect her five and eight year old children. In both cases, neither knew there was a Provincial bylaw protecting them somewhat...the three meter buffer zone. 
Their landlords were equally uninformed.  (Try selling that to a judge! It doesn't work with me!)

This is the legacy of non-legislated smoke-free housing, where government asked landlords to voluntarily implement smoke-free housing, despite their own health ministries testifying to the irreparable harm from secondhand smoke.  This is playing with people's physical and mental well-being, instead of protecting it.
It's not only smoke infesting our lungs, it's tax dollars going up in smoke, most especially where it provides subsidized housing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How Provincial and Municipal Bylaws Apply for MUDs in BC

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – XXXI 

Involved with smoke-free housing knowledge since 2008, I take for granted many pieces of information that other tenants in other locations in the province do not know. After three years, I am shocked and despair that the basic piece of information on Provincial Tobacco Control remains unknown to so many people. In fact, it appears tenants are being given incorrect information when they do make inquiries. So while the information is all available on the provincial government websites, it bears writing about here in my blog.

If you live in a multi-unit dwelling, like an apartment, condominium, or townhouse, in British Columbia, under the BC Provincial Tobacco Control Program, you cannot smoke within three (3) meters or ten (10) feet of the doors, open windows or air intakes that are connected to common areas. This 3 meters exists as a buffer zone all the way around an apartment complex, since apartments are stacked one on top and and beside. Imagine a buffer zone as a cube or a sphere set up against the external wall of your unit at your balcony door and windows.















Therefore, all multi-unit dwellings in BC would have "smoke-free signs" posted on entrance and exit doors, and this policy would be posted in the lobby bulletin board.

 


If this is not the case, then contact your local Tobacco Control Officer at your local Health Authority, and have them ensure that these signs and policy are posted, and that they remain posted and free from being removed.
You do not need to contact your manager or landlord if you think and fear reprisal. When you talk to the Tobacco Control Officer, point out that you expect your identity to be kept confidential, for fear of harassment.
See detailed information under communities and tobacco control on the provincial government website, Can I smoke in my home?
Tobacco Control Officers and Worksafe have been instrumental in application and enforcement of the smoking prohibition policies where I live, especially since some smokers blatantly disregarded the regulations.


Municipalities or cities and property owners may develop a policy or lease agreement that extends this 3 meter restriction to something like 7.5 meters or even 9 or 10 meters.
Vancouver's buffer zone is 6 meters.
As I live in Surrey, BC, I am truly fortunate that Surrey has led the way and set the standard at 7.5 meters (25 feet), since 3 meters remains clearly insufficient. Despite that, our struggle has been enormous, and enforcement remains left to tenants who take pictures and report to Worksafe, Tobacco Control, and City of Surrey.
How does Surrey's Public Health Smoking Protection Bylaw apply to multi-unit dwellings?
    The owner, the operator, and the manager of a housing complex, whether a landlord or a strata corporation or a cooperative association, private non-profit housing societies and public housing societies (BC Housing), are all responsible persons who must not allow or suffer prohibited smoking to take place at the complex.
        What types of infraction are created in the By-law?
  • A person who smokes in a prohibited area commits an offence against the By-law.
  • A responsible person (a person who owns, controls, manages, supervises, or operates) who allows a person to smoke in a prohibited area, commits an offence against the By-law.
Under what set of circumstances or criteria should tenants report infractions or breaches to the City of Surrey?
Examples of reported, ongoing infractions, first reported to management, and then to the City of Surrey.
  • On Sept 15, 2011 at approximately 2:15 PM, I came out of the south west exit, and met up with the tenant in that corner. We chatted. We observed (tenant) walking down the sidewalk which is in the buffer zone, and he was smoking. He passed us trying to hide the cigarette in his right hand. This is the fourth time I have reported this particular tenant smoking in buffer zones.
  • On August 8, 2011 at approximately 4:30 PM, I arrived on property at the south entrance, and observed (tenant) come out of the building, stop as the door closed, and light up a cigarette. He proceeded to on the sidewalk exiting the property smoking, all of which is in the 7.5 M buffer zone.
  • On September 12, 2011 at approximately 9:20 PM, I returned to the property, and was let off at the entrance turnaround. I could hardly believe my eyes, as I witnessed (tenant) and (tenant) smoking at the lobby entrance. I heard another tenant speaking to them, that they were not to be smoking at the entrance or at the lobby air intake. The tenants responded, “we'll only be a couple more minutes.” There were two other witnesses. This incident would also be on the entrance security camera as well as the lobby security camera.

    In many cases, tenants took pictures, and these pictures were sent along to Worksafe (if an employee), Tobacco Control (provincial), management, and City of Surrey.
    Sometimes it takes a lot of authority to stop contemptous behavior.

    There is an amazing race going on around the world. What if Ireland, Poland, and Russia beat out Canada? This is like hockey! Soccer! Rugby!

    What do you do with City of Surrey By-laws or California's smoke-free housing legislation?   

    Clone it!