WEBB CITY, Mo. — Five people.
After 56.5 percent of voters in the highest voter turn-out area in Jasper County signaled their approval of a measure that would require businesses and public places in Webb City to go smoke-free, just five councilmen voted down the measure in their meeting Monday night.
More than 400 voted for the measure that would ban smoking in all places open to the public. But when the council took up the issue Monday night, opponents concerns over property rights outweighed the voters approval.
Jerry Fisher, who was expected to vote for the measure even though he voted against it the first time the council considered it, said he didn’t expect he would have to vote on it again after it was sent to voters.
“I did not know at the time if we put it to voters, it would come back to the council. I thought the vote of the voters would be it,” Fisher said to reporters after. “I don’t take advice from anyone. I vote my conscience, and I believe in property rights. I think that’s more important than — if some other constituent of mine wants to come down here every Monday night and make these decisions, that’s fine: I’ll let them come.”
Krista Stark, organizer of the smoke free campaign, said she was looking at all things, including a referendum or a possible recall of members who voted against the vote of their constituents.
“We’re not done. We’re not finished, because there are other recourses open to the general public in Webb City,” Stark said.
Fisher said, “Fine with me. I don’t see her down here making decisions. If she can get the mayor to appoint her, she can have my seat. It doesn’t bother me a bit.”
Stark said, “Jerry is the representative in my ward, so he will be hearing from me tomorrow about not enacting his constituent’s wills.”
Mayor John Biggs expressed disappointment in the vote of the council. “I was surprised,” Biggs said. “We asked the public for the vote because we actually wanted to know what the public thought… I thought the council would support the public’s vote. I’m disappointed, actually.”
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