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Coulcilman retracts vote against smoker

Postby burningflorida » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:40 pm

On Tuesdays evening February 1, 2011, during a Gulfport Florida City Council meeting Councilmen Sam Henderson wanted to recognize Smokin J's for being a good neighbor and to reverse his position on a vote taken last year against the smoker. I'm delighted that Mr. Henderson has found a new friend and neighbor, but he's missed the point, which really doesn't surprise me. The issues about Commercial Smokers in Gulfport have little to do with neighbors, or friends, or what they do for the community.

This issue, which may surprise him, was about a commercial operation that used home made equipment without the proper filters or regulation. From my first correspondence with Mike Taylor in the Planning department to my last appeal to the Gulfport City Council, this issue was about unregulated exhaust released into Gulfport’s environment that any City should considers, and consequently require that their smoke producing businesses equip the mechanism with filters, catalytic converter or employ commercial smokers designed to for that purpose.

Many businesses use the smoking process to prepare meat, which I don't object too. Red Lobster, for example, tested their new smoking process in Kissimmee Florida for a very long time before bringing it to market. One of the concerns they had in the testing phase was emission, and to mitigate that concern they used equipment that addressed the issue.

Whether the smoker is outside of a building or inside, so not to be seen, does not change the fact that unfiltered smoke is being put into the environment unnecessarily. Granted the new location on Gulfport Blvd. is better suited for this reckless pollution process than it was in a crevasse of trees and buildings on 49th street, and this business could be using a different fuel type and quality of wood than was used on 49th street, the unfiltered smoke emission still remains. The experiences that the residents of S. Pasadena had when Smokin J's was located in that City were undeniable, reflecting the experiences that residents of Gulfport shared. To deny the legitimate concerns of the real problem now, gives me an insight into Mr. Henderson's position as the environmentalist that I gave him credit for, and that he claimed to be. So on that note I retract any and all credit that I have extended to Mr. Henderson in the past for being an environmentally concerned and astute representative, and concede to the opinion of others in the City of Gulfport that he is far less than the character he betrays.

This City Government has a major flaw, which is that it is complaint based and not logic based governance. Just because no one is complaining doesn't mean there is no violation of reason. The smoke from this operation can be detected a thousand feet away. The particles that the process emits are a concern in our water and our health and the smoke causes the wildlife to disperse. All the problems could have been solved had the City required the business to use the proper equipment, as the Air Quality Division of Florida Department of Environmental Protection has stated, but instead they have allowed this business to operate on the cheap. If a franchise restaurant were to consider this City as a desirable location, let say…Red Lobster,…would the City expect that the franchise would use the same emissions equipment here as they do elsewhere, or would they lower the standard to match the present requirements or lack thereof that regulates Smokin J's? I don't know.

What I do know, is that when I go to the State Farm Insurance Company at 5308 Gulfport Blvd. you can smell the smoke from 5145 Gulfport Blvd. near 800 feet away. I know that the smoke contains the same health risks as any cold fire smoke would, incomplete burning at low temperatures carry far more toxins than hot fires would according to the FDEP instructions on wood burning. Whether hidden behind the mask of BBQ odor or not the smoke is just as harmful over time. I know if the City required the proprietor to use the proper equipment that this problem would be properly regulated and that the health and environmental concerns would be satisfied. That would be the thoughtful and considerate position an environmentally concerned leader would take, which is why I refute Sam Henderson's claims.

Birds, bee and our waters don't complain, so in a complaint driven government they would never be addressed, not even by self-proclaimed stewards of the environment it seems. This issue was never about good neighbors; it was about emission controls and the City's responsibility to the health and welfare of its citizens and environment. I hope he's prepared to defend his shallow position and environmental claim, because I'm certainly prepared to take this issue national, which without a doubt will in the end prove the negligence and irresponsible governance of this City.
burningflorida
 
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