Norman becomes third city in Oklahoma to make parks smoke free 

Norman City Council members unanimously snuffed out smoking in public parks recently " that is, unless you're a golfer. Smoking is still permitted at Westwood Golf Course, and park parking lots were exempted.

The vote came after impassioned pleas from the public, balanced with concern for civil liberties by council members Bob Thompson and Tom Kovach.

But popular sentiment won out.

Violators can be fined $100, although Norman Police Chief Phil Cotten said when the matter first came up two years ago, he couldn't see his officers patrolling parks looking for smokers.

Norman is the third city in Oklahoma to ban lighting up in public parks. The cities of Noble and Owasso have enacted similar bans.

At a gathering of the state's mayors in Norman recently, there were skeptical opinions on whether it would work for their towns " or Norman, for that matter. Craig Parham, mayor of Amber, was quoted in The Norman Transcript as calling the ordinance "too controlling" at the Oklahoma Conference of Mayors 2009.

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