Chatham County’s new tobacco-free policy may be the spur that county commissioner Mike Cross needs to finally quit smoking.
Cross, 72, says he’s been smoking since he was a teenager and knows it’s not good for him. He says with all Chatham County facilities going tobacco-free starting March 1, he didn’t want to be in a position of requiring employees to stop using tobacco at work while he was still a smoker.
“From a health and even a social viewpoint, I know I will be better off not smoking,” Cross says. “I’ve always known better, I just haven’t done better.”
Cross says he’s found ways to help fight the urges to smoke. He might get busy cleaning his house or car, and has found it helpful to eat nutritious foods, avoid social situations where smoking is prevalent and use nicotine gum.
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While he encourages county employees to quit, Cross recognizes that it’s a personal decision. He’s a little firmer when it comes to kids who are the age he was when he started smoking.
“Nothing good will come to you from using tobacco,” he says. “Reflect on your decisions that will impact you today and later in life.”
Martin seeks stability
Wake County school board member Jim Martin wants to make it harder to make major changes to school policies by requiring those revisions to have two-thirds approval.
School board policy requires two-thirds approval to rescind or repeal motions at board meetings. But that requirement has been interpreted to cover rescinding recent board actions, not one made by prior boards.
Martin, chair of the policy committee, said expanding the two-thirds requirement to cover substantial changes to board policies would protect against ideological changes made by a simple majority. Martin cited as an example how in 2010 the former Republican majority had approved changes to the student assignment policy that dropped the use of socioeconomic diversity as a goal by a 5-4 vote.
“I don’t care if it’s my ideology, any ideology,” Martin said at this week’s policy committee meeting. “I want to take ideology out of decisions..”
But board members and legal counsel questioned how to determine if a change was substantial. The committee voted to table the issue until staff could do more research.
“We need to clarify what we’re rescinding and repealing here,” said school board member Susan Evans.
▪ Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, and Dennis Burns, the group’s board chairman, will speak about voting challenges in 2016 at the Wake Democratic Men’s Club meeting on Monday, Feb. 8, at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 320 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. Make dinner reservations by Thursday, Feb. 4, to WakeDMC@mail.com.
Compiled by Richard Stradling, T. Keung Hui.
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