Saturday, March 22, 2014

Requiem for an Aggressive Smoker

Former Mayor of Morro Bay Bill Yates has died of lung cancer at 66. His Embarcadero allies will defend his record as mayor and lament his passing. Others will remember the damage he did to Morro Bay, as in his fighting the California Coastal Commission so long. I remember him as a bullying smoker. In 2004, the last year my allergies allowed me to endure Morro Bay City Council meetings, Mayor Yates puffed on cigarettes during breaks--a great way of controlling who got to chat with him, for his abundant hair and thick beard guaranteed that nicotine would adhere to him to the point that anyone with allergies would be unable to approach. (That was the time the Governator was conducting business in his Smoking Tent, effectively cutting out anyone allergic to his cigars.) I remember Yates at the Vet’s Hall door, looking out toward the street as he conversing with the smokers just outside (in the no-smoking area) while holding his own lighted cigarette behind him, inside the meeting room. When I called him on this on September 27, 2004, he said he did not “mean to offend” and seemed not to comprehend when I told him it was a matter of being damaged, not offended. Before he died of lung cancer, how many people did Yates damage by his smoking?

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