Former SLO councilman dies Jerry Reiss dies at 82

September 16, 2020

Jerry Reiss

Former San Luis Obispo City Councilman Jerry Reiss, the man known for proposing SLO’s first-in-the-nation smoking ban, died Monday at the age of 82.

Reiss introduced an ordinance in 1990 that banned smoking in indoor public areas, including bars and restaurants. The council voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance, with Mayor Ron Dunin dissenting.

When the ordinance took effect later that year, San Luis Obispo became the first municipality in the United States to ban smoking inside public buildings.

Reiss, a Cal Poly architecture graduate, worked in construction management. He founded the construction company J.M. Reiss Inc.

The former San Luis Obispo councilman was born in Torrance on Sept. 15, 1937. He would have turned 83 on Tuesday.

At the time of his death, Reiss was living in Atascadero.

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Sadly, my folks backed off from their visits because I wouldn’t let them smoke in my house. Then the City of SLO banned inside smoking and I wasn’t such a bad guy anymore. I used to laugh at the no smoking sections in the coffee shops, the effectiveness as a no stinking section in the bathroom.

I did some framing for Jerry..He was a good and honest guy.

Jerry was a great guy and one of our best Councilmembers. Too bad we don’t have anyone like him today on the City Council…

Jerry was a councilmember when the city was considered a well oiled machine. When commonsense meant something. He will be missed

And people often forget that Jerry was a Republican pushing this, not some kind of Heidi Harmon Progressive wackadoodle. I don’t think that would happen today.

I think what you are saying is the entire council has shifted left toward the wackadoodles?

I think what they are saying is back then health and environmental issues were not left vs right wedge issues like they are today. A conservative republican could support a pro-environment cause without being branded as a lefty liberal socialist. Remember it was Nixon who established the EPA, OSHA, and the CPSC.