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Where there’s smoke?: San Mateo head shop accused of making neighbors sick
October 17, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
Art and People Glass owner Jonathan Goldberg opened his shop on El Camino Real about a month and has since drawn the ire of some neighbors who say they are now getting sick.

Some workers at the California College of Early Childhood Education on El Camino Real in San Mateo say they have been getting sick since a “hookah” shop moved in two doors down.

The college, on the 2300 block of El Camino Real, is also home to a temp agency and administrative offices for Noah’s Ark Preschool. At least two workers at the college told the Daily Journal they have had trouble breathing since Art and People Glass opened up about a month ago.

But A&P is not really a hookah shop — although it does have one for sale — but just a business that sells specially made water pipes they manufacture themselves in Belmont.

There is no smoking that takes place on the property, said owner Jonathan Goldberg, and the business does not sell any type of scented tobacco or herb. Some clients, however, may test some of the shop’s electronic devices and then blow out the water vapor through a window in the alley that connects with the college, he said.

But the workers insist they started having trouble breathing after the shop opened and that a sweet smelling smoke has since permeated their building.

The college workers called all types of city and county agencies in an effort to figure out whether there were any health violations taking place. Finally, they were able to get a San Mateo code enforcement officer to stop by who will likely send a letter to the property owner the shop leases from saying that smoking is not allowed on the site, said the college’s Lee Campbell.

One of Campbell’s employees made a vague threat to sue the organization for not providing a healthy work environment which prompted Campbell to call code enforcement.

Goldberg actually invited four workers at the college yesterday to come to the shop to take a look around and even opened up the back storage space for inspection. The college employees, however, said the smells they smelled in the shop at the time were not the same smells that permeated through their building.

They also insisted they’ve seen clouds of smoke coming through the shop’s back window but Goldberg said it was water vapor and pledged to be more sensitive to his neighbors.

“We are just trying to grow our business,” Goldberg said.

He invited the group to come by any time with their concerns.

In between the shop and college sits a beauty shop but the college workers say it has been there a long time and not the source of any of their sicknesses.

One of the college employees, who has asthma, told the Daily Journal her medical bills have increased since the shop opened up.

Another said she has also had the taste of stale tobacco in her throat since it opened.

Both businesses are a few doors down from The Cave, one of the largest smoke shops in San Mateo County.

silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

 

 

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