It was just like old times, in all the wrong ways, for Councilwoman Rita Vogler at Wednesday night's meeting of the Hesperia City Council.

Prior to the November 2006 election, Vogler has been firmly in the minority for most of her five years serving on the five-member city council. But not even the allies who fill out the new three-member majority on the council sided with her on a moratorium that would prevent new cigarette shops from opening in the city for the next 45 days.

"These smoke shops are adult businesses," Vogler said. "It is, in fact, a public health issue."

Despite the "smoke shops" term used at this and previous meetings, the emergency ordinance was aimed at businesses that had cigarettes and tobacco taking up more than 50 percent of its floor space. It was not aimed at what are more commonly referred to as smoke shops or head shops: stores that sell pipes and bongs that may then be used to smoke marijuana or other controlled substances.

"That's not banned," Vogler said. "You could be 8 [years old] and buy that item."

Instead, Vogler was interested in blocking cigarette shops on Main Street and in local shopping centers.

"I have a problem seeing children walk past people smoking," she said.

"I think we have enough ordinances in place," said Mayor Pro Tem Thurston "Smitty" Smith, normally a Vogler ally. He wanted to see Hesperia code enforcement officers to pay a visit to existing smoke shops with more than half of their windows covered -- a violation of city rules. "Adhere to the laws and ordinances we have in place already."

Beyond that, though, Smith -- the only current smoker on the council -- wouldn't budge.

"Are we going to take all of our liquor stories and put them in the industrial section [of town]?" he asked. Hesperia has previously required adult-oriented businesses, including a topless bar, to operate in areas zoned for industrial use, well away from residential areas.

"We are not the [morality] police," Councilman Ed Pack said. "Condemning businesses that are completely legal ... is wrong."

"It is our job to draw that line," Vogler said. "It's our town, it's our Main Street."

"Our parents should take some responsibility for raising their kids," Mayor Mike Leonard, another Vogler ally, said.

"When we have all of our roads fixed and lots of businesses [in the city] and plenty of cops, then we can worry about this," Councilman Tad Honeycutt said. "I don't want my children to eat [at] McDonald's every day, but we're not going to ban McDonald's!"

"I'm not backing down from this!" Vogler replied.

But four out of five council members would have to approve an urgency ordinance, and no one was willing to even second her motion, and the cigarette shop moratorium died as a result.

"I don't want no one telling me where I can go buy my cigarettes," Smith said.

The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council will be held January 2 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.