Galveston County Daily News (Internet / Print) 02/24/06 After 11 months of discussion, petitions and passionate rhetoric, the Galveston City Council rejected an ordinance that would have banned smoking in restaurants, bars and most other public places. The decision, a complete turnaround from what was expected, left the city where it began nearly a year ago — with relatively strict smoking bans that rarely are enforced and of which few residents and even businesses are aware. Dr. William Au, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told council members he had seen the affects of smoking and of secondhand smoke. Au said the proposed ordinance was a health issue, not about rights of smokers and nonsmokers. “It’s an important decision that calls for leadership,” Au said.