Omar M. Campbell: City meddling
July 9, 2005
In their current e-mail campaign to laud the City Council, the smoke-free coalition seems to also want to revel a bit in the too-strict smoking ordinance and to lobby against any commonsense modifications.
Bar and restaurant owners have the right to control their own premises. Customers have the privilege to go wherever they want. This is a self-regulating situation that does not need city meddling. The ban on outdoor-event smoking hands the police an unenforceable job. A very few SUVs or diesel dump trucks touring Lincoln Avenue probably put out more carcinogen material than all the open-air smokers in town on any given day. Are there any carried-away advocates or zealots out there for banning air-polluting vehicles?
In view of the upcoming statewide referendum on this issue, the City Council shouldn’t have been stampeded into this ordinance.
The advocacy group pushed a fiat approach — hurry-up passage by ordinance rather than giving the people the right to decide by a public vote in November. Is there any wonder that there is opposition to the ban? This City Council majority is well-known for its aversion to letting constituents vote on local issues important to their business partners. They learned this on the 1999 DDA issue. More recent examples include Triple Crown’s five-year contract extension in 2001 and the Urban Renewal Authority in 2005. The advocacy group and City Council are no doubt well-meaning but went too far in imposing their personal agendas on the rest of us without our consent. A pipe-smoker for 60-plus years and still enjoying it.
Omar M. Campbell