Friday, February 09, 2007

Just a few musings.

When I sat down yesterday to do the weekly NABC newsletter update, it finally dawned on me how insanely busy the last few days had been.

Beginning last Thursday night with NABC’s appearance at the Jeffersonville Main Street fundraiser, followed by two days of very successful art and music in our Prost special events wing, then the special Super Bowl opening hours on Sunday … and for me, a marathon New Albany city council meeting on Monday night, a blog meet ‘n’ greet on Tuesday and a sprinkling of personal civic commitments on Wednesday and even more on Thursday … all have combined into one continuous, unbroken blur accented by occasional dosages of medicine – otherwise known as craft beer.

The craft medicine's necessary because I have a bum left shoulder that needs to be repaired, and will do so, as soon as Gravity Head gets pushed away from the dock on March 9. It's a torn rotator cuff that unfortunately was not injured while throwing nasty curves – if that were the case, and given the traditional value of southpaws, I’d be considerably wealthier at this point – but probably cumulatively damaged and deteriorated during years of daily chores, bicycling and keg lifting. In short, an age-related annoyance, and one that must be repaired before the pain gets worse.

I mention the city council meeting because it was the occasion for the introduction of a smoking ordinance for the city of New Albany. The ordinance was tabled pending a committee review of what currently is an unwieldy, elephantine document that would be impossible to enforce given New Albany’s historic inability (or unwillingness) to observe its own laws. However, it will be coming back, as it is personal goal of the current council president to see some form of the ordinance passed this year.I’ll have more to say on this matter in the coming weeks, and some of it may surprise some of you. Here’s the short version.

Personally, I regard some variety of smoking ban as inevitable, and I’ll not be contesting the notion of indoor smoking regulation based on a scientific methodology that has determined second-hand smoke to be hazardous to workplace safety. In my view, it is the workplace safety angle that is carrying the anti-smoking day, and those many discussions of “rights” that arise during such legislative times primarily are instigated as, ahem, “smoke screens” to keep opponents distracted and off point.

However, I’m intent on seeing the end result be consistent, with the pain to be borne by all, and not some. Either second-hand smoke is harmful or it isn’t, and if it is, there can’t be exceptions, although you can expect numerous exceptions to be proposed during the forthcoming debate. To me, it’s all or nothing at all.

As for NABC, we’ve been moving in the direction of greater non-smoking access, and will continue to carve away at that perimeter whenever possible while awaiting the verdict. We’ll comply with whatever ordinance ultimately is passed. I understand that bar and restaurant customers who smoke are not going to be happy, either now or in the future, and we’ll try to accommodate our smoking clientele with outdoor areas if permitted to do so.

Stay tuned.

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