Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Albany’s smoking ban might yet be vetoed. If not ...

At last Thursday’s New Albany city council meeting, 2nd and 3rd readings of the smoking ordinance were passed by identical 5-4 votes. Mayor Doug England has until the end of the month to decide whether he will veto the ordinance. To overturn the veto, there would have to be a sixth vote in favor. In a city long noted for chicanery and cowardice, anything is possible, and predictions are futile. The mayor is being properly circumspect as these various background wheels turn.

From the outset of the smoking ban issue’s introduction, my opinion has remained consistent. If the discussion is kept to the science of second hand smoke and what this means in the context of workplace safety, there can at least be a discussion. But this typically isn’t enough for smoking ban proponents, who generally use their platform not to defend workers, but to attack smokers. As one supportive of fair play, I find this intolerable.

Furthermore, those politicians introducing the topic into our already fractured civic discourse know full well that second only to abortion, smoking is a topic guaranteed to devolve into civil war. They make it political, and I respond in kind, which is why the current council president ejected me from last week’s meeting. Apparently he didn’t enjoy my pointing out the transparency of his political clothing to a waiting world.

All that aside, if the ordinance is signed into law, Rich O’s and Sportstime will have to be smoke-free by March 9, 2009. The ordinance specifies a distance of ten feet from entry doors to where outdoor smoking can be permitted. Given the configuration of our building, there is good news and bad news therein. By spending a few thousand bucks and honoring existing codes, we can finish the outdoor seating area in the back of the building and even weatherize a section of it to make matters comfortable. This outdoor area would be accessible to Sportstime customers from the rear exit door in that section of the building.

Unfortunately, the state of Indiana’s never helpful alcohol laws forbid pub customers from exiting through the door behind the bar (except, of course, in an emergency). Rich O’s patrons will have to go through the entry door in front to a smaller smoking area outside. My consultant Lloyd and I are working on plans for all this. I’m thanking the city council for mandating further expenditures during lean times.

And being fairly sarcastic about the whole thing.


harleyrider1978 said...

The entire smoking band wagon is made up of control freaks.They arent going to stop at bans,thats just one more step in their agenda..if you follow how they work,first the infect the airways with psudo-sciencethen came the smoking sections,but no that wasnt good enough,then came the bans based upon a falacy that shs harms people.........the next step after a national smoking ban will be a TOTAL PROHIBITON OF TOBACCO.....the same game was played in 1919 and before.....hello smoke easys and bootleggers I will be your best customer.

Anonymous said...

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes disease in non-smokers. Workplace bans on smoking are interventions to reduce exposure to ETS to try to prevent harmful health effects. The Irish Government on the 29th March 2004 introduced the first national comprehensive legislation banning smoking in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. http://www.chantixhome.com/

john said...
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