Friday, October 28, 2005

Another Day, Another Smoking Ban

This time, it was Greenfield. All the characteristics remain the same: a largely Republican governing body proposed a ban on smoking in private places of public accommodation, without consulting with affected business owners or employees as to the effect a ban might have on them, in disregard of property rights. Link to Greenfield Daily Reporter report.

Today's GOP: Anti-small business. Anti-property rights.

Who is pro-small business and pro-property rights? The Libertarian Party.

The LP of Hancock County appeared before the City Council meeting wearing blue to counter the pro-ban forces who were wearing red. The Libertarians met with affected business owners to offer support for their right to run their business their way.

I spoke with Ann Tomey before the meeting. She owns Annie's Restaurant, and she permits smoking in a section separated from a no-smoke section. She's just devestated by this ordinance. Her job is to serve her customers. Some of them smoke, some of them don't, so she tries to accomodate them all. She's concerned that her smoking patrons will dine out in Greenfield less upon the passage of this law.

Observe some of her comments from the Greenfield Daily Recorder article that preceded the vote.

Tomey said today has been especially difficult because, not only could the city vote the proposed ordinance into law, it is the anniversary of her husband’s death. He died of cancer.

“I don’t want people to have sympathy for me, I want them to support that I’m a business owner and I have a free choice,” she said on the verge of tears. “I fight every day to stay in business and make a living and these people are looking at the smoking issues, but there are worse things then this.

“Cigarettes are legal; the government hasn’t made them illegal. This is what (ticks) me off.”

Tomey said if the city is concerned about health issues and wants to ban smoking perhaps they should also prohibit the sale of cigarettes.

“Then tell all the taxpayers they have to pick up the bill for all the taxes raised by cigarettes,” she said. “They need to stop and think about a lot of things. It’s not just the smoking.

“I’ll stand here and yell about it until the day I die, and I’ll probably die of cancer because it runs in my family. But I invest my life in my business and this is my life they are talking about.”

Tomey said prior to owning her restaurant she and her husband had owned a construction company, but her heart wasn’t in it.

“This is a fight and it shouldn’t be,” she said. “I could have done anything, but this was my dream. I’m fighting a losing battle where I can’t even run my own restaurant.

So, in order to pass a feel-good ordinance, the Republican-dominated Greenfield City Council makes Ann's life harder. She invests her life in her business, and she is treated like a criminal.

Annie: Over-taxed, and now, over-regulated.

Let's be clear on this. I do not smoke. In fact, I don't like second-hand smoke. But, I'm an adult with enough common sense that when I walk into a restaurant or bar that is too smoky for my liking, I turn around and head for the exit. Let the smokers have it, I'll go elsewhere. Why is it that so many people perceive that can only get what they want by imposing their will on others forcibly?

This is the shame of our nation and the demise of our freedom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pressure groups are not liable (much like Uncle Sham & his minions on all levels of gov't) for the harm they do to business.

Being part of a group is their strength and helps them ignore, then feel good about, their own complicity and/or individual responsibility in their despotic efforts. Shameful, really.

The only way to hold their feet to the fire is to make one of them sign a pledge that they will reimburse (as they always lie and say that biz won't be affected negatively) owners out of their group's pockets when they take a hit on their receipts.

When they refuse to do so (and they will) just make a big deal of it. You'd be suprised at just how much it can get business to rally behind libertarian efforts to quash bans on smoking in restaurants.