Greenfield is the latest Indiana community to advance anti-smoking legislation that would extend into private business establishments. Per today's Indy Star report:
Smoking would be prohibited at virtually all Greenfield businesses under an ordinance that won initial approval Thursday from the City Council.
Despite the 5-2 vote, the ordinance is not a done deal. Council members will have a second chance to discuss, tweak and vote on the measure in the future.
Be sure to note that all seven of the Greenfield City Councilors are Republican. The vote would have been 4-3 had Libertarian Phil Miller been re-elected in 2003. As usual, they bought this as a health issue while ignoring the property rights angle. Business owners, of course, did not miss this assault on them.
But the operator of Zoobie's, a local restaurant and sports bar, disagreed. "It's my right as private enterprise to run my business in the best way I see fit," said Sam McClarnon, 46, a smoker and the restaurant's general manager.
Government regulation is the wrong device for attacking the problem of secondhand smoke or influencing businesses' practices, said Jennifer Bradshaw, a nonsmoker.
Instead, she advocated "voting with your pocketbook, voting with your feet."
Jennifer is a Libertarian, but the paper failed to mention political affiliation throughout the story. I'm not sure why the identifications were deemed unimportant.
Fortunately, there is time for those who advocate the right of business owners to set their own policy to get into action to persuade the Council to reverse itself. A pub crawl that visits Zoobie's and other Greenfield establishments would be an extremely effective way for Libertarians to show that we are on the side of business owners, the rights of property, and the right to choose, while the Republicans are on the side of trampling property rights and eliminating the right to choose.
Marion County's pub crawl got Indianapolis City-County Council Greg Bowes to show up in order to defend his position, and to allow bar owners to see that he had to acknowledge their participation- something he wouldn't have done without the pressure the crawl caused. Hamilton County's crawl was instrumental in helping defeat a food & beverage tax in Fishers, after the Libertarians got front page coverage in the Noblesville Daily Times.
If the Libertarian Party of Hancock County holds a pub crawl, I'll give my support and participate.
Side Note: As usual, the market responds quickly to new laws. A German brewer is developing a beer called NicoShot, which includes nicotine in the brew. That sounds disgusting to me, but I'm a beer snob who insists on beers that satisfy the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. For others, this allows smokers to stay in the smoke-banned bar to drink the spiked beer to get their nic fit instead of running outside for a few quick puffs.