Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Up in Smoke

From an NYC CLASH email:


Belmont, CA - Proposed Ban on Smoking in the Home


The jackboots have reached our homes.

In 2001 Montgomery County, Maryland, tried something similar and it was laughed off the table by public commentators around the country. I find it incredible that I hear none of them now. Any ban that applies to one's home is the worst of the worst, and I feel strange even having to have to put it this way -- saying "but" -- but Belmont's ban includes the home's garden, patios and porches, the streets, and possibly in your car as well. Nowhere can one smoke except in a private detached single family dwelling with the windows shut tight.

In this insane world I'm forced to say that Belmont's ban is even worse than worst of the worst because Montgomery County's plan (not to be confused with Friendship Heights' street ban plan) was only ("only" as in so very bad already) for the home and not these other places. So I ask, where is the ridicule from the commentators this time??

Read for yourself:

November 15, 2006 (San Mateo Daily Journal)
Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking

Belmont is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere else.

The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one’s car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

The actual language of the law still needs to be drafted and will likely come back to the council either in December or early next year.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

The council was concerned about people smoking in multi-unit residences.

“I would just like to say ‘no smoking’ and see what happens and if they do smoke, [someone] has the right to have the police come and give them a ticket,” said Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach.

Councilman Warren Lieberman said he was concerned the city will pass a law it cannot enforce because residents will still smoke unless police are specifically called to a situation. Police cannot go out and enforce smoking rules, he said.

“It makes us hypocrites by saying you know you can break the law if no one is watching,” Lieberman said.

However, both Feierbach and Warden argued it is the same as jaywalking, having a barking dog or going 10 miles over the speed limit. All are illegal, but seldom enforced.

“You can’t walk down the street with a beer, but you can have a cigarette,” Warden said. “You shouldn’t be allowed to do that. I just think it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere except in someone’s house. If you want to do that, that’s fine.”


TAKE ACTION: This is one you can't afford to ignore! Contact the Belmont lawmakers. Let them know exactly how offensive this is.... That it cannot be abided and is an indecency of unspeakable proportions in a country such as ours. In addition to creating the ultimate division of people into the superior nonsmokers and the second class smokers, they are dividing us into economic classes as well. Those who can afford their own private detached home are privileged to smoke but those who can't must surrender their rights. And then write a letter to the editor of their paper as well.

Mayor Phillip Mathewson: pmathewson@belmont.gov
Vice Mayor Coralin Feierbach: cfeierbach@belmont.gov
City Council: CityCouncil@belmont.gov
San Mateo Daily Journal: letters@smdailyjournal.com

Then think about writing to any newspaper columnists you know will be interested, urging them to report on this, and/or calling any radio talk show host and asking them to take up talk show arms against it. Because as the paper also reported, the anti-smoker activists nationally are drooling:

"The decision puts Belmont on the forefront of smoking policy and it is already attracting attention from other states."

Comments:
“You can’t walk down the street with a beer, but you can have a cigarette,” Warden said. “You shouldn’t be allowed to do that. I just think it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere except in someone’s house. If you want to do that, that’s fine.”

It seems like politicians always want to iron out inconsistencies in the direction of coercion. Why didn't this guy think of making it legal to have beer on the street? It works in other places.
 
“What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

Yup, if it saves just one life, enslaving you will be worth it.
 
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