Yes, it’s true. I was tossed, and the smoking ordinance passed by identical 5-4 votes.
Had I been permitted to speak, and managd to restrain myself by not pointing out that the council president’s standard of fairness has sunk even lower than the subterranean bar of Larry Kochert’s, I’d have said this. Note that I composed as the meeting progressed, and it’s a bit sloppy. Still, for the record …
Some of you may disagree, but I’m a fairly bright guy. You may dislike me, but you can’t deny that our business is a success. I think I know what my clientele wants. After all, I’m there. Paid anti-tobacco lobbyists aren’t able to make that distinction as well as I can.
Well, anyway, the council President has gotten exactly what he wanted. Why he ever wanted it remains a mystery for the ages, but there it is: Strife. Annoyance. Resident against resident. Person against person. Perhaps we might discuss abortion, or Islam, or maybe the prospects for the Kentucky Wildcats, or some other topic slightly less divisive than that of workplace smoking.
You know, it’s really crowded in this room. Apparently there was an absence of forethought on the part of the council. Perhaps it might have occurred to someone that this controversial of an issue might generate more than the usual number of people to comment.
It’s a shame, really. If the second hand smoking science is legitimate, is it really so simple that it can it be distilled into one solitary public meeting and minute’s worth of comments each from the public?
And yet a council that can’t accomplish other so-called progressive reforms – can’t even get started on matters ranging from street repaving to redistricting to rental property regulation and reform – can move this quickly on smoking in a barroom. It’s staggering.
Why this public health consideration, and not others?
Dr. Harris made a fairly good point about the voice of the people. According to the council’s own time tested precedent when it comes to zoning considerations, the biggest group in attendance always wins. By my account, we’re somewhere around 40 against the ban and 13 for. That’s enough to overturn any subdivision approved by the Plan Commission.
Let’s see where it gets us tonight, and whether this council will be as hypocritical on this point as it is on public health.