Taking A Stand: Your words on the smoking ban

(WFIE) - Earlier this week, we took a stand supporting an Evansville smoking ban.

We have received a lot of feedback.

Joe Wallace agreed with our stand and says:

"As the smokers rationalize myths to feed their addictions, four members of the city council used these myths to justify irrational and irresponsible votes on Monday night."

The majority of those who contacted me disagreed.

Matt Gasner writes:

"Last I understood it, smoking was a right; it is not illegal to smoke in our country even though you socialists would love to take that right away from people. I am a non-smoker, but I don't support anyone taking rights away from people."

John Limp says:

"Cigarette smoke stinks. Government telling a business owner to ban smoking in his establishment stinks worse."

Debi Garland says:

"There are a lot of small neighborhood taverns that their main business is older citizens that come in, nurse a drink and smoke. These small neighborhood taverns won't survive."

William left a message, saying:

"I don't understand why you are taking a communist view of things.   If you truly believe this, what would happen if they took away your freedom of speech and broadcasting?"

And finally, Tom Goodman, the owner of an Evansville bar wrote:

"(He) wants to personally thank the council members who voted correctly to deadlock this smoking ordinance. Now if they want to introduce a new amended ordinance with no exemptions, I would support that wholeheartedly!" 

Here is a list of unedited emails that were sent in response:

I am one of the owner's of Fast Eddy's and was very glad to see that the amendment failed in City Council because it was a very bad law since it had exemptions for some.  I think it is very hypocritical to say that the amendment was about the health of worker's and patron's in bars/nightclubs and restaurant's.  So are they not concerned with the health of the patron's and worker's at Aztar and all the other exempt businesses????  That to me is just plain WRONG!!!! 
I would support a ban with NO EXEMPTIONS.  Louisville KY tried the same thing with an exemption for Churchill Downs and passed it, but the bar and restaurant owners filed a lawsuit over it and the judge ruled in their favor, and the law was overturned!  They quickly amended it to a NO EXEMPTIONS law and it passed! I could see that happening in Evansville if they passed that smoking ordinance with exemptions, and I for one would be pushing for a lawsuit to change it if they did! 
I want to personally thank the Council members who voted correctly to deadlock this smoking ordinance.
Missy Mosby, John Friend, B J Watts and Don Walker, Thank you for doing the right thing!  Now if they want to introduce a new amended ordinance with NO exemptions, I would support that wholeheartedly! 
Councilman John Friend, you hit it on the nose my friend when you said it was a bad amendment and a very hypocritical one at that!
Tom Goodman
Ms. Bush,
I spoke the other night in support of Dr. Adams amendment and I tried to raise some issues that are different from the compelling health issue. What I would like to emphasize is that every member of the City Council acknowledges that second hand smoke a health hazard.  They know it and they have said so.  Their job is to do what is right for the City of Evansville. I bought up the fact that having knowledge and failing to act has exposed municipalities to lawsuits for negligence.  The vote the other night while a tie constitutes willful failure to act.  If someone who is working in a smoking atmosphere who is a non smoker contacts a smoke related illness, both the employer and the City of Evansville will be named as respondents in any civil suit that may be filed.  Failure to act is just as serious as intentionally disregarding the recommendation of a traffic engineer after accidents have occurred at a particular intersection.  Can you imagine what the courts would do if there were preventable deaths because a City official with both power and authority ignored a safety recommendation? Failing to pass this amendment is the exact same thing.  They are not doing their duty as stewards of the City.  Quite frankly, they willfully refused to do their duty.
Failing to ban smoking has also been found to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Asthma is a disability.  Enabling businesses to allow smoking by deliberate indifference violates the rights of people with asthma just as much as refusal to accommodate wheelchairs does for people who can't walk.  This has also been upheld.
The other thing that bothers me is that with eight democrats on the City Council, this should have passed unanimously. How can one support a nationalization of healthcare and not support a resolution that has been proven to improve public health?  This is a conflicted position.  We support taxing our citizens to pay for healthcare but repudiate an opportunity to pass an amendment to improve public health.  Excuse me, but isn't our council enabling people to deplete the public coffers with this decision?
The council can talk about rights but that doesn't hold up either. Smoking bans have been challenged on constitutional grounds many times and have never prevailed.  The right to smoke is a rationalized myth created by smokers to continue feeding their addictions.  As the smokers rationalize myths to feed their addictions, four members of the City Council used these myths to justify irrational and irresponsible votes on Monday night.  
The final mystery to me is where does the Mayor of the City of Evansville stand on this.  The Council has their Wards to listen to, but the Mayor is the officer that is supposed to tie things together, think them through and find a way to lead Evansville down the right path to a prosperous future.  Thus far, he has been silent on Dr. Adams' amendment.  The responsibility that comes from holding an office of leadership should mandate that the Mayor make his views known and that he have a rational reason for what they are.  The Council has spoken with their votes and the Mayor has an opportunity to lead.  I hope he chooses to do so.
Joe Wallace
     Have you been paying attention to how the people are turning on public servants who support a socialist agenda and politicians who want to take rights away from people?  Last I understood it, smoking was a right, it is not illegal to smoke in our country even though you socialist would love to take that right away from people.  I am a non-smoker, but I don't support anyone taking rights away from people.  The businesses have the right to make there places of business smoke free.  No one is saying they have to keep there establishment smoker friendly.  The people who choose to work in these places know that they might possibly be around smoke just like the coal miners know they will be around coal dust and working in a dangerous environment. They know the risk when they start the job.  I support the freedom of the businesses to make up their own minds and for patrons to make the decision of what establishment they want to frequent.  Until smoking is illegal then this should be every true Americans stance. That is the great thing about free market environment.  If no one patronizes smoking facilities then they will have to change or shut down.  It is a miracle how free market works that way.  If you socialist just realize that we would all be better off. 
       If nothing else you should learn from how Fox news is killing the other networks in the ratings.  That is because Americans don't like the socialist agenda you and your progressives are trying to implement on America.  If you keep your progressive opinions to yourself and report on and applaud people doing good things that everyone supports and likes then your will probably keep your viewers, but if you keep up your progressive views then I and many others will quit watching your news cast.  I have been a loyal viewer of wfie all of my life.  I am about stop watching your channel if you keep following the mother networks socialist, progressivism stance. 
Matt L. Gantner
Smoking tobacco cigarettes and cigars is still legal in the US of A. Whether or not I indulge is a personal decision. Cigarette smoke stinks. Government telling a business owner (taxpayer) to ban smoking in his establishment stinks worse.
John Limp
"Other cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago have already taken that stand and while there were protests at first, it is now accepted."
So we should follow? If it is so horrible then move there. Pay their great tax rates and look over your shoulder constantly when you take a walk not knowing when or if you are going to raped, mugged, or murdered. Now this is just my small minded Midwestern mentality speaking... "If you don't like it don't do it!" tah dah!!! If the law forced the buisness to let smokers smoke indoors I could understand this but it was the buisness's choice. If I have a problem with an establishment I take my money elsewhere. Maybe I don't understand. I guess i need to be sheltered and protected. Maybe we should have a helmet law for people in cars they are dangerous too. By the way I'm a nonsmoker, thanks but no thanks for protecting me.  
Scott Gist
I heard your editorial on the smoking ban, and disagree with you totally.
I think it is NOT a elected officials job to decide what happens in the day to day lives of the people they represent. It will put people out of work, and make small business'  spend more to make things happen.
Why dont they next decide to make illegal to drink, as they have tried to do with smoking.  They have raised the price of tobacco to the point of almost not being able to  afford them anyway, and taxed them more and more.  But they never say anything about taxing alcohol of which most politicians use for their social hours, and meetings and parties.  They never tax the things that most people use.  Therefore, dont be so fast to do an editorial on this subject.  Then on top of all this, to exempt certain establisments that bring in the most revenue for the politicians, such as Aztar, and Elks, etc... which most of the dirty political establishment belong to for prestige purposes as thats where the money lies, and thats where they look for campaign funds.
I'm sure this will eventually pass, as a few will force it on the masses.
If this happens, then places that now allow smoking should provide a sheltered place for smokers to use for this purpose.., rather than just going out in all kinds of weather for a cigarette.
I dont smoke but this is just another law that the government should keep their noses out of.  There are plenty of things they could do to make their jobs effective, for the pay they are getting from the people they are stepping on.
Its time to stop this non-sense, and get on with politicing.......
Jim Westerman
I believe the bars should have the right to determine if they want to allow smoking in their establishments. If it bothers you that a bar allows smoking, DON'T GO IN THE BAR. It's that simple

What is next: alcohol, sugar, salt, etc.
Dale & Virginia Alldredge
ALL bars and taverns should be exempt from this bill. They can post on their doors if they are a smoking establishment or not. Children and anyone under 21 are not allowed in these places.
There are a lot of those businesses that could be forced to close because of this bill. There are a lot of small neighborhood taverns that their main business is older citizens that come in, nurse a drink and smoke. These small town like neighborhood taverns won't survive. Years ago I used to work for one of these. If people would have had to go outside to smoke back then, they would have stayed outside or went home. That wouldn't have done much for business.
What happened to our rights as Americans? We can't get a healthcare bill passed but we can dictate who can do what? I'm not talking about doing anything illegal. Smoking is a right, as non smoking is a right. Let the businesses decide what business they want to have. If they want to be non smoking than so be it. If they want to continue to let their patrons smoke, then they should have that right.
 Thank you
Debi Garland

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