Thursday, August 16, 2007

Smokescreen or Smokescream

The Smoking Task Force for Shawnee had a public hearing last night at city hall. Here is one man's opinions, mine.

Let's start with the folks that are so concerned about employee's health. First, when it comes to non-eating/drinking businesses, virtually all are smoke free either because of the current ordinance or because the companies themselves have their own policies. Now, let's look at eating/drinking establishments. Currently in Shawnee over 55% of such establishments are smoke free on their own volition. As for the other 45% the question begs to be answered: How many of their emplyees are smokers? Methinks the "concern" for the employees is a questionable one....but it sounds good.

The previously mentioned figures also indicate that non-smokers have plenty of places to go. And, there is always the strong possibility, that if these folks let the "cash registers do the talking" others would go smoke free on their own.

We have in Shawnee neighborhood type bars that are mostly populated by smokers (as customers and employees) Should we drive them out of business? As the co-owner of Foobars said, she didn't remember ever seeing any of the smoking ban folks patronizing her establishment. My opinion: I doubt if they ever would. I doubt if they would ever patronize any of the older neighborhood type bars.

Stephanie Sharp, the 17th District State Rep (from Lenexa) was a trip and a half. This sanctimonious snit had me laughing inside. She stated that on her drives south on I-435 she had a choice of stopping at Barley's (Shawnee) or Tanner's (Lenexa) since she lived equally between them. Guess it'll be Tanner's now that Lenexa is smoke free. Why do I question the veracity of her statement about what she would do? Easy......because she didn't keep the "big promise" to her constituents. She ran for office, they elected her, and now she has resigned. Her successor takes over January 2008. If she couldn't handle the position she shouldn't have run for it to begin with. My opinon...........

The speaker that really caught my attention was the lady who claimed that her son and his wife moved to Denver because Colorado is smoke free. She also claimed that Shawnee is losing young peole because of that. I see, so smoke free communities nearby (Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park, etc) do not fill her son's requirements? I could swear that I heard her say "money" before she corrected herself to mention "smoke free" as the reason for her son's moving.
If Shawnee is losing folks, I wish somebody could show me the figures. Our population is like a certain TV keeps on growing, and growing and growing.

Leon Vinci, the Johnson County Health Department Director had an interesting comment. He touted the JoCo ordinance that banned smoking in unincorporated JoCo. When pressed as to how many drinking and eating establishments did that affect, he said the total businesses were 14. He was asked again for the number of eating/drinking establishments and said less than 14, but he didn't have tha statistics available. Seems to me the figure was 3 of those and the other 11 businesses were doing something on their own anyway. Didn't the local media, and smoking ban advocates criticize the JoCo Commissioners for wimping out with their ordinance?

When an individual from the floor asked how many establishments the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Assoc represented, nobody had the answer....including the rep from Clean Air KC.
Good question though, because the two have "partnered" on a suggestion for a strict ordinance.

Some folks know that I personally quit smoking 18 months ago, after 45 years. What most don't know is that my late mother passed away because of lung cancer, from smoking. And yet, I am against a smoking ban. Yes, because a business owner should be allowed to choose how to run his/her business. Customers by their patronage or lack of will tell a business owner what to do.
Nanny government does not belong in our society.

But then, as the Shawnee Convention and Visitor's Bureau points out on their web site, Village West and the Legends are only eight minutes away. :-) :-)