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Everett White

Believe me, I completely agree with the notion that having a smoke-free community is a good and healthy thing! But what I can't endorse is a government, at any level, that wants to tell me what's good for me. Granted, I do enjoy the occasional cigarette with my beer.

However another example is trans fat. Bad thing...but not the government's job to regulate.

The Nanny State shouldn't govern the decisions that private businesses make. That's Capitalism's job. I'm tired of government that has an ever-increasing control over my private life.

There's a way to raise healthy communities without resorting to totalitarianism.

Mark Garvin

Well, thank you Nathan! Telling adults how to conduct their lives is surely an appropriate exercise if it keeps your pillow smelling sweet. What an awful experience for you. I'm sure it was so bad that you were almost tempted to take 30 seconds and change the pillow case.

And you are correct, coming home from a restaurant or a few drinks without smelling like an ashtray is "just not an option" in the Summit City. Nope, not at all. Why, only about 95% of all the Fort Wayne restaurants are smoke free or permit smoking only in separate, fully enclosed smoking areas. Just no options for poor Nate.

And you are correct again when you say "we haven't even discussed ther health effects." No, you didn't. Not in any cogent, meaningful manner. Please do so. In particular, please give some statement of the incremental health benefit of extending the Fort Wayne ordinance to prohibit smoking in bars and end the practice of fully enclosed smoking areas in restaurants. Now for me, it is enough just to avoid that horrible pillow case situation of yours.

And, if you respond, would you tell me why you put quotes around "concerned citizens" when referring to those that might speak against the proposed ordinance? Are they really something other than concerned citizens? If so, what?

Andrew Kaduk

And yet, Nathan, you fail to even address the real issue here, which is the ongoing fleecing of our private property rights. Your distaste for smoking is no more the issue than someone else's affinity for smoking. The issue here is a continued governmental encroachment on the rights of property owners. If a business owner is truly concerned over the loss of revenue from militant non-smokers' unwillingness to patronize their establishments due to the environment, they will alter the environment...It's simply a case of the market leading the business owner by the nose at that point, which is the whole idea (if I'm not mistaken). Just as you point out in your Piere's example, the environment bothers you, so you simply refuse to go. If Piere's management is satisfied that they do not want or need your business, then so be it.
Your comparison to drunk driving is fallacious, as drunk driving is a crime involving public thoroughfare, not private property. The government has clear jurisdiction to intervene in cases of improper use of publicly owned property. This is not the case when privately owned property is in question.
If you choose to go into a smokey bar, you are choosing to subject yourself to whatever environment that bar offers.

Sheri Rouse

Nathan, I have missed your wit and your good sense.

Dan Turkette


If you really are that bothered by smoke why are you going into bars in the first place? You know that second-hand alcohol can kill you too? That guy doing shots next to you might also be the drunk that kills you on the way home.

Smoking bans should not exist simply due to the fact that it *is* a legal substance. If they want to get rid of it make it illegal but don't take our rights away.

Maybe we should be selling the throne of the city to the highest like they did in the Roman Empire before it's fall? Laws like this just put us one step closer towards socialism.

I'd be curious as to your stance on the legalization of marijuana. I have keyboard in hand..

tim zank

Nathan, you are right about the sky not falling, it won't and business will go on.

That's not the point, nor the argument.
The most aggregious part of a government directed smoking ban is the very fact that a handful of local elected officials have the power to take over your business and run it the way THEY see fit.

Sooner or later, someone will challenge this nonsense in a real court of law, and they will eventually prevail on a property rights basis. You take the emotion out of this debate and look at the cold hard legal facts and the argument has no merit as long as people have a CHOICE as to whether or not they want to patronize your business.

Of course, if you keep letting the Crawfords of this world make ordinances as they see fit, you probably won't have that "choice" option very long either.

Tina Coble

I am half owner of a locat tavern of Fort Wayne. We are asking everyone who opposes the smoking ban to contact all city council members.

The city council members are voted in by residents, to voice the opinion of the majority of the residents in their districts. What is taking place at this time is that city council is passing rules and regulations based on their own personal beliefs. This has to stop.

Daniele Maciel

What happen to choices and rights? Non-smokers think that they have won with this ban, but what will be next? You haven't won; within in time you will find how this ban will ultimately affect you some how in a negative way. What will our government take from us next? It is only baby steps now, within time a large number of "baby steps" will equal many our rights and the ability to make choices for ourselves taken away. Where will the loss of revenue from smokers smoking less and going out less come from? Business might go up...it might go down, where will that loss revenue come from? How about property taxes, state taxes, and other prices going up to compensate for loss revenue? Non-smokers seemed to be so concerned to totally get rid of smoking, I believe in businesses having separate rooms for smokers and non-smokers, that allows us to make our own choices; but if you totally ban it then why aren't you people walking around complaining as much about how factories and other things pollute our air? Maybe you non-smokers should also stop driving cars...you are polluting the air. Especially if you are driving something old, I bet you are yelling for smoking bans as you drive down the road with thick smoke coming out of your tail pipe. Just think of how many other things you do that pollute that affects the air the rest of us breathe. We may not see immediate results such as lung cancer when it comes to the other sources of pollution, but it is only a matter of time and it is future generations that will suffer because of what we do now. They will have no choices then, what we have done to our earth now will be what we are giving them. Smoking however, that is a choice and that is something people can avoid and walk away from a lot easier. You will find that not every law or ban is really working for the good. You will find that if you are not careful on what you vote for, you may ultimately hurt yourself and your rights for the future.

Christopher Riley

I can not believe the comments on this page. You are all trying to convince yourself that the governent is trying to control you by preventing you from smoking in public. It is not a violation of your civil rights it is actually to try and keep you healthy, you might all live longer. It would appear that many of you do not understand the health risks of smoking or perhaps you believe that lung cancer is another conspiracy by the American Government. If that is the case then perhaps Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, Atherosclerosis, Buerger's disease, Peptic ulcers, Tobacco amblyopia (defective vision) not to mention cancer of the Mouth, nose and throat
Myeloid leukaemia
are all perhaps fictional too. Perhaps Everett that is "meaningful" enough for you in terms of the health risk.
The majority of you seem to be of the opinion that going to a bar filled with smoke is the norm and therefore any non-smokers must face the consequences, apparently non-smokers are not allowed to socialise or enjoy a beer. As to some of the other comments about air pollution most people not just non-smokers are concerned about the effects on the environment apart from your government who apparently no nothing of the Kyoto agreement. I can only say that at least your opinions are vaguely amusing though completely uneducated and I am glad that you all live in the sunny USA and we in the rest of the world are safe.

Everett White

Mr. Riley,
I would caution you against accusing others of holding inerudite views when you yourself miss the whole point of the comments left by myeslf, Mr. Kaduk, Mr. Turkette, Mr. Zank, Ms. Coble, and from what I can tell, Ms. Maciel.

The point of the argument we make is that this issue is not about smokers' rights. It is about the rights of business owners.

I'm not sure if you're an American living abroad or if you are not an American citizen whatsoever. But here in America--at least for the last 220-some-odd years--it's been the prerogative of private citizens to conduct their lives (...and run their businesses) the way they see fit, sans overzealous government regulation.

Make sure you understand the entire conversation before you interject. You missed the mark entirely.

Tim Zank

Well put Everett, and by the way Mitch, the comment I posted in response to Mr. Riley on "White Angles" was meant to be posted here not there. I apologize for the error, I was distracted.

Everett White

It is not the job of American government, at any level, to be the omnipotent provider to and protector of the people. Gone are the days of individual responsibility.

This country was founded to get away from euro-socialism. Sadly, in our own 21st century flavors of socialism we now partake.

The founding fathers would spit at the thought.

Elena Vermande

Do Something!
Attend the City Council Meeting!
WHEN: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 5:00 PM
WHERE: Room 126, First floor of City-County Building

Deeonna Eltzroth

I think everyone is discussing the wrong issue. Mr. Gavin makes an excellent point. The government has no right telling businesses what they can and cannot allow. I agree with Mr. Gavin, however, the real issue of the blog is the no smoking ban in Fort Wayne. I think the smoking ban could work, but it needs some amendments.

First, the no smoking ban can work for restaurants. Although, I think restaurants that spent their money to remodel before the ban smoking in these areas should be allowed. They must have done the remodeling before the ban took effect. Next, I think bars should be allowed to have smoking. People who go into bars are adults. They know what kind of atmosphere that bars have to offer. Children cannot go into bars; the only people who can are adults that are 21 or older and should be able to make their own decision. They know what they are getting into and they can deal with the consequences themselves.

Ultimately, I believe that adults should be able to make the decision themselves. Or the bars should be able to choose smoking or no smoking.

James McKinley

I really enjoyed what Tim Zank said earlier in reference to the smoking ban and blog posts. He proposed the idea with one quick phrase, “…take the emotion out of the debate…” This is what really sums up my personal view. We need to maybe take a step back and look at what has gone on and see if there has been some serious damage that has occurred. I see a lot of argument about the politics of the situation, but at the same time we are the same people who put these officials in power to make the decisions they have. I don’t think businesses will be affected as brutally as you all say, or for the idea that some socialist dictator will now be pulling the puppet strings is kind of out there as well. I feel that maybe everyone should stop and take a deep breath. We are worrying too much about things that haven’t happened yet. As I stated I think there is a big bandwagon of emotion that everyone is getting stirred up about and to be honest we still have the power to change that. Just think before voting next time and maybe do a little more political activism. It is extremely easy for a lot of us to voice our opinions in online blogs or in articles in the news, but what should really be done is a little more physical response. Let those in power hear your voice and feel your stance. I think if we reconsider our methods of disapproval things could definitely make a move for the better, and I think maybe it is time to think of an alternative, something maybe a little more progressive or positive to push us a step forward. How can someone complain about situations that haven’t occurred yet? I have also yet to see any of these past blogs show evidence of businesses taking a hit because of the smoking ban, so if that is true where is the hard evidence?
We need to base our actions off of what has occurred now and not what we fear in the future. I guess my main point is that the emotion of the circumstance and issue has blinded many to the actual reality. Again I want to emphasize that I am not here to bash or break any spirits, but more to maybe help distinguish the rationalities of the smoking ban and possibly those who are a little more extreme. Likewise, all this said applies to me as well. I am also not trying to isolate myself from any accusation or guilt. It is just me attempting to reveal something I noticed about the direction of this online blog. We need to take all aspects of the smoking bans affects to really consider the best action. Not just the governmental control, but yes the health aspect and the economical too. Next election we raise this as a serious issue and attempt to filter out the best solution. I just don’t feel we can get this outraged over people we put in power. As far as the writer, Nathan Gotsch, goes we need to be more open to suggestion.

It seems we have taken his article way to personal, like I said the emotion is what’s slowing us down. He is just voicing his opposition to smoking, which in its own right is acceptable. There is too much personal attack on here this should be an area where strong interest in activism is born not decadence and insult. So my main concern or point in posting here is to bring forth a revival of ideas. It is to push more action and less personal agenda and emotion. We need to find better ways to approach those in power, because as far as I can see complaints have not made an impact. I hope this post can be taken more into consideration as an appeal to all of us rather than an attack. Let’s break the mold here, and strive for a more positive way to oppose this smoking ban.

Michael Martin

I'll make it simple: You just pretty much accused the smokers as the reason of your uncomfort.
If you blame a group of smokers for your uncomfort, can't they be allowed to balme you for their's?
I mean, addiction is a disease with symptons that are uncomfortabel, to say the least, and your smoke-envoriment only helps YOUR group of non-smokers.
It seems like a form of segregation.


Mitch, the longest local blog thread (in terms of number of comments) that I've seen was Dan Turkette's post of August 22, 2007 which received 44 comments.

But this post of yours has to be the longest in temporal terms. Fifteen months, and counting.

Ed. note:

For the record, this was actually Nathan Gotsch's original post.

C.T.  Homestead Senior

The smoking ban is preserving the natural rights that were given in the Constitution. The government can take away the right to smoke in public places since smoking is interfering with other citizens's natural rights. Believe it or not, secondhand smoke is more dangerous than the smoke going directly into the smoker's body.

brian stouder

"The smoking ban is preserving the natural rights that were given in the Constitution."

Just a point of clarification: The Constitution deals with civil rights, and not natural rights.

The Declaration of Independence is the founding document that DOES appeal to and assert the natural rights of all people ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" etc)

Just finished a pleasant book by Allen Guelzo about the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 ("Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America"), which comprehensively illuminates this central point, along with many other interesting political overlays from those turbulent days

Robert Enders

CT Homestead Senior,
Wow. You're side won and yet you still want to keep the debate alive. Fine by me.

I would agree that the government has the right to prohibit smoking on public property. You have a right to a smoke-free environment when inside a school, post office, city hall, etc, because you have a legal right (and sometimes a legal obligation) to be inside those buildings.

But private property owners should have the right to forbid or allow any behavior they decide so to maximize their own comfort as well as the comfort of their guests and patrons. I have a constitutional right to say anything I want about the President, but if I walk into a restaurant and disturb the patrons with my diatribe, the restaurant owner has a right to demand that I leave.

John Crawford was inspired to write the smoking ban after going to restaurants with separate smoking sections and using specialized equipment to detect minute amounts of smoke particles in the nonsmoking sections. You could sit in those nonsmoking sections and not smell any tobacco smoke. But his little gadget said there was a trace of smoke particles, and he said that tiny amount posed a major health hazard. Give me a break.

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