Friday, October 05, 2007

Way to Go, Gottstein

Councilwoman Beth Gottstein has heard enoough constituents complaining about smoking in bar and restaurants, and she's going to do something about it. She has introduced a measure to allow Kansas City to vote on a real smoking ban on February 5, 2008. The Barnes-led council back in '04 handled the matter the way it did most things - ignored the will of the people, buckled to a few influential business owners, and changed nothing, all through backroom deals. Beth's taking it to the streets - let the more persuasive side win.

Prepare to hear lots and lots of whining. "It interferes with my freedom," some will complain, ignoring the fact that the freedom to pollute my space is not enumerated in the Constitution, and, if it were, it would end where my lungs begin. "It's bad for business," some will cry, as if New York and Minneapolis and Lawrence had become dry territory after their successful smoking bans were instituted. "Let the market decide," some will counter, ignoring the fact that bars and restaurants are (thank goodness) already heavily regulated for the health and benefit of the public, and they have no more free market right to serve tainted air than they do to allow tainted meat.

I admire Beth for getting out in front of undoing the damage done by the prior council. She has exposed herself to a nasty and vituperative group of people who will attack her personally, and she's probably cost herself a few donations in the next campaign cycle. But she's doing the right thing, and she's allowing the people of Kansas City to be heard. We'll have four months to discuss this issue, and then we get to vote. I'm going to vote in favor of the ban, and I know plenty who will vote against it. On February 6, we will know what the majority decided.

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54 Comments:

Anonymous Paco said...

Councilman Ed Ford said, "Personally, I favor a smoking ban in restaurants, but not bars, casinos or bowling alleys,” -10/5/07 KC Star

I never understood the arguement that bowling alleys fit in with the lot of casinos and bars. It feels like he should be on an episode of "Laverne and Shirley" fighting to keep the local establishment they way they want it.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Incred-i-bowl (sp?) doesn't allow smoking and is making money hand over fist from every age group.

10/05/2007 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I am all for public safety etc. etc., but last I check smoking is a legal activity. If smoking is legal than there should be some place you can do it in public legally.

Sure, this will work for some businesses but it will hurt others. Trust me families are not going to start going to small local taverns to make up the difference. Davey's is not exactly a fun place for the family.

This is an erosion of rights. A much smarter move would be a compromise that would allow some places to remain smoking. That might mean limiting it only to bars that just serve liquor and don't have a deck. Anyplace kids can go smokers can't, whatever.

Making the whole world non-smoking is just more restrictive BS. Besides, who ultimately benefits? Companies that need nice healthy workers to make them money.

10/05/2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger Stephen Bough said...

WAY TO GO, BETH.

Smoking is a legal activity. Even tobacco companies, however, have stopped saying it is not harmful. Go kill yourself and your family at your home, not in a public place.

There is no erosin of rights, no citizen has the right to harm others. I don't care if folks smoke at Davey's, I do care about Governor Stumpys. Where do you draw the line though?

Beth deserves kudos for standing up. She's a fighter and a person of great moral fiber.

10/05/2007 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I am all for public safety, etc etc., but last I check (sic) having sex is a legal activity . . .

Look, I am all for public safety, etc etc., but last I check (sic) taking a dump is a legal activity . . .

Look, I am all for public safety, etc etc., but last I check (sic) having a pet pig is a legal activity . . .

Look, I am all for public safety, etc etc., but last I check (sic) trimming your pubic hair is a legal activity . . .

But I don't get to have sex on a bar stool, take a dump at my table in a restaurant, bring my pet pig into a bar, or trim my pubic hair at the Harrah's gaming tables.

10/05/2007 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Here's my thing on the smoking ban. As a consumer, I love going out and not smelling like smoke when I get home. But as a human being, I hate the idea that if I own my own restaurant, I can't allow people to smoke in it if I want. I can let people smoke in my home? Why not in my restaurant? It's my property. If consumers were all hell-bent on non-smoking places, the 4 or 5 non-smoking bars/restaurants in KC that are non-smoking would have long lines outside them every night and only the 20% of people who smoke would go to the ones that allow smoking. But people don't. Even though most people say they dislike smoking bars/restaurants, they continue to flock to them. People now want government to get rid of smoking bars for them what they would be perfectly able to do it on their own actually voted with their dollars...but they'd rather stifle property rights than inconvenience themselves.

Personally, I favor non-smoking places, but I'm not sure that ethically I can vote for it because I'm not a big fan of nanny government taking away my rights to invite who I want to do legal activities on my property.

10/05/2007 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But I don't get to have sex on a bar stool, take a dump at my table in a restaurant, bring my pet pig into a bar, or trim my pubic hair at the Harrah's gaming tables."

Well that is a gross oversimplification of that argument.

I go with the same sentiment. Smoking is bad for you, but if we can decide it is okay to sell alcohol to people or allow people to be objectified for money (strippers) than there should be a place where people can smoke in public. Limit it and draw as many lines as you like. Extinguishing the right is draconian.

10/05/2007 10:17 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

“I’ve been looking at this for some time,” Gottstein said, adding that she’s had hundreds of e-mails from people asking for the ban. “I think this will actually encourage business.”

I confess, it has never occurred to me to send Beth Gottstein an email telling her how much I enjoy the freedom to smoke in a bar and demand that she do nothing about it. I bet there are many others like me. So I guess it makes sense that she thinks that bars need a smoking ban to encourage new business. The city is overflowing with hundreds of people who would pick up the unhealthy and expensive habit of spending lots of time in bars if only they weren’t exposed to the unhealthy and expensive habit of smoking. They are just dying to spend all that money killing their livers, but they hate the way their hair smells in the morning. I applaud Gottstein’s efforts to defend the interests of this beaten down minority.

10/05/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo sophia...show me one of these do gooders that will actually be in some of these places after the ban, hell, EVER. Welcome to prohibition...again.

10/05/2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Ha. I'd love for these people who are so insistant that they would go out more if it weren't for the smoking to name me 3 non-smoking restaurant/bar locations...if it was really that important to them, they'd know.

10/05/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophia -

Yet another negative post. Regardless of the subject, your tone is always bitter. Is there anything positive about the world?

10/05/2007 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yet another negative post. Regardless of the subject, your tone is always bitter. Is there anything positive about the world?"

What are you her freakin' mother? Shut your pie hole and stay on topic. Her point is valid and well thought out, what is yours?

10/05/2007 1:06 PM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

As someone who does go to bars regularly and doesn't smoke, there are times when I choose a bar based on the smokiness of it. Other times I just don't care. I can tell you any number of bars that I have a tough time with because of the smoke and, you know what, I make a choice to not go there. Sometimes, however, I make a choice to go there. I don't insist on other people changing their behavior because of my preferences and I certainly don't ask for the jackboot of the state to enforce my preference.

Can we still be friends Dan?

10/05/2007 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

I am fascinated by your political commentary, even though I'm from nowhere near you!

Anyway, just wanted to stick my 3 cents in - DC put in a full smoking ban (including bars) effective sometime last january. A lot of people grumbled and said that all the smoking partyers would head out to the 'burbs where smoking was still allowed. But a lot of bars in my area (northern virginia) are putting no-smoking signs in their windows, so the no-smoking is spreading on its own, and seems like some of the bar owners are given courage by the smoking ban in DC. I saw the same happen in Denver a couple years ago.

I know a lot of people who didn't go to bars because of the smoke. Not just because of the smell, but because of things like asthma. Now they can go. And the smokers can still smoke outside, a certain distance from the doorways. Just like at work.

People *always* grumble about the smoking bans before they go into place, but I have never heard of a single city that was adversely affected by the smoking ban.

Personally, I place the well-being of living beings over the potential profits of businesses. In this case, I don't see that there is a choice being made there. Smokers will still go to the bars (and smoke outside) and non-smokers who might have breathing issues that would otherwise prevent them from going to the bars will suddenly find that they can join their coworkers and friends and family for that drink after all.

Okay, maybe that was 4 cents. ;)

10/05/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Anonymous 1:03,

Bitter? Dammit... I was aiming for nasty and vituperative.

10/05/2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Deb,

I think it's interesting that people primarily focus on lost business as a reason not to do this. I'm with you, that New York, LA, San Fran, etc have no lost business because of their bans...

I still think that personal property rights trumps someone elses desire to go someplace that they elect to go to and not smell smoke.

Apparently I'm in the minority in thinking the Constitution is important here...

10/05/2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, the late-breaking wave of some already proven-to-be-good-idea finally has slogged its way to KC's shores and all the dated whiners are bleating about how it's facism or some erosion of rights and blah blah blah.

But congrats to Beth for knowing what year it is. I love how there are smokers who won't smoke in their own homes because of the smell, but will light up in a bar and pretend like it's the most normal thing on earth to smoke indoors. Trust me, once you get used to smoking outside again, you'll feel weird lighting up inside. Because it's GROSS.

10/05/2007 5:22 PM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

I do not smoke and I think this is a great idea to ban smoking in Kansas City. It's about time this came up. I feel Kansas City is lagging behind with the no smoking in restaurants and/or bars.
Adults know that smoking is bad for you but the children don't. In the long run we are saving our children from health issues that may arise when they grow older.
As we would say that children don't know better.
Then we have adults who thinks government imposes ordinances on businesses amd bars.
Businesses don't give a dam about anthing as long as they are making money. Thats why there are regulations the government imposes on business and bars so people like you and I dont always get food poisoning or hipitis c because one of the cooks forgot to wash his/her hands after taking a poop.
Regulations also includes in restaurants and bars so we aren't mistakenly served a roach, ants or mice in our sandwich or food.
This ban would help people with health issues who can't go to restaurants or bars because of the smoking problems which makes some people sick when around smokers.
Lets also impose an ordinance to which a smoker can't smoke around the entrance unless 30 feet away.
Just like bar and restaurants owner, smokers dont' give a dam about the ones who dont' smoke.
Lets take a stand and Stop Them Smokers.

10/05/2007 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me help educate everyone: the market is the pure judge. If bar owners thought that they could sell more booze/make more money, they would go non-smoking. But they know that a majority of their patrons smoke.

This is nothing but another emotional legislation borne to dictate morality. Just like the helmet laws of the 90's and the trans fat laws in other cities, pols think they can gain favor by dictating behavior.

And like the reversing of most helmet laws, smoking bans will be reversed via either courts or common sense.

This is a slippery slope...enjoy the ride

10/06/2007 12:01 AM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

anon 12:01...........

You sound like Tony defending the La Race.

10/06/2007 12:31 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

There's a whole lot of confusion on this issue, as evidenced by this thread of comments. Some think it's about trimming pubic hair, and others think it's about the Constitutional right to smoke in a bar. I hope we get to chat about this for a few months - it will be lots of fun.

Let me go through a few of the comments sequentially . . .

Paco - You da man. You know you da man. Got nothing to add.

Anonymous 9:26 - I think the commenter following you effectively handled your "if it's legal you ought to be able to do it in public" argument. But, wow! Your argument against public health as being based on keeping workers healthy for corporations is truly deeply cynical, and I think I love you for it. In honor of your argument, I'm going to refuse to get into better shape - it's my way of sticking it to the man (but not Paco).

Bull E Vard - BFF! Fair point - the issue is how far we can or should use the power of the state to enforce our preferences. I don't feel too bad about making smokers go elsewhere or give up their habit so that I can enjoy more bars. But I'm a middle-aged white male, and our whole society is pretty much arranged to make things go my way - maybe I'm getting spoiled.

Deb - thanks for the view from the real world, where actual experience shows that this is a good thing. I know I've enjoyed going into bars in New York and Minneapolis and not having to deal with smoke. (But do the jack-booted police there disturb your sleep, marching up and down your street?)

Brent - I've scanned my Constitution, and have totally missed the bit about smoking in bars. And, if you believe that property rights include the right to allow whatever behavior you want in your business, you've got a whole lot of surprises out there. There's no right to do the things that anonymous up at the top pointed out. You're not the only one who thinks the Constitution is important, but you might be the only one who thinks it applies here.

Anonymous 12:01: Sorry, but there's no pure market to judge these things. The bar and restaurant industry has long been heavily regulated, and rightfully so. But, if you're correct in the "common" part of your common sense claim, then the proposal will lose at the polls.

10/06/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Dan,

Make no mistake, I could care less whether smokers have the "right" to smoke in restaurants or not...however, I do think that property owners have the right to allow legal activities on their property.

Would you be in favor of legislation that didn't allow you to smoke in your own home? It's basically the same thing here. I can easily see the follow-up being that people are not allowed to smoke in their homes if they have kids.

Do I think people should smoke in their homes with kids around? No. But I also don't think it's nanny government's job to make it illegal. It's a slippery slope.

I'm not a fan of making laws to affect people when consumer demand would have the ability to create the same scenerio but people don't want to be inconvenienced by having to do it themselves.

10/06/2007 10:25 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Brent -

As usual, you make interesting arguments rationally. Thank you.

I disagree with your premise, and I think I have the weight of our society on my side. Property owners don't have the right to allow legal activities on their property, at least not if they are engaged in interstate commerce.

That's why most bars can't have nude dancing, even though its certainly legal to dance naked in your home. It's also legal to serve your guests raw pork at home, but not in a bar.

In our society, bar owners are not allowed to do lots of legal things, and I'm okay with that. Really, aren't you?

As for your hypotheticals, right now I'm not allowed to smoke pot in my own home, so the concept of governmental intrusion into my choices is something I've become accustomed to. If I wanted to smoke pot, I'd join NORML, and start working toward legalizing it.

Such is life in a democracy, when dealing with "rights" that don't have constitutional protection.

10/06/2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous MichelleD said...

And you all talk about smokers whining...Dan, I'm surprised by your dismissal of personal rights as something to be concerned with - passively accepting that our rights are being eroded and that's ok with you. But not so surprised by everyone jumping on the bandwagon to ban something that doesn't effect them. And the laziness of these citizens to not do something about it themselves - putting their money where their mouth is. You all have no one to blame but yourselves...

Nanny govt and fear mongering aren't ok with me. Cars and coal plants cause more pollution and are more detrimental to public health and yet these same people calling to ban smoking are riding around in their SUVs, huge inefficient houses and our city govt is dragging its feet on lightrail.

Pot and all kinds of things that are illegal that shouldn't be - that doesn't make it ok for our govt to further intervene in our lives. There are many things more detrimental to public health than smoking but its easy to oppress the minority while standing on your self righteous "but what about the children" BS.

10/06/2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous The Voice in Amy's Head said...

Gamble should have won, now we have this.

10/06/2007 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, you are an attorney so I guess 'the market' is something uknown to you. A popular vote has nothing to do with the market. The people that actually go to bars or would like to go to bars are the only ones that should be voting, if the market was the decising factor. If there was demand for non-smoking, bar owners would have done it already.

10/06/2007 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Dan, I guess that I don't agree with the premise of your examples.

You're not allowed to smoke marajuana in your home because smoking marjuana is an illegal activity. Smoking cigarettes is still a legal activity.

There ARE bars that allow people to dance naked on the bars...one of the reasons there aren't more of them is because there isn't demand for more of them because there is a limited number of people that desire to go to that type of location. So in that case, demand dictates the supply.

Meanwhile, do you really think we need to ban the sale of raw pork? Let's face it, if a restaurant served raw pork, a few folks would get sick, and word would get around that it was a crappy restaurant and it would eventually close. There would be no demand for a restaurant that made people ill. Again, the demand of the market would dictate that that restaurant closed, regardless of the law.

In the same way, if there was truly the demand for non-smoking bars and restaurants, there would be a greater supply of them. The reality is, there is not a huge demand for non-smoking places and thus, a limited supply.

Keep in mind that all of the patrons are in that bar or restaruant VOLUNTARILY. If it offended them so much, they wouldn't go -- and more places would open up to cater to that crowd.

So why do we want to impose restrictions on something that there isn't a clear market demand for? It's really easy to sit at city hall and make restrictions on a limited number of people (bar and restaurant owners)...and unfortunately, we as a society sit back and cheer when it restricts others and doesn't affect us. But then, when it affects you, and you're in the minority, it sucks pretty badly.

Again, this comes from someone that is a non-smoker, doesn't particularly like smoking, and doesn't own a bar, restaurant or anything that would be directly affected by this law.

10/06/2007 1:18 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Sorry, but there's no pure market to judge these things. The bar and restaurant industry has long been heavily regulated, and rightfully so.

Dan,

The original comment said the market is the pure judge, not that the market itself is pure. The existence of regulation does not deprive a "free" market of the ability to efficiently allocate goods and services.

People's preferences in the existing market suggest that people interested in the goods and services of a bar are also interested in the ability to smoke in that bar. But we have this noisy group that maintains that all the smoke in bars is preventing them from using the goods and services of a bar. People like to make money. And it's just downright odd that non-smoking bars haven't sprung up to serve the noisy demand of all these non-smoking would be bar patrons.

A lot of people point out that the lack of non-smoking bars suggests that noisy demand is insincere or insufficiently numerous to support a business. Over the years of watching these smoking ban debates, I've come to the conclusion that the noisy demand isn't just for non-smoking bars - it's for non-smoking bars with smokers in them. I used to joke that it was because smokers are more entertaining, and I do think there's an element of truth to that. But it's also nice to have that core pro-vice crowd regularly supporting a business so when the smells pretty crowd gets a hankering twice a month to go have a beer the doors are open to that business.

When it comes to banning smoking in bars, it's about a minority of users forcing their aesthetic choices on the majority. And that's just bullying. I don't think most of this occurs to people at a conscious level, but I do think it accounts for a lot of the hostility that tends to show up in these discussions.

10/06/2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

In this argument, I've giving Brent my power of attorney. Keep it up Brent, I'm digging it.

10/06/2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

MichelleD -

I'm not dismissing personal rights - I'm acknowledging the power of democracy. As far as personal rights are concerned, the rights of smokers to make a bar stink are no more valuable than my right to go to a bar that doesn't stink. Let's put it to a vote and see who wins. And I'm not really doing it for the children - I'm doing it for me. If smokers could come up with a way to smoke inside a helmet and not stink up the place, they'd have my vote.

Voice - Democracy sure does suck when you have an unpopular view, doesn't it?

Anonymous 12:58 - Sorry, but that's not the way democracy works - we all get to vote. I'd get to vote either way, though.

Brent - I think I was unclear in my use of marijuana as an example. I was using it to show that, in fact, we already do ban certain types of smoking - there is nothing new or unprecedented about the concept that the government can regulate what you do in your own private property.

You won't find nude dancing in bars in Kansas City - and I'll promise you that there is a market for such activity. My point is, again, there's nothing new about restricting legal activities in bars. You simply don't have the Constitutional right to do whatever you want in a bar, as long as it is legal to do it at home.

Now, why has the market failed to provide us with more smoke-free bars? It's mostly an historic accident. The tobacco companies lied to us for generations that smoke was healthy and glamorous, so it became a standard thing for people to smoke in bars and offices and everywhere. Now we know better, and nobody would argue that smoking in offices is okay - everybody agrees that innocent people should not be forced to inhale second-hand smoke to earn a living (unless they work in a bar or restaurant). Now that smoking bars are the standard, it is extra-hard to start a business that goes against the standard. You have an extra advertising message to get out there - one that excludes a portion of your customer base. Why would you take on that burden, when your competitor doesn't need to? Tradition is a hard force to counter. "Smoke free" is an attribute I might seek in a bar, but it's not the only one, and it's not the most catchy reason to go someplace, is it?

Sophia (by the way, I don't think you're mean!) - Take it from someone who frequents bars, my hostility stems from the asses who stink up the place. But, maybe you're right. Perhaps I am a minority. We'll find out once and for all on February 5. If you want, I'll promise to buy you a beer that evening at the Twin City Tavern, whichever way the vote goes. And if my side loses, I might even light up a cigar . . .

10/06/2007 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

"As far as personal rights are concerned, the rights of smokers to make a bar stink are no more valuable than my right to go to a bar that doesn't stink."

But the right of the owner of the bar to allow people to smoke, or not smoke in it trumps your rights as a person visiting their bar. If you don't like it, don't go. As far as I'm concerned, the smokers here have no rights, but the bar owners do.

I'm not dismissing personal rights - I'm acknowledging the power of democracy. Let's put it to a vote and see who wins."

I think it's important here to acknowledge the difference between "Freedom" and "democracy". If we let "majority rule" in all occassions, we'd still likely have segregation and many other racist types of laws. While democracy is important in this country, it's been my observation that the majority has been very good at getting its way over the year -- but in many cases it is more important for government officials to protect the rights of minorities from the desires of the majority in the interest of personal freedom.

For me, I'll take freedom over democracy any day -- don't confuse them for the same thing. It's this attitude that has left many people persecuted over the years.

"The tobacco companies lied to us for generations that smoke was healthy and glamorous, so it became a standard thing for people to smoke in bars and offices and everywhere"

Don't blame big tobacco companies for people's decisions to right now, in 2007, to go to smoking bars if they don't need to. But the reality is, they don't care enough about it to change their behavior...but want people to make laws for them.

Quick question Dan -- since you are so against smoking in bars. Name me three smoke-free bars in KCMO (no fair cheating and looking it up). If you really hate smoking this much, surely you frequent these places to support their efforts and for your own enjoyment. If you can't name 3, you are definitely contributing to the "problem" instead of building demand-based solution.

10/06/2007 3:26 PM  
Anonymous MichelleD said...

"Why would you take on that burden, when your competitor doesn't need to? Tradition is a hard force to counter"

Are you serious? "I can't eek out a living providing services no one wants bad enough to pay for so I want the govt to force it on everyone?" It's not the govt's job to force a business to conform to anyone's personal standards just because you don't want to live without your hot wings. Vote with your dollars.

10/06/2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think some of you guys are still a little confused by the complexities of this argument, so let me state it plainly.

I don't like smoke in bars. I'm going to vote to get it banned.

Brent - the owners of bars don't have the right to do anything that's legal in their bars. Never have, never will. You're right - that's not freedom, but it is democracy. I thank my lucky stars we don't live in a libertarian society.

As for your challenge - I can only name the Blue Room off the top of my head. I can name a dozen that I like, and I will like a lot more on February 6.

MichelleD - See my simpler explanation above. I tried to explain why a rational bar owner might not go smoke-free, but I think I just confused the issue.

Nothing wrong with voting with your dollars - I try to do it regularly. Nothing wrong with voting with your ballot, either, and I look forward to doing so on February 5, and then buying you a beer.

10/06/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

That was me.

10/06/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

I don't like people ordering Bud Light in bottles when Bud Light is on tap. I'm going to get it banned, because my opinion is soooo much more important than everyone else's.

10/06/2007 8:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Neither do I, BFF!

At least they don't stink as much and aren't as inconsiderate as smokers. But I'm with you! Let's start a petition drive on February 6.

10/06/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

I think it's awesome that someone who cares so much about smoke free environments that he can name exactly one smoke-free bar in town is excited for the government to come in and make it easy for him to enjoy a smoke-free environment.

This is excatly what's wrong with this country -- people without the will-power to control their own decisions and want the government to make it easy for them.

10/06/2007 11:15 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Brent -

Smokers are the ones who have impulse control issues, don't you think?

10/06/2007 11:38 PM  
Anonymous MichelleD said...

Dan, you won't be allowed in the bars I drink in because I'm going to vote to ban anyone that supports Beth Gottstein. Tell me again why you're not voting to ban SUVs, teenage drivers, lawnmowers and alcohol? OH, because as detrimental as they are to society that would inconvenience YOU!

I think everyone on the "ban" wagon should go live in Overland Park. You that don't want to be inconvenienced by "low class" annoyances already have a little safe haven awaiting you - free of pan handlers even!

Your concept of Democracy is too simplistic - but you stand on it to suit your needs. If true majority rules existed we'd still have Black folks riding in the back of the bus. True majority rules doesn't exist or Supreme Court appointees wouldn't be an issue and we still wouldn't be debating stem cell research. The Constitution was put in place to protect us from "the tyranny of the majority" - as little as it seems to be helping these days and as little relevence as you see in it.

How about gay marriage? I don't give a rats a$$ about anyone's marriage but my own. But apparently the MAJORITY has decided THEY are threatened because Jay & John want to commit to each other. By your standards, this is completely acceptable because the "majority rules" thus John and Jay have no right to get married (and marriage is not specifically mentioned by the Constitution). I can't agree with that premise.

You will of course say "it's different, smoking kills" just like the right would say "gays are destroying the institution of marriage & family - they spread AIDS."

Why exactly do you think you're too incompetent to influence the market? Why can't consumers get this done on their own? And don't complain when the next ban that comes along is something YOU do that bothers ME. Majority rules right?! And I despise smoking btw...

10/06/2007 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Just saying that someone who hates smoking so much that they think it should be outlawed in bars and restaurants should be able to name more than one smoke-free bar...

If I cared so much to want it outlawed, I'd be taking every opportunity to support every smoke-free establishment in the city...

Apparently it's only important to you if it's easy for you. Go government intervention.

10/06/2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Well, Dan... I've been pretty well behaved, but now I'm gonna have to beat you like a red jerseyed football player (speaking of Coffmans who would have no problem getting votes in Missouri tonight). /trash talk

I spoke of a minority of bar users, and you point to an election -- rather ignoring the point that voting in that election does not require being a bar user. Shifting the discussion in your preferred direction of the will of average citizen rather than actual consumer, I would be pretty surprised if an ordinance banning smoking in bars and restaurants didn't pass in a referendum type situation.

I'm not giving Gottstein super points for her position on this issue. It's kind of a no-brainer. Everybody knows that a smoking ban is coming, it's just a matter of when. Sure, some local owners are going to be pissed. And it will affect business. But it's not going to kill it. Business will shift, first in the direction of bars with outdoor smoking areas and eventually settling down. Because, who are we kidding, most people who smoke and spend a ton of time in bars are addicted. They're not going to stop. Go ahead, tax the shit out of them to pay for poor children's health care - we all know they're going to pay up.

Yes, Gottstein will probably lose some contributions and put up with some pissy talk, but she's probably acting in line with the majority of her constituents. And even those who disagree are unlikely to make a fighting point about it after the fact. I don't really see the evidence of moral fiber that Bough does. If she puts her ass on the line for an ordinance requiring bar and restaurant owners to pay all their service personnel minimum wage, I'll reconsider that position.

10/07/2007 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophia hits nail on the head.

If bar owners thought they could do more business, they would go non-smoking. This is simply another example the market minority dictating to the market.

This started in KC by the council outlawing people pumping gas and then paying inside. A gas station owner should be able to to decide how people pay. If he/she is getting ripped off, then they will voluntarily require pay before pumping.

Slippery slope gets slicker and goats like Dan ride along with freedom erosion.

10/07/2007 12:16 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I like Hooper's. I like 75th Street. I like Davey's. The smoke free bars I know aren't as good or convenient as those. If a replica of Hoopers was built next door, I would certainly patronize it instead of the original.

My preference for nonsmoking is a preference - I look forward to my preference applying to all bars in KC.

Michelle - laws against racial discrimination were passed through our democratic system. The "freedom" of those bartenders to do as they like in their places of business was infringed by the democratic process. Ain't democracy wonderful??

Sophia - it hurts to be compared to a Husker. I don't know how a bar user election would come out, but I do agree it would be closer. Heck, I'm not even sure how this election will come out, if it gets on the ballot.

But I don't remember in Civics class anything about suffrage being limited to people you think are most affected.

I do agree, though, that Beth will be re-elected in a landslide.

10/07/2007 12:26 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

Dan,

Re: Huskers... I took a wild guess and figured it would be a fun way to tweak you. Obviously, the reference was purposefully silly at just about every level.

I'm a little disappointed in your constant shifting on the subject of this proposed ban. I don't think I've suggested that suffrage is limited to users. I'm pretty sure I've acknowledged the reality of the situation -- where every registered voter in the city gets to show up and exercise their preference about what happens in bars regardless of whether they ever go to bars. I'm just pointing out that in this context, that's bullying.

10/07/2007 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glover will wax Beth in 3.5 years.

10/07/2007 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Dan,

It's a really sad state for our society when people are willing to change laws to make everyone to conform to their preferences...when they themselves won't make even small sacrifices like choosing a different bar because it's inconvenient to even commit to these preferences.

You can hide behind "democracy" all you want, but the majority isn't always right (in fact, the whole premise of our country is that the majority is usually wrong in persecuting the minority).

Those who wish for the government to take care of their every little preference will get what they deserve I suppose...

10/07/2007 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Waldo Farm said...

Dan just so you know, 75th Street Brewery is not real popular with its neighbors right now because it the owner wants to expand his seating to an outside porch -- and one could assume it would allow smoking. The neighbors do not want the expansion because of the already inadequate parking serving the bar.

NO, I AM NOT BLAMING THIS CONTROVERSY ON YOU! :-)

But, since you brought the bar up, and since you are one of the masters of all things political in this town I thought you would like to know.

The owner of the 75th Street Brewery has been arrogant at the community meetings he has been asked to attend on the subject. Beth Gottstein conducted a public hearing on the controversy a couple of weeks ago and there is hearing coming up later this month.

10/07/2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

Sophia .... it's also another good way to shut a bar down.

10/07/2007 5:17 PM  
Anonymous renfro24@primebuzz.kcstar.com said...

Proposing an accelerated Feb. 5 vote on a smoking ban, Kansas City councilwoman Beth Gottstein has joined former councilman Jim Rowland and Yeal T. Abouhalkah in the Star’s Anti-Smoking Crusade! The measure would pre-empt a petition drive to force a public vote on a similar ordinance next year! -- If Gottstein and her supporters believe this ban will actually “encourage business” they’ve already spent too many lunch breaks in smoke filled bars and it’s not the smoke that’s warped their reasoning!
Why the accelerated vote? -- Did the La Raza and NAACP organizations inform Ms.Gottstein and the council they would be more likely to choose a “healthy” smoke-free city for a “three or four day convention?” -- This proposal is as closely related to INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS as it is to the rights of a business owner. Attempts and the ability to erode those rights most often materialize from within rather than from outside influences! Voters should weigh this referendum carefully and question the intelligence and motives of their council representatives

10/07/2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous renfro24@primebuzz.kcstar.com said...

Proposing an accelerated Feb. 5 vote on a smoking ban, Kansas City councilwoman Beth Gottstein has joined former councilman Jim Rowland and Yeal T. Abouhalkah in the Star’s Anti-Smoking Crusade! The measure would pre-empt a petition drive to force a public vote on a similar ordinance next year! -- If Gottstein and her supporters believe this ban will actually “encourage business” they’ve already spent too many lunch breaks in smoke filled bars and it’s not the smoke that’s warped their reasoning!
Why the accelerated vote? -- Did the La Raza and NAACP organizations inform Ms.Gottstein and the council they would be more likely to choose a “healthy” smoke-free city for a “three or four day convention?” -- This proposal is as closely related to INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS as it is to the rights of a business owner. Attempts and the ability to erode those rights most often materialize from within rather than from outside influences! Voters should weigh this referendum carefully and question the intelligence and motives of their council representatives

10/07/2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous renfro24@primebuzz.kcstar.com said...

Sorry for the unintentional double post --- renfro

10/07/2007 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Beth one of the four council members that are fighting Funk at every turn? Nobody inlcuding Dan ever named names? Please help me out.

10/08/2007 10:09 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Didnt' mean to be unhelpful, anonymous, but I don't think there are 4 such council people. You shouldn't believe everything you read in anonymous comments . . .

10/08/2007 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Dan you did say that "you know whats going on" regarding Funks mis-steps as they relate to the council. What did you mean?

10/08/2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

It seemed at the beginning of the administration, right when all the silliness was in full bloom, that he was having a tough time with several members of the council. The inability to get the council to vote in favor of renegotiating Cauthen's contract was probably the lowlight, in my view, in that any responsible adult could see it needed to be done, but he couldn't get the council behind him.

Nowadays, I think the council is funktioning better (sorry about that!).

10/09/2007 6:00 AM  

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