Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bar Owners Agree - Vote Yes on Question 3 - Ban Stink in Bars!

Alright, the headline may be a bit of an exaggeration. But I just spent a little time looking at the Campaign disclosure forms from the Kansas City Business Rights Coalition, and I'm not seeing much evidence of panicked bar owners trying to stave off disaster. In fact, fewer than 20 local bars have bothered to pay the $50 membership fee for the group that is campaigning to prevent clean air in bars. Even one of the three bar owners featured on the committee's website has failed to bother writing his fifty dollar check to join. Priorities, priorities.

Who can blame him? Everybody knows that smoking is bad for the health of everyone stuck smelling the second hand smoke. Everyone knows that bar owners have chosen to participate in a regulated industry, and have no more "right" to continue poisoning their customers than anyone else. Everyone who has visited a city with a smoking ban knows that there are plenty of thriving bars around - the only difference is you can visit them and emerge without smelling like an ashtray.

In short, everyone knows that Question 3 deserves our support, and will make Kansas City a better place to live.

I'm guessing here, but I suspect most bar owners don't like being shills for tobacco companies. About 90% of the money for group comes from huge, out-of-state, multi-national tobacco companies - not the Kansas City businesses featured in the group's name.

If the bar owners' claims about closing bars and firing employees were true, don't you think that more than 20 of them would fork over fifty bucks to prevent it?

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27 Comments:

Blogger whistleblower said...

I don't like it!

If a restaurant or bar permits smoking, and you don't like it; don't go in.

A business owner has the right to refuse service. Maybe they should get smart, and refuse service to all the whining, take it for our own use, cry babies, that are already abusing eminent domain.

To create law, that makes it illegal to do something in my business, that is legally permitted on the street, is tyrannical.

Bar owners should put up a sign to end this debate. It should read;
"If you don't like the smell of smoke, or are worried about your health from the use of tobacco products in this establishement;
Go somewhere else!"


Problem solved.

What’s next? Loud music damages your ears, so music is banned in bars. Are you protecting the employees? They are exposed to the loud music for longer times. -Everybody’s getting’ Footloose”.

3/12/2008 7:50 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Whistleblower -

Your faux laissez-faire approach proves far too much. Think of all the things that are legally permitted on the street that would be unacceptable for a bar owner.

You are confusing the concepts of economic liberty and democracy. As a society, we interfere with unrestrained capitalism at many points, and most reasonable people are quite happy about that. As a democracy, we are entitled as a society to decide that the "right" of people to stink in public places is outweighed by the right of people to breathe clean air. If the bar owners prefer not to do business in clean air, they can either win the election (which they are apparently not very interested in doing) or they can move someplace else.

This is kind of like the city putting up a sign saying "If you don't like the fact that Kansas Citians don't want smoking in bars, or are worried about your 'right' to poison people; Go somewhere else!" Problem solved.

As for what's next, that slippery slope started centuries ago . . . Deal with it.

3/12/2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

Dan...

“Think of all the things that are legally permitted on the street that would be unacceptable for a bar owner.”

Yes! And the Bar Owner is the one that regulates that activity.

”As a democracy, we are entitled as a society to decide that the "right" of people to stink in public places is outweighed by the right of people to breathe clean air.”

In public venues: Yes. In my business, or my home: No. I think you are confused as to what is public, and what is private. I might be willing to open my doors to the public, but it is still a private business.

Although in the socialist state that, it appears, you would like to see established, my business will be the property of the government.

Nobody is stinking up your clothes, if you don’t go in. You don’t have a right to go in. The owner grants you permission to go in.

”If the bar owners prefer not to do business in clean air, they can either win the election (which they are apparently not very interested in doing) or they can move someplace else.

Succumb to the socialist agenda or you are left with two other choices; overthrow the regime by taking power, or leave? Are you reading what you write?

In venues where a need to enter is the case; such as grocery stores, drug stores, and hospitals. I agree with a smoking ban. However, I cannot agree with government regulation of an establishment where entry is voluntary, the risk of doing so is identified, and the establishment is privately owned and operated.

3/12/2008 9:06 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

I'm surprised there's out of town money involved. The handbills and table tents I've seen in bars are grossly amateurish. They don't even begin to explain the issue. It looks like the ban organizers' decision to exempt the casinos for fear of having an actual debate on the issue worked out for them. YAH CYNICISM AND CLEAN LUNGS!

3/12/2008 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puritans Stay Home. You are no fun so you are not needed in bars.

3/12/2008 11:18 AM  
Anonymous sunshine said...

I can't wait for the smoking ban to pass. I'm tired of being exposed to all those toxins just because I want to go see a band. So many major cities already have smoking bans. It's just a matter of time before there's one here. Chantix for everyone!

3/12/2008 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

"As for what's next, that slippery slope started centuries ago . . . Deal with it."

That's probably the single most shallow, short-sighted thing I've ever seen you write Dan (and it's got some decent competition). By all means, we've been taking rights away from people for centuries, why worry about them now?

And no, the importance of a democracy isn't that the majority has the right to take away the rights of the minority. That's certainly not what the founders of the country intended. You hide behind this as a democracy issue - when let's face it, it doesn't take much of a history buff to come up with hundreds of examples of the majority prosecuting the minority.

My biggest problem with the whole smoking ordinance thing is that it continues to be one of a countless number of ordinances that we keep encouraging in this city that make it more and more difficult for small business owners to survive. We say we favor small business, but with all of our silly processes, laws and fees we've made it nearly impossible for small business owners -- which is exactly the opposite way we should be going.

3/12/2008 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Of the preventable risks studied, the WHO publication lists the top ten globally as: childhood and maternal underweight; unsafe sex; high blood pressure; tobacco; alcohol; unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene; high cholesterol; indoor smoke from solid fuels; iron deficiency and overweight/obesity. Collectively, they account for over 40% of the 57 million deaths that occur worldwide annually and one-third of global loss of healthy life years"
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/new/2005/nw04/en/index.html

In the US, the three greatest risk factors are Obesity, Tobacco use and Alcohol, (obesity being the greatest risk factor).
I submit, if our government was really interested in protecting the public, they would limit the menu's in public eating establishments to healthy low fat kibbles and twigs, ban the sale of alcohol in bars and only allow tobacco products at home, in specially constructed safe rooms, (to protect the children).
After all, isn't it my God given right to impose my "Free Will" choices on others?
KHT

3/12/2008 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

Sorry, Brent, but you're way wrong on this one. Dan's right - the slippery slope has been in existence for a long time, probably since medieval days, and certainly during the time of our fore-fathers - bars and taverns have always been regulated.

Truth is, if we as a society deemed it advisable to require all bartenders to wear pink tutus, we as a society could certainly do so. But we haven't, because the majority does not want such a rule.

But people like you love to resort to the slippery slope argument, because it's a whole lot easier to argue that we shouldn't have a rule requiring pink tutus than it is that we shouldn't ban cancerous stink pots.

Similarly, KHT would rather talk about banning unhealthy food rather than cancerous stink pots.

Neither of you cares to discuss why it is beneficial to society to allow cancerous stink pots. Not surprising.

3/12/2008 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blowme wrote:
"Dan's right - the slippery slope has been in existence for a long time, probably since medieval days, and certainly during the time of our fore-fathers - bars and taverns have always been regulated."
Sorry, you are wrong. Some things were taxed, ie, tea, alcohol, etc.: the choice to use these items has historically been a personal decision. For an interesting historical overview see:
http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Law.Food.and.Drug.Regulation
I don't believe it is an issue of "slippery slope": in my mind, it is an issue of where is the appropriate line between personal freedom, (the ability to make stupid choices and have to live with them) and government's role in limiting that ability, (based on the societal cost).
As the societal cost has increased in the past 100 years, the greater the interest government has in limiting or regulating stupid choices.
KHT

3/12/2008 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Whistleblowme,

I don't question that cigarette smoke is harmful to people's health. But this is clearly a supply and demand issue. There is, currently, a small supply of smoke free bars and restaurants. If there was a huge demand for MORE smoke free bars and restaurants, there would be lines out the doors at these smoke free establishments. But there aren't. Thus, one can reasonably assume that there is a greater demand for smoking bars/restaurants than non-smoking bars/Restaurants.

So basically the non-smokers are asking the city to dictate the supply of non-smoking restaurants because either a) the general population doesn't have its own demand or b) the non-smoking preferrers would rather have other people regulated than regulate their own consumption habits by choosing non-smoking establishments. Either way, if the demand was there for non-smoking places, there would be more of them. But there isn't, so we shouldn't dive into more regulation for something there isn't high consumer demand for (even if there is public non-consumer demand for it).

3/12/2008 3:15 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

I'd vote no on any smoking ban for bars as a matter of personal preference. I feel additionally justified in voting no on this particular ban because of the casino exemption. I do think it provides an unfair competitive advantage to the casinos. But more importantly, I think it's bad public policy to direct addicts towards a fresh vice.

I wouldn't vote for an across the board ban, but I could at least respect it for being consistent. The only reason I've seen for leaving out the casinos is it also leaves out their advocacy against the measure. It might be a smart call, but it's not admirable.

3/12/2008 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Additionally, it should be noted that according to one study, one of the side affects of smoking bans is that many smokers will decide to skirt the smoking ban to travel to other communities where they can smoke/drink at the same time vs going to their local watering hole. The net result is an average of a 13% increase in traffic fatalities due to drunken driving. So in this case, you're putting other lives in danger of people who are not choosing to go to the smoking bar, vs endanger people who have physically CHOSEN to got the smoking bar/restaurant.

You can read more about the study here (it's the second item).
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/02/10/uncommon_knowledge/

3/12/2008 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Casinos were left out for two reasons. One, as you note, so they don't fight against this. But two, they're left out because they feel it would leave them at a competitive disadvantage against casinos in Riverside and WYCO that don't have bans. So they care about competitive disadvantage for the Casinos, but not for independent small biz owners. That's pretty jacked up.

For the life of me I can't figure out why if clean air is the goal that we'd jump to an all out ban vs requiring places that allow smoking to put in ventilation systems so at least people woud have options. I don't understand why "banning" is always our first step instead of other methods of dealing with the "problem".

3/12/2008 3:27 PM  
Anonymous whistleblowme said...

KHT - You are amazingly, breathtakingly, daringly, brazenly wrong! Go read the article you cite, as well as others, and you will see that bars and taverns and inns have been regulated since before the revolution.

I admire your guts in lying, but including a link to prove yourself wrong.

Brent, I haven't taken the time to read your article yet, but that 13% statistic smells awfully bad . . .

3/12/2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that smoking is bad for the health of everyone stuck smelling the second hand smoke.

How about second hand alcoholism, you know where the drunk driver kills you. Or how about my health insurance going up because of the guy in the cube next to me eats barbeque every day and had a heart attack.

If it was about health, then alcohol and fatty foods would be neck and neck with smoking.

The ban has zero to do with health care and every thing to do with a bunch of whiners not wanting to smell smoke.

Yes we can regulate things. Thats how we got prohibition, the war on drugs and slavery. Look how great those turned out.

So quit lying that this has anything to do with healthcare. Because if it did then you would be posting that Gates, the Herford House, Golden Ox, etc.., should all be banned.

3/12/2008 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all kind of missing Dan's point - why should we all care if the bar owners don't?

3/12/2008 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all kind of missing Dan's point - why should we all care if the bar owners don't?

First they came for the smokers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a smoker.
Then they came for the bbq lovers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a bbq lover.
Then they came for the drinkers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a drinker.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

3/12/2008 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway we could ban chocolate chip ice cream? I mean, I am way tired of looking at fat chicks.

Think about it, wouldn't Kansas City be a better place to live with a few less thunder thighs?

I hate going to bars and seeing chicks with a fat roll.

3/12/2008 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems I have read that obesity is the #1 killer in the US now. We need to ban resturants unless they only serve sprouts and tofu. All that KC BBQ is a heart attack in a mouth full. Cheese burgers? French Fries? Oh my God. The #1 epidemic in this country.

So you don't like the smell of smoke? The smell of your perfume physically makes me sick. I'm allergic. Can we please ban that?

3/12/2008 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually a perfume ban wouldn't be a bad idea. Nothing worse than some rednecks high karate. A number of cities have done perfume bans.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/fume27.shtml

3/13/2008 12:20 AM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

I personally can't wait to go to a restaurant or bar and leave not smelling like an ashtray. I love going out in San Francisco, Orlando, New York and leaving not feeling so tired because my eyes hurt from the smoke or because I'm winded from my cloudy lungs. I would choose to go to non-smoking establishments if they were offering the same things that the places I go to today are - they're not - so it's not fair to say it's an easy choice. and it's not fair to say that the servers working in these places have an easy choice either - you work where you'll make the money just like I'll go out where the crowds and the good music are.
When you are obese and you eat that fat, nasty burger - you are harming yourself. When you go to the bars that play loud music - most likely you are going there particularly to listen to that loud, ridiculous music. When you smoke cigarettes, you are knowingly harming your own body, and involving everyone else around you with your toxic (not just unpleasant) fumes.
It bugs me every day that I live in a city that gives me a ticket because I don't wear my seat belt - which protects me and only me, and is behind on protecting everyone's health by banning public poisoning.

3/13/2008 9:39 AM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...

Ya know the one thing about what "everyone knows?"

It's almost always wrong.

3/13/2008 6:24 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

That's what everyone says, GMC.

3/13/2008 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The money is definitely coming from out of town. There is a hired gun who gets paid a percentage for all the pro-smoking money she brings to the table. There a bar owners who have taken up the cause but most acknowledge that it is a matter of time before it happens anyway.

Considering the dollars involved I am also stunned at how amateurish the effort is.

3/17/2008 7:00 AM  
Blogger nicepants said...

"I don't question that cigarette smoke is harmful to people's health. But this is clearly a supply and demand issue. There is, currently, a small supply of smoke free bars and restaurants. If there was a huge demand for MORE smoke free bars and restaurants, there would be lines out the doors at these smoke free establishments."

This is an issue of "substitute" goods. There are a lot of non-smokers who "put up with" the smoke at smoking bars because they like other things about that establishment. (Music, crowd, etc) Since they can't get that same music, crowd, etc at a non-smoking bar, they go to the smoking bar. A ban on indoor smoking isn't going to keep my smoking friends from going out, but it will keep them from having to wash their clothes 6 times to get the stink out.

3/24/2008 12:20 PM  
Blogger nicepants said...

"If it was about health, then alcohol and fatty foods would be neck and neck with smoking."

Had to address this too: If other people want to drink, it doesn't get me drunk. If other people want to eat fatty foods, it doesn't make me fat. But if I'm in an enclosed space with someone who is smoking, guess what, I'm breathing their smoke too.

Apples to oranges, my friend.

3/24/2008 12:22 PM  

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