Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

CROSSROADS COMMENT -- Full and Fair Smoking Ban Not to Be

[Statement made at meeting of Vigo County Commissioners, June 20, 2006]

Commissioner Anderson, Commissioner Bryant, it’s a pleasure to meet you at last. I thank for your many years of public service.

My name is Gary Daily. I’ve lived in Vigo County since 1970. I love this place.

Though I admire the work of many in this room, I speak this morning as an individual.

And it’s my hope that you, Commissioner Anderson, and you, Commissioner Bryant, when you vote on the ordinance before you today, will vote strictly as thinking and caring individuals.

The issues tied to the smoking ban you are considering this morning are important and will have consequences that will outlive all of us here today. This is a fact that cannot be escaped or ignored. You need to craft a smoking ban ordinance that first and foremost serves the health interests of the people of Vigo County. The people’s health is not something that can be played with, a little of this now, a little of this later. It’s of no value to play Solomon trying to find a fair compromise. There is no such thing in this case.

A Full and Fair Smoking Ban is what is needed.

To some this may sound overly dramatic. It isn’t. I know you have done your “homework” on the effects of secondhand smoke. I know you have read and you have listened to medical authorities. You know the medical science. You know of the established links between secondhand smoke and heart disease, lung disease and death rates. You know the economic costs in medical bills families have to bear individually and communities bear collectively.

There IS drama in all of this and that drama can be fairly called tragedy. But it is within your power to pull down the curtain on this ongoing tragedy.

I urge you to REJECT the ordinance you have before you. It is fatally flawed and grossly unfair to local businesses.

I urge you to recognize the sham of building walls that hold deadly smoke in and installing expensive ventilation systems that fail to transport carcinogens out.

I urge you to immediately re-write the ordinance in a form that bans smoking in all work places and public venues, including all bars and restaurants.

I urge you to recognize that the only ordinance that fully protects the health of your constituents AND creates a level playing field for all business interests affected by a smoking ban is a full ban.

I urge you to join the direction taken by progressive communities across the nation and give Vigo County what it deserves, a FULL AND FAIR BAN.

from The Tribune-Star, editorial June 21, 2006

"Compromise inherently leaves no one completely satisfied. And the countywide indoor clean-air ordinance passed by the Vigo County commissioners Tuesday fits that category. . . .

"Indeed, this new Vigo County law is more aptly labeled a “cleaner-air” ordinance than a “clean-air” ordinance. It will be among the least-stringent smoking laws in the country."

What can I say? Compromise in this case is like kissing your reportedly really hot sister who smokes; it means nothing and it's more than vaguely distasteful.


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