Thursday, October 22, 2009
Ballard MIA on Comprehensive Air Ordinance
Hey sports fans, the comprehensive air ordinance to be voted on Monday night at the City-County Council meeting looks like it's going to come down to a few votes difference either way, and Mayor Greg Ballard still has shown no leadership one way or another.
Speaking at the Washington Township Democratic Club meeting last night, Councillor Angela Mansfield, one of the bi-partisan co-sponsors (Republican Benjamin Hunter being the other) of the ordinance that would ban smoking in almost all public places in Marion County, talked about the ordinance and the struggle to make it so. She said that Indy is one of only two of 20 major cities with no comprehensive air ordinance. That makes us look reeeeally bad. It also makes us an unhealthy place to live and work. Mansfield also inimated that one Democrat is opposed to the measure and one Democrat is going to abstain from the vote.
Regardless of the merits, Councillor Mansfield said that the mayor could be helping out one side or the other if he would just take a side. Instead, like with almost every other major issue to cross his desk, Ballard is and seems to be waiting for the prevailing wind to lead him. He's just waiting for things to happen. He's reactive and not visionary.
This is unlike the leadership and vision of his predecessor. When the original partial smoking ban was passed, Mayor Bart Peterson understood what an important moment this was for the city, and he stood with Mansfield and then-Councillor Greg Bowes to pass a Democratically-led ordinance to ban smoking in most restaurants. Now, the absurdity of going to the local greasy spoon and sitting in the non-smoking section while folks in the smoking section were at the next table is gone.
Whatever side of the issue you fall on, you need to poke the mayor's behind into action. You need to call your City-County Councillors and, except for Bob Cockrum who doesn't list an e-mail, e-mail them, too. All the contact information can be found at this link. Tell them what you think.
As for me, I long for the day that I can exercise my right to go to a bar without increasing my chance for cancer. I wish my mayor would take a stand.
Off to the fast food joint!