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!


Anonymous said...

As a diehard Conservative (and I do mean diehard as I disagree with you on 99% of topics), I was sad to see Peterson lose to this clown. He literally has no leadership or business experience (kind of like our President). I think Julia Carson's sickness and subsequent death really hurt Peterson as she wasn't available to rally for him and bring in the votes.

Anonymous said...

Let me ask you...Should I be able to smoke at a "Cigar Bar"? I'm all for clean air and smoking bans in public places. However, Cigar Bars are for cigar smokers and people who work at Cigar Bars should understand that they are places where Cigar smokers come to smoke cigars. Your one shoe fits all ordinance will put these places out of business. Doesn't sound very democratic to me.

Anonymous said...

Who is the one defector Democrat that we need to remember in the next slating and primary???

Jon E. Easter said... (7:03)-
In a perfect world, yes. But, what would stop all bars from changing themselves to private "cigar clubs"?

Smoke your cigars at home or in your radio

Jon E. Easter said...

Anonymous 10:57-
Councillor Mansfield did not give up names. We know from Abdul's blog that Dane Mahern is the abstention, and he was going to oppose the ordinance before deciding to abstain.

Councillor Mansfield also said that one vote for the ordinance will not be in attendance Monday. That's Councillor Doris Minton-McNeil, who is another blog post altogether.

Anonymous said...

Anon...don't get your panties in a knot....cigar bars and hookah bars are exempt from this rest, take a deep breath and then go to one of those and leave smelling like an ashtry, knowing that you have shortened your life just a little more.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (09:43) Now that I have pulled my panties out of the knot, actually, unless they just changed it, the version I read had cigar bars crossed out as being exempt, so they would not be exempt. I'm glad you recognize that as an AMERICAN, I have the freedom to smoke a cigar occasionally and shorten my life if I so choose. Keep eating your McDonalds and clogging your arteries. Keep drinking chlorinated water and scarring the lining of your arteries. Where does it end genius. You can't remove every single freedom in our country in the name of health and green.

Jon - you make a good point and surely there would be some way to prevent that from happening. Cigar bars are an extreme minority in this city (I can count them on one hand). In communities that have totally banned smoking except cigar bars, the bars have not suffered as feared. I don't know that they get any more business, but the places I have been don't seem to get any less.