People Ban: KS Hutchinson and Reno County Page 2

Kansas Reno County Update…

4/25/09, sheila martin> wrote:
From: sheila martin>
Subject: Reno County Health Department misuse of public funds
Cc: “jason hutchnews”, “doug”
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009
To Whom it May Concern,
?? I would like to express my STRONG opposition to the Reno County Health Department employees activities of late, concerning their involvement in lobbying, on County taxpayors time, and their acceptance of grant money from pharmaceutical companies that market nicotine replacement products.
?? I especially am opposed to them advertising in the Reno County Health Department flyer for private foundations who are accepting grant money from the same pharmaceutical company in question. I SHOULD NOT BE PAYING THE POSTAGE FOR THIS. I want it stopped.
?? If Health Department employees want to be involved in lobbying and pushing nicotine replacement products, they should do this ON THEIR OWN TIME, not mine.
?? The KAN STOP line that is advertised in the flyer is also funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who are holders of over 30,000,000 shares of Johnson and Johnson stock. Johnson and Johnson are the marketers of Nicoderm, Nicorette, and Chantix.
?? I think that Reno County Health Department employees should be doing their assigned jobs. If they would like to educate children on the dangers of smoking, fine, the dangers of chewing, fine.
?? If they have ALL this free time to lobby the City Council of Hutchinson, I think that perhaps we are overstaffed at the County Health Department. This seems a logical place for cutting into the bloated overspending in that department.
?? If this group is a private group of concerned citizens, as they proclaim, they should be doing this on THEIR TIME, after work hours. They should NOT be getting free access to use the Museum for their meetings. And, Frances Garcia, should not be on their Board, or associated with this group of County employees in any way, if she wishes to continue to present herself as an open minded County Commissioner. I think this is a blatant conflict in her responsibility to represent ALL citizens.
?? And, by the way, the Society of Actuaries that are quoted in the latest Health Department flyer, is another private group, who are mostly employees of huge insurance companies and hospital groups.
?? If these employees are so positive, when quoting their grantors propaganda, that non smoking laws governing small businesses do not cause damage, (which they do!) they should be quite willing to go anywhere in Hutchinson, and buy a small business that allows smoking, and BUY it.
?? They should be required, in the Reno County flyer, that the EPA and OSHA reports DO NOT support their nicotine replacement propaganda about second hand smoke.
?? If they want people to not use tobacco products, WHY aren’t they lobbying to stop the SELLING of tobacco products? Because NO ONE would buy Nicorette, Nicoderm, or Chantix as an option to tobacco!
?? Being nagged and bullied by Reno County employees, who do not have a nickel in all this is just nuts. The Reno County Commissioners seem to have NO control of this bunch, and no interests in protecting the rights of tax paying small business people here. All the ad money to the newspaper and radio stations is? private foundation money. It comes in through the Kansas Health Foundation, (private) from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants.
?? I think that the Reno County Anti Tobacco Coalition should NOT be part, in any way, of the Health Department. And the advertising for private foundations should NOT be allowed in the tax paid? flyers.
?? I do not understand how you just let them come and go as they please, never even clocking out of tax paying jobs to do private foundation lobbying.
?? I am a citizen of Reno County, a property owning tax payer.
?? Please protect the rights of small business and property owners, instead of catering to a small but well funded group of social organizing busy bodies!
?? Thanks for your time,?? Sheila Martin? small business owner Reno County for 28 years

Editorial not factual
Interesting editorial (Monday). Obviously the reporter did not bother to look up smoking ban losses, which are easy to find on the Internet. I would print them and send them to her if she is interested in the facts. Probably not.
I will not get off this bandwagon as long as health department employees are receiving private foundation grant money, and our tax-paid time, to do this lobbying.
If Carl’s is doing good, that’s wonderful. I believe in choice and freedom. Carl’s is also a restaurant, not a bar or private club. Skaets is legally required to be nonsmoking by the city. We do have a choice to go right across the Arkansas River to Bumpers and the truck stop for breakfast.
And please, try and get some facts correct. Eighty-five percent of my customers smoke. I never said that I would loose 85 percent of my business. The statements you make about smoking ban losses being proven grossly untrue, and that bars can thrive, are just not founded in fact. You have obviously been in contact with the hype and hysteria crowd. Good thing this was an editorial, otherwise you might be considered a bald-faced liar and a very bad reporter.

Smoking ban debate
Hutchinson bar owner Sheila Martin contends she would lose 85 percent of her business if lawmakers pass a statewide smoking ban. Martin testified last week before the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Martin’s assertion mirrors claims made several years ago by Hutchinson restaurant owners when city leaders debated a smoking ban. Opponents believed at the time that Skaets, one of Hutchinson’s oldest and popular restaurants, would lose most of its customer base if smoking was banned in restaurants. That proved grossly untrue; business at Skaets and other Hutchinson restaurants remained robust after the ban went into effect.
Ironically, it was Skaets owner Donna Bartholomew who last week countered Martin’s testimony before the same House committee. Bartholomew testified in support of her employees and a healthy work environment.
“You have all these people who are working in that environment for long periods of time.” Bartholomew said. “They are generally the people who cannot afford the diseases it’s creating.”
Unquestionably, Martin and Bartholomew serve different clientele. But even non-smoking bars can remain popular and profitable.
Dan Heimerman, owner of Carl’s Bar in Hutchinson, bans smoking at his establishment, but continues to grow his customer base. It should be noted, though, the bar’s sandwich offerings and recent move to a new location on Main Street contribute to the business’ success and popularity.
The point is that bars can survive – even thrive – without the haze of smoke hanging over customers night after night.
But Martin does have a case to make against the state: Lawmakers should stay out of the smoking ban business. Numerous Kansas communities – without legislative intervention – effectively have fashioned smoking ban ordinances that fit residents’ needs and desires. In Hutchinson, restaurants are smoke-free, but customers can light up in Martin’s bar and others.
Martin likely has little to fear this year from the state. The smoking ban bill currently being debated in Topeka probably won’t make it out of committee, though supporters say they’ll continue the fight.
And if Martin wants to continue her fight, she should move to a different soapbox because her theory about financial losses has been debunked.
She can argue, though – and likely gain support – that smoking bans should remain a local issue. Because on that point, Martin is unquestionably right.

Hutch business owners flare over smoking ban legislation

By Chris Green – Harris News Service –

TOPEKA – Two longtime Hutchinson business owners took opposing sides in a debate this week over a bill banning smoking inside most public places in Kansas.

Sheila Martin, the owner of Top Hat, 2405 N. Main St., testified against a sweeping statewide smoking ban Wednesday in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

A day earlier, Donna Bartholomew, owner of Skaets Steak Shop, 2300 N. Main St., submitted written testimony in favor of the smoking restrictions.

The pair joined dozens of others – from public health advocates to business owners – offering comment on the bill in a series of hearings before the panel. The committee is scheduled to debate the bill on Tuesday.

Martin, who has owned her bar for about 27 years, said about 85 percent of her customers are smokers and most wouldn’t come back to her establishment if they couldn’t smoke inside it.

“If we have a state smoking ban, it will kill my business,” Martin said.

Although the proposal before the House committee allows existing Class B clubs like the one she owns to permit smoking, Martin said Thursday that caveat doesn’t diminish her opposition to the measure.

That’s because it’s likely that proponents of such bans would try to eliminate exceptions from the ban at some point, were it to pass. She said she also opposes the measure because it would be bad for other small bars within the state.

“There are some things that you don’t do just for yourself, if you know what I mean,” she said of her testimony against the measure.

Martin expressed doubt about the dangers that scientists and public-health advocates say secondhand smoke creates. She also said she believed that smoking bans were part of an effort to help companies that market smoking cessation products containing nicotine peddle their wares.

On the other side, Bartholomew said that having owned Skaets for 33 years, she has learned firsthand about how disgusting secondhand smoke can be. She said that over the years, she and her workers have been forced to clean and paint the ceilings and walls of her establishment up to three times per year because of smoking-related stains. While cleaning, a brown substance would run down the arms of cleaners and “smell like something rotten,” she said.

In a phone interview, Bartholomew said she decided to testify because she wanted lawmakers to realize exactly how bad dealing with secondhand smoke can be for business owners. She said she also wanted lawmakers to see the need for protecting the people who work in such conditions inside restaurants.

“You have all these people who are working in that environment for long periods of time,” Bartholomew said. “They are generally the people who cannot afford the diseases it’s creating.”

The bill before the House would prohibit smoking inside most places where the public can gather, including bars and restaurants, and most other workplaces. Private residences would not be affected.

The measure does permit a handful of exceptions, including allowances for smoking in Class A and Class B private clubs licensed before Jan. 1, 2009, and the gaming floor of a state-owned casino or racetrack.

State health officials say that 24 states and the District of Columbia have “clean-air ordinances” similar to the one Kansas officials are considering. At least 33 cities and two counties in the state have passed bans of their own.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.