People Ban: KS Hutchinson and Reno County

Kansas Reno County Update…

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Huffing and puffing
1/20/2009
By Dan Deming – Community columnist
I’m convinced that the recent City Council decision to no longer pursue additional restrictions on smoking in Hutchinson was correct, and the three members who reached that conclusion – Bob Bush, Dave Razo and a reluctant but eventual “light-seeing” Ron Sellers – deserve praise from those of us who feel government is already too much in our lives and needs to “butt out,” pun intended.
Listening to the debate over two council meetings was fascinating, including Mayor Trish Rose’s assertion (correctly) that “civil rights are restricted all the time by government” and are often “arbitrary” in some limits on how citizens may lawfully act. Her Honor argued that handwriting is on the wall for additional smoking restrictions, and so Hutchinson won’t get stuck with an ordinance that bars smoking in private offices and virtually everywhere else, as favored by the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition, we ought to negotiate a limited ban that excludes bars and taverns, where opposition to further restrictions has been strongest. There is something to be said for that position.
Councilwoman Cindy Proett, who has developed into an effective, sensible public servant who is willing to ask good questions, noted the push for vastly restricting rights of smokers and rights of property owners to decide how to use their offices and buildings, was “spawned by a small group who are not business owners,” and later suggested working out a compromise with those pushing for major restrictions.
Councilman Dave Razo made his position clear from the outset: Leave the current restrictions against smoking in restaurants alone, it is working well, and don’t expand it. Bob Bush challenged the mayor’s defense of restricting civil rights by maintaining there must be a “valid reason to act.” In Bush’s view, guarding people from secondhand smoke and the proven dangers of smoking doesn’t meet that “valid reason” test and giving in to the small band of taxpayer-funded proponents of a total ban would amount to “government by blackmail” and “compromising values.”
This issue could have and would have gone to the “let’s sit down with the proponents and see if we can work out a watered-down yet more restrictive ordinance route” had it not been for the somewhat late awakening of Ron Sellers, who initially declared himself “on the fence” in knowing what is the best thing to do. Seemingly moved by a woman from the audience who argued most people in private offices and businesses had no idea of their rights that were about to be taken away, coupled with concerns that if the publicly financed Tobacco Coalition advocates got their way, poor old Joe The Smoker, who operates his own repair shop and puffs away while fixing vehicles, could also find himself a lawbreaker and subject to being cited by the smoking police, Sellers eventually sided with Razo and Bush.
City staff did a good job of shooting down the idea of an advisory election, which for a while seemed to be on track until county officials reminded City Hall of state laws that make such a special question impractical if not unlawful. While on the council, I initially thought advisory elections would be a good thing if scheduled during regular elections so there would be no additional cost. But I came to realize and now strongly feel that trying to craft an advisory question on something with as many potential exemptions as further restrictions on smoking would only add confusion and be a largely futile effort.
Noticeably absent from attending these key discussions on expanding smoking restrictions were representatives of the county health department’s Tobacco Coalition. They had launched the effort to further limit smoking in Hutchinson, seemed put off when the council didn’t respond favorably to their cause, then disappeared into the night when the important and decisive discussions at City Hall took place. This group may come back with a petition, aimed at sufficient signatures to force adoption of a broadly worded smoking ban or forcing a city election. We can only hope that if they do, they will be responsible enough to time that petition so the city doesn’t have to hold a costly special election to settle a question that many of us believe the City Council majority has already properly decided.
While most people in Hutchinson don’t smoke, don’t like to be around smokers, appreciate the opportunity to go to a local restaurant without having unwanted smoke with their food, they also don’t want government telling other businesses whether they can or cannot allow smoking. It is a problem that the local marketplace has largely decided. Government already abridges many of our rights and is far too involved in everyday lives, although some of this “involvement” is necessary and in the majority’s best interests. The time for an expanded government-mandated smoking ban and its infringement on individual and property owners’ rights has not come. Let’s hope the smoking police and their government grant do-gooders will take the hint and shift their efforts to more worthwhile and productive causes.
Dan Deming, former general manager of Hutchinson radio station KWBW, lives in Hutchinson and is retired.
E-mail: dan.deming@cox.net.

Business owners’ rights focus of smoking forum
1/21/2009
By GARY DEMUTH, Salina Journal
James O’Shea doesn’t smoke, but that doesn’t mean he wants to deny the rights of those who do.
O’Shea, Salina, was the first speaker in a second forum Tuesday to hear public input on a proposed smoking ordinance that would ban smoking in all indoor public facilities. The first forum was Jan. 15.
More than 50 people attended the second forum at the City-County Building, and the clear majority of those speaking were against passing the ordinance.
O’Shea said banning all smoking in public places takes away the rights of business owners to run their businesses the way they see fit.
To O’Shea, that’s nothing less than un-American.
“I spent my life defending my country, and kids are fighting in Iraq and losing arms and legs for the preservations of our rights,” he said. “The city commissioners want to take away our rights.”
The Salina City Commission approved the ordinance during a first reading Jan. 12 with a vote of 3-2. A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 26.
The two public forums were scheduled to hear input from the Salina public before the final reading and final decision by commissioners, said city manager Jason Gage.
“It’s a legitimate tough issue, and the commissioners are struggling with it,” he said.
To Salinan Bill Evans, resolving the smoking issue is simple: If someone doesn’t want to go to a facility where smoking is allowed, then don’t go.
“There are several bars in Salina that are nonsmoking,” he said. “Business owners are being told what they can or cannot do. How would you like to be told how to operate your business?”
Susan McClure, who works as a bartender in Salina, said the kind of rules that take away the rights of business owners don’t belong in a democracy.
“I believe I live in America, not 1939 Germany,” she said. “What will be the cost of enforcing this new ban? This (ordinance) just caters to a special interest group.”
Salinan Janet Wood was one of the few attendees who stood up and spoke for passing the ordinance.
“I’ve heard a lot about rights tonight, the rights of smokers, but what about the rights of nonsmokers?” she said. “I wonder if bars had been excluded, would there have been this big of a turnout? I believe this should be put to a vote.”
Salinan Ted Mintun understood the smokers’ point of view — he was a heavy smoker for nearly 55 years. But he said he developed serious health problems, including emphysema, even after he quit smoking in 1984.
“Why did this have to happen?” he said. “I’ve come full circle. I believe this is a very important health issue.”
Salinan Mary Mertz had come to the forum as a nonsmoker who believed the ordinance should be passed. After listening to the passionate view of smokers and others who spoke against the ordinance, she found herself conflicted.
“There’s two rights here — the right to health and the right to not be healthy — and I have that choice,” she said. “Tonight, I’m leaving with the hope that commissioners will make amendments to these proposed changes. I hope we can have a compromise here.”


A smoking forum
1/16/2009
By APRIL MIDDLETON
Nearly everyone who spoke Thursday at a public forum on a proposed smoking ordinance agree the proposal pits public health against business owners’ rights.
The two sides disagree on which should be more important.
It’s a complicated issue, Salina School Board member Phil Black said.
A vote for the ordinance is a vote against business freedom; a vote against it is a vote for smoking, he said.
“As Americans, part of our spirit is to improve the lot of our future generations. That will take sacrifice. It always does,” he said.
Cities that have passed all-encompassing bans on smoking have sent the message to children that “smoking is frowned upon,” Black said. Since no one wants children to smoke, a ban is a worthwhile sacrifice, he said.
“Let’s make a sacrifice that will help our kids live a better, healthier life,” Black said.
Black was among more than 50 people who attended a public forum Thursday night to discuss the proposed ordinance, which would ban smoking in all indoor public places.
The Salina City Commission approved the ordinance on first reading Monday with a vote of 3-2. The ordinance won’t go into the books until the commission approves it on second reading, scheduled for Jan. 26.
Comments from Thursday’s forum and another that will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday will be forwarded to city commissioners before that final vote is taken.
Public input is important in the process, City Manager Jason Gage told attendees.
Commissioners, with their comments and their split vote, “made it very clear their minds aren’t made up yet,” Gage said.
The majority of the comments came from proponents of the ordinance.
That’s not really a surprise, said Leonard Dahl, who has for 42 years owned The Hide-A-Way, a small bar at 540 Willis Ave.
Smokers are the minority, he said. But they still have rights. And so do business owners, he said.
“I conduct my business in the best way I know how. If you don’t agree with the way I run my business, then stay away,” Dahl said.
Many of those who spoke in opposition of the ordinance took exception to the fact that bars were included.
Those people said they don’t have a problem with the current ordinance or one that would prohibit smoking in places that children occupy. Bars, though, are for adults.
As adults, “it’s our right to choose how we run our business and where we go,” Salinan Elizabeth Owens, said.
Trent Davis, a member of the Tobacco Prevention Coalition, said that isn’t the solution.
“Adults are just as important to protect,” he said.
Jerry Vargas, of Salina, said even as a nonsmoker he doesn’t think the commission should tell business owners how to operate their businesses.
The commission shouldn’t pass the ordinance “without giving people the chance to vote. I don’t believe in it and I think it is wrong,” Vargas said.
Several other people urged the ordinance to be put to vote — something several city commissioners said they supported also.
Commissioners can’t put the issue to a vote themselves. But if commissioners approve the ordinance on second reading Jan. 26, members of the public can petition to place repeal of the ordinance on the April ballot; if the ordinance is not approved, supporters can petition to have it placed on the ballot.
People have the right to smoke, said Del Myers, public health educator with the Salina-Saline County Health Department, “but not in a way that can harm other people.”
“It’s not only appropriate (for the commission) to protect the community’s health, but it is part of their duty,” Myer said.


Commissioners give nod to ordinance
See the proposed smoking ordiance
1/13/2009
By APRIL MIDDLETON
Although the Salina City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a stricter smoking ordinance Monday, the issue still could end up on a public ballot — something several commissioners said they support.
Commissioners can’t put the issue to a vote themselves. But if commissioners approve the ordinance on second reading Jan. 26, members of the public can petition to place repeal of the ordinance on the April ballot; if the ordinance is not approved, supporters can petition to have it placed on the ballot.
At the Monday meeting, Mayor John Vanier and Commissioner Abner Perney voted in opposition to the ordinance.
“I don’t like smoke. I don’t like smoking, but I like this ordinance even less,” Vanier said. “I will not support this ordinance.”
Commissioners Aaron Peck, Luci Larson and Alan Jilka voted in favor of its passage.
The ordinance won’t go into the books until the commission approves it on second reading.
About 40 people attended Monday’s meeting and the commission will hear more public comment before taking a final vote. Public forums will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Jan. 20 in Room 107 of the City-County Building.
The ordinance bans smoking in all public places and places of employment, including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and bingo parlors.
One of the amendments passed Monday exempts public clubs. Smoking would be prohibited within 10 feet of an entrance to a public place. The ordinance doesn’t prohibit smoking on patios or outdoor eating areas.
The proposed ordinance was modeled after similar ordinances in other Kansas cities, such as Lawrence, Manhattan, Garden City and Lenexa.
Salina’s current smoking ordinance was passed in 2002 by voters.
It bans smoking in restaurants between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Before voting Monday in favor of the ordinance, Peck said the ordinance comes down to a rights issue — the right of a business owner to make decisions about what is and isn’t allowed in that business and the right of the public to be protected from breathing secondhand smoke.
“I think public health does take precedence over business rights,” Peck said. “That doesn’t mean I can’t be swayed, but that’s where I stand now.”
Jilka said the entire antismoking movement has been fueled by money from the tobacco settlement.
“There are not many people advocating for this that aren’t paid to do so,” he said.
Because the issue is so controversial, Jilka said he would encourage a public referendum on the issue.
Vanier said he, too, would rather leave the decision to voters.
“I would encourage the public to use the petition process and tell us if it is that important to them,” Vanier said. “I don’t want to tell them it is that important to me.”
Larson voted to approve the ordinance, but moments earlier said she was “on the fence.”
“I hate being told what to do,” Larson said. “But, if we didn’t have this type of democracy, we would run amuck.”
Larson said she would fully support an ordinance that prohibits smoking in places where families and children would be. She said she is more hesitant to prohibit smoking in places such as bars, which are frequented only by adults.
Public comment on the issue came from both sides. People who spoke in favor of the ordinance were from the Salina-Saline County Health Department and the Tobacco Prevention Coalition.
“This is a public health issue,” said Del Myers, health educator with the health department. “We are not saying that people can’t smoke. But when it affects the health of other people, that is a public health issue.”
Many of the people who spoke against the ordinance worked at or owned bars. They said the ordinance infringes on their rights and the rights of their customers and will cost them money.
“What you are proposing is stopping us from doing something legal, infringing on our rights,” said Susan McClure, a bartender at Bootleggers, 616 N. Broadway.
There are already several nonsmoking bars in Salina. Adults who choose to frequent bars in Salina can choose whether to go to one that allows smoking or one that doesn’t, she said.
“This is an issue as far as business owner rights,” said Denise Ward, who with her husband owns the Blind Pig, 2501 Market Place. “The current ordinance has been working.”
Several proponents of the ordinance said its intent was to protect customers and employees.
Ward said that argument had little merit.
“When people are applying here, they know if smoking is allowed or not,” she said. “They have the option to protect themselves from smoke by working someplace else.
nReporter April Middleton can be reached at 822-1409 or by e-mail at amid dleton@salina.com.


First Reading of Stricter Salina Smoking Ordinance Approved
Public hearings on issue to be held January 15th and January 20th
01/12/2009
Todd Pittenger
Salina City Commissioners Monday approved a first reading of a new, stricter, smoking ordinance. It could potentially snuff out indoor smoking in nearly every building in Salina, with the exception of private homes.
The current ordinance in Salina bans smoking in restaurants between 5:00 in the morning and 9:00 in the evening.
After hearing input from the public for about 45 minutes, both for and against the new stricter ordinance, commissioners then voted. By a vote of 3 – 2, with Mayor John Vanier and Commissioner Abner Perney voting no, the first reading of the ordinance passed.
Commissioners will take more public comment on the issue. Meetings have been scheduled for January 15th and January 20th at 6:30 in the evening at the Salina City County Building. The public is invited to speak on the topic.
The ordinance is modeled after similar ones that have passed in Manhattan, Lawrence, and Garden City.
Commissioners agreed that a public vote would better serve the issue. For the issue to go on the April ballot, though, a petition drive would have to be undertaken by either those for or those against the ordinance.
When the original smoking ordinance passed in Salina, it was overwhelmingly approved by voters.
City Commissioners will hear a second reading on the issue at their January 26th meeting. At that time they have the option of taking a final vote.

Council Vote Supports Business, Disappoints Health Department Busy-Bodies
Written by By Dwight Jurgens????
Dec 17, 2008
HUTCHINSON — As you may or may not have noticed, press accounts of Tuesday’s city council decision to bail out of the ridiculing-and-ostracizing-smokers business and instead leave it to the uppity, smug women of the Reno County Health Department, always includes the sentence, “Smoking is already banned in Hutchinson’s restaurants.”
I don’t know why that’s such a big deal to the press. Certainly, it hasn’t proven to be a big deal to smokers, and moreover, you don’t hear restaurant owners babbling about it.
If I were still a reporter, I would probably write, “Smoking is already banned in Hutchinson’s ICU pediatric wards.” At least people would mumble to themselves, “That’s good!” rather than simply shrug at the “news” that the law won’t let you eat a cheeseburger and smoke a cigarette at the same time in the rarified air of a Hutchinson sit-down restaurant.
By the way … do you know who won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine? Of course, you don’t. I didn’t either until a week or so ago.
His name is Harald Zur Hausen, and he’s a German virologist. And he won it for his research that showed a virus, and not cigarette smoke — was the cause of 80 percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer. A vaccine was developed that should protect 95 percent of the girls who contract the virus.
The good doctor is hard on North American cancer societies and related agencies (like, say, The Reno County Health Department) who, he writes, believe “smoking is the real cause of almost all cancers.”
Further, he suggests, that cancer agencies would have to be “ … indulging in their infamous paranoia … that any research or scientific findings which finger something other than tobacco smoke as a cause of any cancer might somehow ultimately originated in a tobacco company boardroom and, therefore, would have to fraudulent … when they continue scapegoat tobacco smoke for that cancer, regardless.”
Don’t blame me. I don’t choose who wins Nobel Prizes in Medicine. And don’t take my word for it — Google his name and read it yourself.
But back to our council’s good decision. Ever since the Health Department — and if you think the Reno County Health Department isn’t one of the most quasi-political organizations in town, you haven’t been paying attention — marshaled its forces and swept smoking from Hutchinson’s restaurants, I’ve believed the new, extended fight has been about one place — the bowling alley on East 30th..
Oh, I believe they want the bars, too — Now. But it started with the bowling alley … where hundreds upon hundreds of happy, 60- and 70-year-old smokers routinely frequent to gab, exercise a little and talk about the newest muscle rub or the latest discovery in antacids.
The population differs at night, as leagues populated by (mostly) blue-collar workers take to the lanes. Many, many of them smoke.
And, naturally, at night there are young kids and young adults who apparently have a constitutional right to bowl and who — if you enhance the Health Department’s argument only slightly — are dropping plumb dead from inhaling second-hand bowling smoke, or at least stumble out the doors in the throes of contracting cervical cancer.
So, the Health Department and its know-it-all snooty minions want to tell the owner he can’t allow his customers to smoke.
To hell with his bills, to hell with his income, to hell with his customers and his participation in what has long been sold as a “free market” — do as the Health Department wants or we’ll let people who don’t bowl decide the issue by petition.
For the record, I’m a smoker, a professional, who never leaves the house without a backup pack somewhere on my person.
And I’m a smoker who laughed out loud at attorney Tom Arnhold’s silly complaint that it doesn’t “look good” to have smokers lighting up in various groups outside the Reno County Courthouse. Hell, it was whacko’s like Arnhold who sent us there in the first place; it damned sure wasn’t OUR idea.
And as far as bars, I don’t go in them. I drink once a year, on a three-day annual gathering with old friends in Las Vegas.
So I am trying to figure out why it’s any of MY business who a bar owner allows in and who he/she doesn’t. If they didn’t want smokers as customers, they’d have thrown up a sign by now.
The Health Department can’t argue on behalf of children, because there aren’t a lot of them meeting in bars for Happy Hour shots. So it says — with a straight face, I might add — it’s sticking up for employees — waitresses and bartenders — who must scholp drinks to smoking customers bent on putting their lives in peril.
You know — as if people so arrogant and judgmental that they believe they know what’s best for everyone else … who think the owner knows less about running his or her business than a couple of cranky, tsk-tsking healthcare workers or “community volunteers“ — spend sleepless nights thinking about the fate of dishwashers, waitresses, bartenders and other non-skilled workers who are trying to eek out a living and help keep our economy going. Sure, they do.
I fully expect the Reno County Health Department to direct its soldiers to begin passing petitions to get the issue to a public vote, to let the government decide both a bar owner’s rights and a bowling alley’s clientele. So I’ll ask one of my attorney friends whether it’s illegal to rip the petition to shreds if it’s presented to a non-believer. Probably … but I want to know.
The Reno County Health Department’s goal is pure foolishness — to keep tobacco sales legal, why’ll outlawing its use.
And you don’t have to be a smoker to understand THAT.

City will stay mum on smokingLegal issues partly why council won’t seek advisory vote on banBy Edie Ross – The Hutchinson News – eross@hutchnews.com After discussing several ways to proceed with a proposed smoking ban, Hutchinson city leaders decided Tuesday to end discussion on the issue without taking any action.
12/16/2008
Previous sessions had left the Hutchinson City Council leaning toward allowing voters to weigh in on whether the city should pass stricter smoking regulations through placing an advisory question on the April ballot.
However, at its Tuesday meeting the council learned there was little potential of getting the nonbinding advisory question on the ballot because of legal and technical issues associated with holding an advisory election during a general election.
Earlier this year, the council opted to bow out of the smoking ban discussion, preferring to wait and see what state lawmakers would do.
The Kansas Legislature failed to pass any smoking ban measures last session. A couple of months ago, the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition began pushing for the council to pass a citywide ban.
That group has indicated an
interest in petitioning to get a comprehensive smoking ban referendum on the ballot if the council took no action on the issue.
The potential of the coalition getting a comprehensive smoking ban passed by voters was one reason Mayor Trish Rose advocated the council passing a new ordinance that would restrict smoking in public and private businesses, but exempt bars and clubs.
“My sense is, we can’t stay where we are,” Rose said. “There is a push statewide to enact smoking bans, and my fear is that we will end up with a complete ban. And I don’t feel that is what would be best for Hutchinson.”
Vice Mayor Bob Bush, who has been the most vocal opponent of stricter smoking regulations, spoke strongly against the city enacting more regulations because it was “scared” of what the coalition would do.
“When we start talking about appeasement, then you start compromising your values,” Bush said. “And then it becomes government by blackmail. It becomes, ‘If you don’t do what we want, we’re going to force you to do what we want.’ “
Ultimately the council, unwilling to enact stricter regulations that applied to some businesses and not others and also not seeing the need for a comprehensive ban, opted to take no action on the issue.
“So, that’s the end of the discussion,” Rose said, as she prepared to move on to the next item of business.
“Oh, I doubt it,” Bush added.

“Shady Coalitions : 12/17/2008
A lot of these groups similar to the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition take money from questionable sources like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The RWJF doses out tens of millions in grants to anti-tobacco extremists. For example, it gave $84,000,000 in grants to fund the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids. The RWJF has a strong conflict of interest. As of March 31, 2008 the RWJF owned 35,435,189 shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) common stock (valued at nearly 2.3 billion dollars) and is one of the company’s largest institutional holders. How is this significant to smoking bans? Johnson & Johnson profits from the sales of Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette products. The foundation therefore directly profits from cigarette tax and smoking ban laws they’ve provided grants to create. The RWJF gets patsies similar to the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition to do its dirty work.
Professor Richards”


?
Hurdles cloud ballotQuestions surrounding nonbinding smoking-ban vote could be its downfallBy Mary Clarkin – The Hutchinson News – mclarkin@hutchnews.com State regulations – or the lack of them – could snuff out the Hutchinson City Council’s tentative plan to schedule an advisory vote on smoking in conjunction with the April general election.
12/10/2008
“I know that we are not required to have them,” said Reno County Clerk/County Election officer Shari Gagnebin, who conducts elections in the county.
There is no provisional statute on advisory elections, so some county election officers will conduct such elections and some won’t, said Sandy Jacquot, general counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities.
In a study session Tuesday, City Council members favored a nonbinding ballot question to measure voter support for a
potential ban on smoking in public places and businesses. If the majority of city voters favored the ban, the council would proceed with an ordinance.
The council hasn’t officially voted to move forward with the advisory election, but it is eyeing the April 7 general election.
Gagnebin said Wednesday that she hasn’t been contacted by the city and would have to review the matter before reaching a decision.
Reno County Counselor Joe O’Sullivan, however, sees a legal hurdle in an April vote.
He pointed to a disorderly election conduct statute that he viewed as effectively barring the county election officer from conducting an advisory election during a primary or general election.
A Kansas attorney general’s opinion in 1994 deemed that an advisory election could be held on the same day as a primary or general election, but the polling places for the regular ballot and the advisory ballot had to be separate. Also, separate election judges and clerks had to be appointed, to maintain the separation between the two elections.
The cost of setting up separate polling places and election boards could be billed to the city, thus eliminating the original intent of piggybacking on a regular election to save money.
Jacquot observed that an attorney general’s opinion is a nonbinding opinion.
City Manager John Deardoff spoke to Jacquot about the legality of an advisory election, and she told him the decision on whether it’s allowed can hinge on the county election officer.
“There certainly are advisory elections that have gone on the ballot,” she told The News.
Jacquot said the League of Kansas Municipalities usually advises against advisory elections because the electorate doesn’t understand them.
There are other ways of getting that information, she said.


Subject: KSN.com Newscast comment-triple dog dare ya!
December 9, 2008
?? I was at the Hutchinson City Council meeting this morning.
?? I was quite surprised when you reported that the City Council is putting a very strict smoking ban before the voters in April.
?? Perhaps your reporter and I were not in the same location. Or maybe they weren’t paying attention.
?? What the Council seemed to agree on, was that they thought the Salina ban was pertinent, and allowed exemptions for numerous venues.? Since we already have a ban for resturants in Hutchinson,? and it is working fine, they seemed to feel that there wasn’t any real need for further action.
?? The fact, which your reporter did not bother to investigate, is that the effort to force municipalities to restrict adult behavior, is funded by grants from Johnson and Johnson, through local County Health Departments. These grants come through their partner, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. J&J; are the? makers and distributors of Nicorette, Nicoderm, Nicoderm CQ, and Chantix, among other nicotine delivery systems. Which advertise heavily on all networks.
?? This is why the anti smoking lobby people have NEVER lobbied for laws which restrict the SALES of tobacco products. If you quit selling tobacco, obviously no one would need Nicoderm or ANY other? of their myriad array of nicotine delivery (replacement) products.
?? The City Council here is aware that many very harsh bans, such as in Wichita, went too far, and are being amended.? Our City Council expressed respect for businesses and citizen’s rights. They would like to get this right, and NOT put people out of business as sort of an experiment, and then have to go back and fix it.
?? For many small businesses, that would be too late.
?? Anyway, I’m sure this letter will disappear. I haven’t run into ONE media outlet that does both sides of this story.
?? Ask your Council, or ours. They will tell you how tired they are of these County employees, who do not even clock out from County pay,(!?) who have never run ANY business, and quite frankly, who could give a rat’s patoot who smokes or not.
?? As usual, this is a money issue. Always remember to follow the money trail to find the truth.
?? Hutchinson Kansas is NOT a slamdunk for the nanny bunch!
Sheila Martin


Group wants city to make smoking ban talk a priorityThough coalition could initiate petition drive, rep urges weighing options.
12/5/2008
By Edie Ross – The Hutchinson News – eross@hutchnews.com

Hutchinson, like many cities, earlier this year dropped a discussion of stricter smoking restrictions in hopes that the Legislature would make a decision regarding a statewide ban.

But when smoking ban legislation fell short, the issue, it seems, fell back into local leaders’ laps.

Now, a coalition of community volunteers led and managed by the Reno County Health Department and funded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is requesting that the Hutchinson City Council reconsider the issue.

And this time the anti-smoking group has at least indicated interest in the possibility of taking the issue into its own hands if the council again declines to take action.

At a recent city council meeting, Mayor Trish Rose mentioned the possibility of the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition petitioning the electorate to put the issue on the ballot.

Such action is permissible by Kansas Statute 12-3013 and requires 25 percent of electors who voted in the last preceding regular city election to sign a petition – or 1,583 people.

City Attorney Carolyn Patterson said she’s been in communication with the coalition, talking logistics.

Specifically, timing of a potential ballot issue, if they choose to pursue one.

“If the city council chooses not to take any action and this group does mount a petition drive, we’d like it to happen so the question goes on the regularly scheduled April election ballot. Otherwise, we’d have to pay for a special election,” Patterson said. “They understand and are trying to be responsible on that end.”

However, Barbara Lilyhorn, chair of the public policy and communication committee of the Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition, would not confirm that the group had plans to collect names, saying it was “a little premature” to make any decisions at this point.

“We’re in a democracy and we have the opportunity to bring legislation forth in a number of different ways,” she said. “We’d need to very carefully consider the options available to us.”

Revisiting the issue

The smoking ban issue came back before the council at its Nov. 5 meeting when representatives of the coalition presented a draft ordinance for the council’s consideration. At its Nov. 19 meeting the council asked for more information on smoking restrictions in other cities, but stopped short of placing the item on an agenda for discussion.

At the Dec. 2 meeting, Rose again brought up the issue and asked that a council discussion be scheduled for the Tuesday council study session.

Council members intend to discuss the issue among themselves at the study session rather than to take public input at that time. If the issue moves forward, the council will request public input at a later meeting.

City Manager John Deardoff said the council is still in an information-gathering phase.

“I’m not sure it’s even clear which way each council member is leaning on the issue,” he added. “The discussion Tuesday likely will be to determine whether they want to move forward with a more formal presentation of an ordinance for their consideration or to drop the issue.”

Hutchinson’s current smoking ordinance restricts smoking in restaurants, excluding areas that are not enclosed. Bars are exempt.

The coalition is proposing a more restrictive ordinance, using as a model Lawrence’s clean air ordinance, which bans smoking in public places, restaurants, meeting places and, among other places, private clubs and bars.

Bar owners have been the most vocal opponents, saying a smoking ban would deal a blow to their businesses and that their all-adult clientele should be allowed to choose whether to patronize an establishment where there is smoking.

But Lilyhorn said the coalition feels strongly that a “comprehensive – everywhere” ban would provide the maximum amount of health protection.

“That would be the gold standard,” she said.


Reno County Health Department
November 24, 2008
Brad,
?? The smoking ban that you put together has been working fine here.
?? When I asked Miriam, and the girls at the Health Department, to tell me where their funding came from for their constant barrage on the Hutchinson City Council, their answers were very unclear. They say they only receive funds from the master tobacco settlement. That just is not true. When I asked them if they were still on the County clock, when they did their lobbying, I got no answer.
?? They say that the Reno County Coalition for the Prevention of Tobacco Use is NOT part of the Reno County Health Department. If that is so, then WHY is the logo, for the coalition, on the Reno County Health Department flyer, which, by the way, required a $.42 stamp to deliver?
?? I asked them who is paying for the full page ads in the Hutch News and on the radio. All I got for an answer was a dumb, who ME?, look.
?? If these ladies were using their state funds to educate kids on the hazards of personal tobacco use we would have no problem. If they were doing that on County time we would have no problem. If they were actually helping sick people we would have no problem. If they would tell the truth about the science on second hand smoke we would have no problem.
?? Our County Health Department employees are now a lobby group, funded with pharma money. The money from the WHO, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation goes to the lobby groups, staffed by our Health Department employees. This foundation is partner to Johnson and Johnson, who happens to market Nicoderm and other stop smoking aids.
?? Of course, they do not lobby to outlaw the sales of tobacco products. The strategy is to criminalize smokers, not smoking.? Smokers will quit a thousand times, and Johnson and Johnson and other pharmas are loving it.
?? We would all believe Miriam, Jessica, and Judy at the Health Deparment, if they were doing this on their OWN time, using their OWN stamps.
?? I say if you want to take the scalpel and save some money you might take a good look at the Health Department. They seem to have lots of time and money to try and change something that has already been fixed!
?? Also, I haven’t found out, as yet, who wrote the extended bill for the Hutch City Council to consider. Did the taxpayers of Reno County pay an attorney for that? Interesting that FIVE County employees could take that time off, on the clock, to lobby the Council! They won’t do this on the agenda anymore as too many concerned citizens show up to give them hell.
?? The few private businesses that still allow smoking in Hutchinson do NOT cater to anyone under 21. Not just bars but auto repair places, smoke shops, private offices and many other small, privately owned businesses have made their own choice as to adult smoking. No one is bothering others and no one was complaining.
?? We are paying the bills here for the ladies at our Health Department. We see that they produce little but pamphlets, posters and slanted science hysteria. I have not heard that they are handing out nicotine gum or patches. I really believe that their constant shrieking actually glamorizes smoking to teenagers.
?? Their full page ad in the Hutch News, with the smoke lazily wafting through the air, is pretty cool looking to kids! Cigarette companies do not need to advertise when the anti smoking crowd go to work! Get ’em hooked, then push the patches and gums.
?? I will quit smoking when tobacco is not available everywhere I turn. That is the honest solution. This hypocritical nonsense has gone as far as it needs to in Hutchinson. Let’s be the first lemmings off the cliff, instead of the last, for a change. Ban tobacco sales!?
?? They will tell you it’s great for businesses. Let’s try it in Reno County and see how our taxes would skyrocket! All mini markets would close- K Mart- Dillons- Walmart- Oscos-
I’m sure I’m forgetting a few.
?? How many jobs is that?
?? But it’s okay for Miriam, Jessica and Judy to ax small mom and pop (mostly mom) businesses.
?? How cowardly, Go after the BIG boys.
?? Sorry to ramble. This is VERY important to me, as the first thing I will lose, if smoking is banned is my health insurance. (I pay full price, not what the Health Department employees pay!) Then my property and home. So much for civil rights.
?? The ladies at the Health Department need to either work there, or quit and work for their lobby groups. I DO NOT want to pay them for what they are doing.
?? They only smoking problem we have here in Hutch IS the Health Department!!!!
Most sincerely,??
Sheila Martin


IPCPR Recommends Ockham’s Razor to Hutchinson City Council
HUTCHINSON, Kansas? November 21, 2008 – Ockham’s Razor is a term that means ‘the simplest way is the best way’ which is what the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is recommending to the Hutchinson City Council which is currently considering a smoking ban.
“Legislated smoking bans are not necessary because business owners have the right to decide for themselves whether or not smoking would be permitted in their respective establishments.? Why?? Because the right of business owners to make such decisions is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
“The solution is like Ockham’s Razor:? Don’t smoke?? Don’t go in,” said McCalla regarding private establishments that allow smoking.
“Punishing private business owners for making their premises available to smokers clearly demonstrates an anti-business and discriminatory philosophy. Many businesses already do not allow smoking.? However, if an owner decides to allow smoking and his business fails, its failure would be based on the owner’s decision and not the government’s, which is as it should be.? Ultimately, the marketplace will decide – not the government – whether allowing smoking? or not was the right decision,” he added.
In addition to citing the Constitutional rights of private business owners, McCalla said the so-called dangers of incidental secondhand smoke such as might be found in a restaurant or bar are not proven according to the Surgeon General, are not significant workplace issues according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the air quality of those establishments is well within OSHA standards, according to testing by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“The Surgeon General’s 2006 report stated numerous times that the results of their secondhand smoke tests are inconclusive and safe exposure levels for secondhand smoke in an average bar or restaurant where smoking is allowed are ‘considerably below limits established by OSHA,’ according to the prestigious ORNL,” McCalla said.
Claims by anti-smoking forces regarding secondhand smoke should be scrutinized for accuracy and applicability and not accepted prima facie, cautioned McCalla.
“For example, the anti-smoking forces often cite a secondhand smoking report by the Environmental Protection Agency that was based on such bad science and worse conclusions that a federal court threw out the report and declared it null and void.? ” said McCalla.
###
Contact:
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313
tony@tortoricipr.com

Local Anti-Smoking Forces Refuse to Reveal Funding
??
Nov 20, 2008

To the Editor:
I have spent almost a week trying to find out how the local anti-smoking group is funded. Trying to follow this money trail is really complicated. Drug Companies make donations to trusts which make donations to other organizations. Names are well hidden.

I believe Sunflower Trust, here in Kansas is part of this deal. There is NO detailed info on any web site. Neither the newspaper nor the radio stations will tell you who is paying for the huge ads. The Reno County Anti-Smoking Coalition is actually part of the Reno County Health Department. I assume that they are paid by the county with tax money and/or by grants that come indirectly from drug companies.

I did find on the internet, that the World Health Organization has received hundreds of millions of dollars, (for distribution to local lobbying groups) from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, (a partner to Johnson and Johnson, makers of Nicoderm and Nicoderm CQ). J&J; lobbyist, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Field, LLC, were paid $120,000.00 in the first half of 2007, to work in Washington lobbying Congress and the Dept of Health and Human Services.

Anyhow, if anyone could point me in the direction of where all this money is coming from, I would appreciate it. Also, how do you find out if any of these drug company dollars are going to Kansas politicos?

It is starting to make a little sense. The drug companies will make HUGE profits off their Chantix and patches and nicotine gum. Chantix is $130 per month. You’re supposed to take it at least three months. The FDA has issued a warning on Chantix about suicide, and airline pilots are banned from using it at all.

Again, why isn’t the subject of banning all SALES of tobacco products being discussed? $$$$$$$

I just don’t believe it’s about health and children anymore. If that were so, our Health Department would be using these funds to actually GIVE people Nicoderm instead of buying ads.

I don’t want my life run by the big pharmaceutical companies. It does seem like they are running the government.

Anonymous
Hutchinson
.
?

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