CHEYENNE – Donna Keeney-Giehm wasn’t about to see the liquor license for her business go up in smoke.
That’s why Kerri Trasher, who works at Goofy’s Tavern, stood before the Cheyenne City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday to say she was sorry that she smoked there knowing there was a citywide smoking ban in effect.
She explained she was off-duty and was celebrating her birthday.
“It was a force of habit,” she said, “nothing more. I deserve what I got.”
At this, the Council’s Finance Committee recommended on a 3-0 vote that the business’ retail liquor license be renewed. The decision moves to the full council Monday.
The council had yanked it off the slate of 68 licenses up for renewal last week in light of the smoking ordinance violations.
Council President Don Pierson said he singled out Goofy’s because of what he heard about the establishment since the smoking ban took effect in August.
He was sitting in a hot-tub in Dallas when he got a call from a former employee: Goofy’s was allowing people to smoke.
Then when a server, bartender and manager were fined five-and-a-half months ago, it appeared to him this establishment wasn’t taking the ban seriously.
“That was a throw-it-in-your-face, we’re going to do what we want,” Pierson said. “That’s how I took it.”
Since then, Keeney-Giehm said that Goofy’s has put in place a smoking patrol – the bar is big, and there’s no way for the bartender to monitor everything that’s happening.
“The upside (to the three citations) is that it sent a message that the smoking ban is real,” she said. “It gave bar owners a new outlook, and they’re taking it very seriously.”
Pierson said he was satisfied that Goofy’s is taking the ban seriously.
To Councilman Tom Segrave, Goofy’s owners and staff are still being punished by having to come in and explain themselves, long after the fines were paid.
“I really believe these people have paid the price,” he said.
Segrave also said the city is sending mixed messages. When someone smokes a cigarette in a public place, the owner gets a ticket. But when a server sells a beer to a customer younger than 21, only the server is fined.
He said he has a problem with selling liquor to underage customers, but not with adults smoking.
Mike Moser, the executive director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, in an interview after the meeting, said no other community in Wyoming fines the owners on top of the servers.
Doing that would be like fining the owner of a trucking company when a driver gets a speeding ticket, he said.
Cheyenne’s ordinance, in fact, does pave the way for fining owners, City Attorney Mike Basom said when interviewed after the meeting.
City code 5.12.090 a1 states: “It’s unlawful for any person, including licensee and any agent, manager or employee of a licensee, to sell, give or deliver any alcoholic liquor or malt beverage to any person under the drinking age as defined by state law…”
A police officer could write a ticket to the owner of the establishment, and the matter could be sorted out in municipal court, he said.
I’m really mad at City Council Members Pete Laybourn, Judy Case, Jimmy Valdez, Joseph “Joe” Bonds, Patrick Collinsm, Don Pierson and Mayor Jack Spiker.
I think that it should be a businesses right to allow or disallow smoking.
It makes me feel like a second class citizen to be forced to go outside to smoke.
If the business itself decides they don’t want smoking I’m ok with that. It’s their business. I can decide to, or not to go there because I smoke, and I if want to support only businesses that cater to smoking patrons.
If you’re a non-smoker there are businesses out there as well. Perkins, Applebees, and Primos all were non-smoking before the band. I went to all of them, and respected their wishes without a gripe.
When city hall steps in, and says we’re going to put a band on smoking all together that makes me mad.
What’s next? You can’t go into a restaurant if you’re sick? Imagine what this would do to people with aids? You’re more likely to catch a cold from a restaurant than to suffer from long term effects of second hand smoke. The argument is still valid. I don’t want them to pollute my air.
Well for me it’s going around and passing out as many of these as I can.
I’ve ordered 500 of these, and I’m going to every business I can think of, and asking them to put it up. At least then smokers will know that this place didn’t hate their business, and politicians will know that it’s not a good idea to take away businesses rights.
Please help me. Print it out, take it to your favorite used-to-be-smoking restaurant, and let’s see if we can’t get some of our rights back.
If you’re in Cheyenne, and want to help me pass these out you can email me.
I can’t do this alone.
It took a couple thousand signatures of people who lived in the city of Cheyenne. This is bad news because I would venture to guess that would have tipped the scales to the smoker’s favor. I’ve heard that they threw out any non-registered voters, and people that lived in the county. So in my mind it’s clearly a non-smoking conspiracy. If the people who live on the ’south side’ of Cheyenne are good enough to pay the sales tax on their purchase, their opinion should matter as well. So get yourself registered!! Vote on November 7th. Here’s how the city council voted.
I forgot to ask how Mayor Jack Spiker voted about the issue, but I know he’s a non-smoker, so I’m guessing if a vote was involved on his part it was for the band.
If you live in the county you can still help, by going to your favorite restaurant/bar inside the city limits, and asking them to put up a non-smoking sign like the one above. If enough people get involved we could get this law reversed.
If anyone wants to organize a ‘march on city hall.’ I’m all for it. Let me know.
For the record when I say ‘march’ I am in no way referring to a militant march. Just a simple protest that we’re lucky enough to have here in America. If we could get 1000 smokers/non-smokers that would really make them think.
Smoking ban foes fall short
July 19, 2006
CHEYENNE—Cheyenne’s new public smoking ban will take affect as scheduled on Aug. 15 after an effort to overturn the ordinance fell short.
City Clerk Carol Intlekofer announced Tuesday that opponents of the measure failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a voter referendum.
Intlekofer and her staff were able to verify just 1,876 of the 3,403 signatures submitted by a group called Cheyenne Coalition for Citizens Rights. About 2,690 valid signatures n 10 percent of registered city voters — were required for a public vote.
City Councilman Don Pierson, chief sponsor of the ordinance, said his feelings about the failed petition drive are mixed. He has long supported a public vote on the ban.
“But the mere fact that they came up that short of getting legitimate signatures to take it to the ballot kind of tells me what the vote would have been anyway,” Pierson said.
Opponents of the ordinance immediately vowed to work against reelection campaigns by City Council members who supported the ban.
“We feel that certain businesses should be exempted from the ban,” said Jeff Goins, chairman of the Cheyenne Coalition for Citizens Rights.
The ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to smoke tobacco in all public buildings, including bars and private clubs. It exempts retail tobacco shops.
Police Chief Bob Fecht said he doesn’t anticipate problems enforcing the measure. He said smokers who mistakenly break the law initially will receive warnings.
Laramie is the only other Wyoming town to adopt a smoke-free ordinance. Casper voters rejected a ban in 2000. Two prominent state lawmakers have said they believe a statewide smoking ban is possible in Wyoming, but not for many years.
Smoking ban challenge appears headed to ballot
July 1, 2006
By the Star-Tribune staff
CHEYENNE — A petition drive intended to force a voter referendum on Cheyenne’s new public smoking ban cleared an important hurdle Friday.
City Clerk Carol Intlekofer said an initial signature count revealed 3,113 potentially valid names. She rejected about 290 because they were not accompanied by physical addresses inside the city limits.
The petition must include valid signatures from 10 percent of registered Cheyenne voters — 2,690 signatures — to make the November ballot. The clerk will now verify each signature against the county voter rolls for the city of Cheyenne, a process that should take about three weeks.
“The initial count was just to give me the indication whether the 10 percent requirement had been met, and now we advance to the next in-depth review stage,” Intlekofer said.
Earlier this month, Cheyenne became only the second Wyoming city to ban smoking in all public buildings except tobacco shops. The ordinance is slated to go into effect on Aug. 15, though the City Council will likely delay implementation if the petition drive succeeds.
City Councilman Don Pierson, chief sponsor of the measure, has said he is confident voters will uphold the ordinance. Those who opposed the ordinance include some smokers, bar owners, private club members and those who believe business owners have a right to choose whether to allow smoking in their establishments.
Smoking ban opponents turn in petitions with 3,400 signatures
CHEYENNE — A group seeking to stop Cheyenne from implementing a smoking ban in bars, restaurants and other public places filed petitions Monday seeking to place the issue on the ballot in November.
The Cheyenne Coalition for Citizens’ Rights said it had gathered some 3,400 signatures; election officials will have to certify that 2,676 of those are city residents and registered voters in order to put the issue to a vote.
Rich Gibbs, a spokesman for the coalition, said it was important that the people be allowed to vote directly on the smoking ban.
Dan Hatanelas, general manager of DTs Liquor and a backer of the petition drive, said the coalition had worked overtime during the weekend to make sure they had more than enough signatures. “I’m tired of working days, nights and weekends,” he said.
On June 12, the Cheyenne City Council approved an ordinance banning smoking from nearly all public places, including bars and restaurants. Windows and entrances to public places would also be off-limits.
The ban was set to go into effect Aug. 15, but if the Laramie County Clerk’s Office certifies the necessary number of signatures, then the ban will be put on hold until the Nov. 7 election.
In 2004, Laramie passed a similar smoking ban that also ended up before the voters. Voters there narrowly upheld the ban, and a judge rejected an election challenge brought by the ban’s opponents.
Smoking Ban Could be on November Ballot
The Cheyenne Coalition for Voters rights turned in their petitions just about 4:30 Monday afternoon.
The final total, 3,400 signatures.
Earlier this afternoon, the coalition was tallying up signatures at American Legion. The group says they need at least 2,700 of those signatures to be registered voters. The coalition spokesperson says it’s a decision the community should make, not city council.
“I think most people realize it’s an issue that should go the the people uniformly. but it’s not enough time to tell city leader they want to vote on the issue,” says
Mayor Jack Spiker says it will probably take about a week for the clerks office to verify all the signatures.
Smoking ban foes push public vote
June 14, 2006
By JARED MILLER
Star-Tribune capital bureau
CHEYENNE — Opponents of Cheyenne’s just-passed smoking ordinance didn’t wait long to mount a counter-attack.
The City Council voted 8-2 to approve the ordinance late Monday night. By Tuesday morning, a group of tavern owners and managers were laying plans for a voter referendum to repeal the ordinance.
“As of right now, we’re just trying to get our information in a row,” said Dan Hatanelas, manager at DTs Liquor Mart. “But the way it sounded to me this morning, yes, (the referendum) is going to happen.”
To stage a referendum, the opponents need signatures from 10 percent of registered city voters, or about 2,670 signatures. And they must file the names within 10 days of official publication of the ordinance, which should happen by the end of the week, according to the city.
If the signature drive is successful, the council could suspend the ordinance until after the vote. Otherwise, the ordinance becomes effective on Aug. 15. City Attorney Mike Basom said he’ll recommend suspension if the signature drive is successful.
Laramie voters upheld a similar ban last year. Casper voters used a referendum to overturn theirs in 2000.
It looks like opponents of the ban will be on their own to promote the referendum. Hatanelas said a spokesperson at Phillip Morris said the tobacco company is not interested in supporting the drive.
Don Pierson, the chief sponsor of the ordinance, said on Tuesday that he always supported a public vote on the measure. In fact, he purposely introduced the ordinance in time for a referendum at the November general election.
“If they majority of the people vote against it, I can live with that, but I feel very strongly that that won’t happen,” Pierson said.
Cheyenne council approves smoking ban
June 13, 2006
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne will become the second city in Wyoming to ban smoking from all public buildings, including bars and restaurants, under an ordinance approved by the Cheyenne City Council.
After four hours of testimony and debate Monday night, the panel voted 8-2 in favor of the ban, which also prohibits smoking within 10 feet of the entrance to a public building.
The ordinance will go into effect Aug. 15 unless opponents follow up on their vow to refer the smoking ban to a vote this fall.
Before approving the ordinance, the council amended the ordinance to exempt tobacco shops from the ban.
Supporters of the ban say it is needed to protect the public from secondhand smoke. Opponents argue business owners should be able to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking.
Laramie enacted a similar ordinance last year.
During testimony before the Cheyenne City Council vote, Cheyenne resident Bill Besselievre said the proposed ban goes too far and he considered secondhand smoke a “petty” problem as far as health issues should go.
“The medical implications are grossly exaggerated,” he said. “The human body is not so fragile that it’s going to suffer from a medical problem because of occasional exposures (to secondhand smoke).”
Besselievre said residents have a choice to avoid contact with secondhand smoke.
“These organizations and these businesses have the opportunity to prohibit smoking in their establishments and they’re doing this,” he said. “As (the ordinance is) proposed, there is a prohibition being placed on businesses that is unjust.”
DT’s Liquor Mart manager Dan Hatanelas said the smoking ban could hurt business and his workers who depend on tips from customers.
Hatanelas said he was particularly irritated by what he called the hypocrisy of some of the ban’s supporters, including those on the council, who smoked in the past.
“All the sudden, you’re holier than thou trying to stuff this stuff down our throats,” he said.
Laramie City Councilman Seth Carson said no bar in Laramie has gone out of business since a smoking ban went into effect there about a year ago.
Carson said he represents the part of Laramie that includes downtown. He said he believes bars are doing better now than they ever have. He said more women were coming to bars, which as a single man, he said he thought was a good thing.
Grace United Methodist Pastor Jon Laughlin said he’s been the pastor for roughly 200 funerals and spent many hours at the bedsides of people dying from respiratory illness.
“Maybe tonight’s action would prevent some of my business from occurring,” he said.
The council voted down an amendment that would have excluded parts of private clubs that were well-ventilated.
Carson told the council they were inviting litigation if they exempted private clubs and not bars.
Smoking ban moves forward
May 20, 2006
CHEYENNE — The chief sponsor of Cheyenne’s proposed public smoking ban said he originally intended to let voters decide the issue.
But because City Council members have no authority to call a citywide election, Councilman Don Pierson chose to forge ahead with an ordinance.
However, he introduced the proposal in time for opponents to attempt a referendum at the November general election if they decide to do so.
“I certainly didn’t want you the taxpayers to pay for a special election to vote on this issue,” said Pierson, adding that a special election would cost the city between $30,000 and $50,000.
Pierson made his comments during a Wednesday night City Council meeting that featured the first public debate on the issue, and some haggling over ordinance details.
If approved, the ordinance will sharply restrict tobacco smoking in public places, including taverns and restaurants. Supporters say it would protect children and hospitality workers from second-hand smoke.
The original ordinance also banned smoking in private clubs, but Pierson reversed that provision. He also reduced the distance smokers must stand from public entryways from 25 feet to 10 feet.
“The reason for that is there were some really legitimate arguments that for any downtown business, 25 feet would put them in front of another business or in the street,” Pierson said.
City Councilman Peter Laybourn attempted to exclude bars, lounges and taverns from the ban. His motion failed on a 5-4 vote.
Ignoring the ban would be a misdemeanor publishable by a $750 fine and up to six months in jail, or both.
A host of clean-air advocates testified in favor of the ordinance at Wednesday’s meeting, including numerous health care professionals.
“This is not about where your dog can pee or where you can park your motor home,” said Cheyenne dentist Joseph Devine. “This is life and death for people who work in the hospitality industry.”
Cheyenne pediatrician Dr. Carol Schiel pointed out that some hospitality workers — even pregnant women and asthmatics — have no choice but to serve in businesses that allow smoking.
Mark McNulty, a University of Wyoming research scientist, presented data on Laramie’s public smoking ban, which showed growing public support for the year-old ban and no economic impact to the businesses community.
Twelve-year-old Cheyenne resident Kaitlyn Ryel urged the council to be her “voice” in the debate, as she’s not old enough to vote.
“Second-hand smoke is dangerous to kids,” Ryel said.
But smokers and bar owners ripped the proposed ordinance, insisting that it would infringe on their rights and deal a crippling blow to business.
Myron Langhoff, owner of Two Bar Bowl in Cheyenne, said his bowling alley once tried to go smoke-free on Sunday afternoons, but the number of bowlers fell by four-fifths, forcing him to drop the policy.
“It does make a different in the bowling business,” Langhoff told the council.
Debora Bliss of Jake’s Bar said the ordinance would force her majority-smoker clientele outside to light up, exposing them to possible citations for public intoxication.
“They would have to close their doors if this goes into effect,” Bliss said.
Dell Peterson, co-owner of three Smoker Friendly Discount Cigarette Stores, insisted that the dangers of second-hand smoking are a myth, and said that smoking gives small bars and restaurants an “edge” against corporate venues.
“This is small business against big government interference,” Peterson said. “I have the right to decide what goes on in my business.”
He also argued that employees who don’t like to work in a smoky environment have plenty of opportunities to work elsewhere.
“Slavery was outlawed 150 years ago,” Peterson said.
The meeting went on for around two hours Friday night before the council, acting as the “committee of the whole,” voted to support the ordinance 6-3. That vote was a recommendation to the full council, including Mayor Jack Spiker.
The council meets on Monday to consider the ordinance on second reading, and more public comment will be taken. If the ordinance clears that hurdle, the council will accept another round of public comment June 7, followed by a final vote on June 12. The ordinance would go into effect on Aug. 15.
Cheyenne is the third Wyoming city to attempt an indoor smoking ban. Casper voters rejected a similar measure in 2000.
In both previous cases, voters tested city ordinances with referendums. Pierson said a similar scenario is possible in Cheyenne.
“If enough people, registered voters, in the city don’t like the ordinance and sign a petition, it can go to the voters as a referendum,” Pierson said.
Cheyenne looks at smoking ban
May 9 2006
CHEYENNE (AP) — An ordinance that would ban smoking in buildings open to the public is scheduled to be introduced at a meeting of the Cheyenne City Council tonight.
The proposed ordinance would ban smoking at bars and restaurants and other areas that are used by the public. It would also ban smoking within 25 feet of any entrance or ventilation system of any enclosed area where smoking is not allowed. It would still allow smoking on outdoor patios.
If the ordinance ultimately passes, Cheyenne would join Laramie as a smoke-free city in Wyoming. Laramie enacted a similar ordinance last year.
Cheyenne Mayor Jack Spiker and four city councilors are sponsoring the ordinance. They say the ban promises to improve public health by cutting exposure to smoke.
For more on this story read Tuesday’s Casper Star-Tribune
Councilman to seek smoking ban
March 19, 2006.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne City Councilman Don Pierson says he’s prepared to introduce an ordinance to ban smoking in public places in Wyoming’s capital city at the first council meeting in May.
“We’re not telling people they can’t smoke,” Pierson said. “Just don’t smoke where other people have to breathe it.”
Pierson said he intends to share the draft ordinance with other council members this week and ask them to co-sponsor it.
“I think the chances are very good,” Pierson said of the ban’s being passed. “It seems to be the logical thing to do for our community.” Pierson said the ban would cover restaurants and other public areas. Laramie already has such a ban, and Colorado Gov. Bill Owens said Friday he would sign a bill banning smoking in most public places in that state.
“Just about anywhere the public is invited to attend (would be) nonsmoking,” Pierson said. He said that would include all city-owned youth athletics facilities, including those that are outside. He said he’s only heard positive reactions to the proposal.
But Cheyenne Councilman Brent Beeman said some business owners have told him that they want to make their own business decisions. He said other constituents say they want to see the ban put in place.
Beeman said he personally doesn’t like to be around smoke but that the decision whether to ban smoking should be left to businesses, not to government. He said he’s interested in looking at alternatives to having a blanket ban.
“Is this something where we could require a permit to have a smoking establishment?” Beeman said.
If the council approves a ban, people opposed to it could try to take the issue before all voters in Cheyenne.
Forcing a public vote on the issue would require a petition signed by 10 percent of the city’s registered voters, said City Attorney Mike Basom. He said that would amount to more than 2,000 signatures.
The signatures would have to be collected and returned to the city within 10 days after the ordinance is published, which is generally a couple of days after the City Council’s approval.
Dan Hatanelas, manager of DTs Liquors in Cheyenne, said bar owners aren’t in favor of a smoking ban.
Tobacco is a legal product, and it should be up to the owner of an establishment whether to allow it, Hatanelas said. He said he’s heard anecdotal reports that owners elsewhere have seen a downturn in business when bans have been implemented.
Mike Moser, executive director for the Wyoming State Liquor Association and a Cheyenne resident, said Saturday that his group doesn’t have a position on the prospect of an ordinance in Cheyenne.
“We oppose any statewide smoking bans obviously, because customers can decide for themselves,” Moser said. He said also that the process of businesses’ banning smoking is happening without government intervention.
Cheyenne to Take Up Smoking Ban No Sooner Than March
Cheyenne to take up smoking ban no sooner than March
City Councilman Don Pierson says the reason for the wait is to save taxpayers the expense of holding a special election.
If the proposal makes it past the council, the smoking ban would then have 90 days to go before voters. Pierson says if the council approved a smoking ban in April or May, the issue could then go before voters during next summer’s primary election.
Cheyenne City Council May Consider Smoking Ban in New Year
January 5, 2005
Two city council members in Cheyenne are discussing plans to limit smoking in the capital city’s restaurants.
But Councilmen Don Pierson and Jimmy Valdez disagree on the approach the city should take.
Pierson says he’d like to ban smoking in restaurants only, saying Cheyenne isn’t ready to take the next step and ban smoking in all public places.
Valdez, on the other hand, says the only fair way to approach the issue would be a ban in all public places. Otherwise, he says, the council would be discriminating against restaurants. http://www.kgwn.tv/home/headlines/1319801.html