Houston City Council 

In a event today that may well be the high light of my of my smokers rights activism I testified today before a Houston City Council sub-committee on health concerning a restaurant smoking ban.I was the only one there speaking against the ordinance as a smoker, almost all the antis there spoke against it because it didn’t go far enough.
It would allow smoking in the bar part of a restaurant, but bans it in formal dining rooms. If the restaurant didn’t have a bar, smoking is banned.
Stand alone bars are not included.Many speakers came on before me, and it was a love fest for the council woman who introduced the proposal, Shelly Sekula-Gibbs. I was care full to take notes on the points I wanted to cover from the speakers before me.
1. I covered the Helena heart attack study explaining that the study was only about 60 people and most studies look at 10 to 100 times more people to rule out random chance.
2. I also covered media bias by explaining that a new health scare on smoking (and other things as well) come out  almost on a weekly basis and that some one who would like to refute information has always had doors
slammed in their faces, so false information stands as fact.
3. I stated that nothing real backs up the claims that passive smoking kills, like death certificates or names and faces.
4. I was asked if I support any smoking bans or any restrictions on smokers and I said no. I then stated that you should not smoke while pumping gas, but that was it.
5. I stated that different areas for smokers and non smokers was a very good setup and fair to everyone concerned because we all got to share and enjoy with equal rights.
6. I was asked if I thought that smoking bans would cause losses in restaurants and stated I guarantee it! Then I was asked if I has any proof of this.
    I opened my presentation “Losses, Layoffs and Lawsuits” to the section on restaurant and bar losses and as I turned the pages, I named off another city or state. I read one article I had about the losses in New Your state from Newsday that ran into the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs lost and you could hear a pin drop. I also pointed out that in October 2004 that every member of council was given this presentation. The attitude in the room before I spoke is that smoking bans would not cause losses and maybe even improve business.
   My comments to the group was that you already have this information and you have chosen to ignore it. If you don’t see it then you don’t want to see it.
7. I was asked about children with asthma and their special concerns (the for the children plea) and I said that children were the concern of their parents, and that council had no cause for concern. If children have special needs, then parents work around it.After I was finished speaking, I was asked out side of council chambers for an interview by one reporter.
 Within seconds there were about 6 or 7 reporters around asking me questions. The interest in my message was good. Although I have yet to see or read any of it, I hope they got my point across.My statements to reporters  was that I resented the fact that I had to be here. I am a rather shy and like to keep to my self.
But every time you turn around some one is trying to take my rights away and I will not have it! I will not go quietly! If and when I win this battle for myself, I win it for everyone else also.
The chance of this ordinance passing now are questionable. It is not well written and everyone hates it for many different reasons. This matter came up at this time to divert away attention from many other problems the mayor
and council are having with their power grabs.
The state legislature are about yank away 2 different ordinances that the mayor wants concerning traffic and the heat on those are awful. Lets all hope it will become 3 strikes and your out on this mayor and council!
Originally written By: Dave Pickrell
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