Friday, January 20, 2006

Update on the Smoking Ban in Springfield,IL

The city council on Tuesday passed a smoking ban that will affect all restraunts and taverns in Springfield starting September 17th.

Divisions remain after ban's approval Some still fear loss of business


Published Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reactions to the approved smoking ban were as divided as the debate leading up to the Springfield City Council's decision Tuesday night.

Proponents praised the health considerations of the comprehensive ban, which as of Sept. 17 prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars and most other indoor workplaces. Critics feel the decision is less about public health and more about taking away business owners' and patrons' basic freedoms.

"It comes down to rights, and every year our rights get eroded a little bit more," said Tom Kelty Jr., owner of Sammy's Sports Bar, 217 S. Fifth St.

He said he wasn't surprised to hear the ban passed but fears that local, independent businesses will suffer greatly as a result. He said the number of such businesses forced to close could be alarming.

"You'll start to see a lot of places where the owner sells the business because they're afraid of what's going to happen," he said.

Kelty said vending companies also will lose money because cigarette machines will be prohibited, creating a loss of commission dollars for the business owners.

"That's just one area where we'll lose a lot of income," he said.

"Public health had nothing to do with this decision. It was pure politics. (Ward 10 Ald.) Bruce Strom wants to run for mayor, and that's what he'll hang his hat on," Kelty added. "If Bruce really cared about the health of the public, he would have banned the sale of cigarettes. But government doesn't want to lose that revenue. It's nothing more than a smokescreen."

If this is the case then when Alderman Strom runs for Mayor, we need to form a coalition of those who were opposed to the smoking ban and make sure he does NOT get elected. We need more pro-business councilmembers on the city council. Suprising enough I looked through the 2003 election results and it seemed that Alderman Strom ran unopposed.

BRUCE STROM. . . 4,250 100.00

Alderman Strom and his fellow council members who voted for the smoking ban need to go! This fiasco will not be forgotten in 2007!

Peter Albanese, who was dining at Damon's, 3050 Lindbergh Blvd., Tuesday night after work, also said the ban was not fair to business owners and their customers.

"It's someone's free choice to enter and sit in the smoking or non-smoking sections," the Springfield resident said.

Albanese, who smokes, said he knows many people who go to bars only so that they can have a cigarette with their drink.

Although he said he doubts he will go out of his way to drive outside the city to smoke, Albanese said he will probably leave local businesses quicker and "not stick around for a drink."

Jerry Harrison of Chatham said he does not smoke and prefers dining at establishments that are smoke-free, such as his favorite, Augie's Front Burner, 109 S. Fifth St.

Harrison said he's even passed on dining in restaurants where he enjoys the food because of its smoky atmosphere, using the example of D'Arcy's Pint's former location at 2413 S. MacArthur Blvd.

Though his office was nearby, "(My co-workers and I) would order take-out from there because we couldn't stand how we smelled when we came out of there," he said.

Harrison said he recently returned from a trip to Florida, where indoor-workplace smoking is banned statewide, and said it was a pleasant experience.

Barry Tusin was visiting Springfield from Naperville and dined with Harrison Tuesday night. Though he smokes, Tusin said he thinks indoor smoking bans are fair to everyone.

"Not all smokers are in favor of indoor smoking. I think the city's now better off," Tusin said, adding that though he doesn't have the willpower to quit himself, he hates the thought of polluting the air for other people.

Amanda Reavy can be reached at 788-1525 or

Friday, January 06, 2006

Excuse Me Ma'am, Your Child Is On the List

Airline travel can be pretty hectic these days. Just getting to your plane is difficult enough. But would you anticipate that your child would be on the TSA's "No Fly List"? That's right-YOUR CHILD. It's bad enough that you may be on the list but it is ridiculous to think that the government would put a child's name on a list that is supposed to weed out terrorists. The system is flawed we know this.

80,000 people are known to be on this list

Children as young as nine months old are on the government no fly list. Congressmen and political activists have been known to be on the list.

Even Gary Nolan was stopped in Denver Colorado when he was on his way to Atlanta,GA for the 2004 Libertarian National Convention because his name was mistakenly on the list(Was it really a mistake?).

What's next? We went to support Michael Badnarik in St.Louis in October,2004, when he was arrested with David Cobb and we happened to have our children along. While we participated in a parade we all chanted "No Bush! No Kerry! A revolution is neccesary!"(They still chant it today) My children could be on the "No Fly List" too. It's possible and it won't surprise me if they were.