Our View Two

Sep 302003
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz, Liz King

We hope supporters of the smoking ordinance are happy with their

healthy lungs, gleaming white teeth and clean-smelling clothing;

you only had to violate our civil rights to get them.

Starting today, Fort Collins is smoke free, which means citizens

cannot light up in restaurants, bars, pool halls and elevators –

that is a good thing.

It’s good to know that our city council members know what is

best for us. What burns us about this issue is voters didn’t decide

the ordinance, but instead city council decided on this.

Unlike our friends in Boulder, the smoking ban there was put on

the ballots and Boulderites decided for it – good for the


But here the fate of public smoking lay in the hands of six city

council voting members.

Sure they got public opinion, sure they did surveys about how

people feel about smoking but you can phrase any question to make

people agree with you and with something this big that affects so

many people in so many ways, it should have been decided on by the

people and besides less than 20 percent of Fort Collins voted those

members in there.

We feel this ordinance violates people’s civil rights, much like

how the war on drugs eroded the Fourth Amendment; protection from

unreasonable search and seizures.

This ordinance infringes on people’s right to use a perfectly

legal substance in private businesses.

We would be more in favor of banning the purchase of cigarettes

altogether than have this smoking ordinance come to town.

We understand the health concerns that come with smoking in

public places and the last thing we want is for another person to

die from second-hand or first-hand smoking, but when does the

government go too far to “protect” people’s health?

Fast food restaurants serve food to the public that can be

considered unhealthy and we shouldn’t let people get obese, so

should the government step in and change how McDonald’s or Wendy’s

does business?

Mayor Ray Martinez wrote an open letter concerning this

addressed to a CSU student.

“When deciding on which ordinances I’m in favor or not, it

usually depends on whether or not the ordinance is providing rights

and freedom versus control and dictatorship,” Martinez says in the

letter. “That is a fine line to cross. I do believe, as the mayor

of Fort Collins, that there must be a balance between our economy,

environment and quality of life.”

When it comes to private enterprises and businesses, the power

of the dollar should make these kinds of decisions. If smoking at

bars and taverns were such an alarming issue, patrons should have

voiced their concerns and made business owners prohibit smoking or

provide smoking-free rooms. Self-regulation has a successful past

with private enterprises and this smoking ordinance should have

been the next example of that.

The butt of our argument is that it is not the place of

government to dictate what occurs on private property.




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