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Monday, November 15, 2010

Incoming Commissioners Reaffirm Committment to Smoking Ban Repeal

I published my last post and indicated I still had some open questions about the brilliance of passing a ban that would likely be overturned in a few short weeks.

Some of the feedback that I received from that post included the following points:
  1. While it would likely be symbolic a ban could send a message and turn the tide of opinion
  2. Passing a ban could be very smart if either of the incoming commissioners were saying they were in favor of the ban only to get elected but had different convictions. (Keep this one in mind later in the this post)
While these are possible outcomes, I had an opportunity to speak with a couple of the Commissioners who will make up the Commission after the first of the year and they reaffirmed their commitment to repealing any ban that may be passed.  Pete Garrett had this to say:
As I said 5 years ago when I first ran I am against the smoking ban. I knocked on over 10,000 doors (many in Ft. Thomas) during the campaign this year and talked to a lot of people and saw little support for the ban. There is much less support than 4 years ago. I will vote to repeal the ban.
It is clear where Mr Garrett stands on the issue but my conversation with Ken Rechtin today left a possible opening for those hoping for the possibility that the ban will not be repealed.  Mr Rechtin began his conversation by reiterating his disagreement with the current ordinance.
The current ordinance designates a private club as the only exception and even a 'private club' is tightly defined.  This is not a middle ground.  I have been consistent in my viewpoint that we have overstepped government's role.  It is important to realize that the argument about public spaces is not true.  We are not dealing with a public space.  Businesses are private property and the public is invited in.
While this does not sound good for proponents of a smoking ban Rechtin left the door slightly ajar that the ordinance could withstand two new commissioners.  When asked directly whether he would make the motion to overturn the ordinance he had this to say:
I will not make the motion or second the motion to overturn. 
Apparently he respects ordinances passed by previous commissions more than his conviction that such an ordinance is not the appropriate role of government.  I followed with the obvious next question - "will you vote to overturn if the other two commissioners bring it forward and second the motion" - his answer was a solid yes.

Ken Rechtin did shed a little light on why the ordinance will be heard and voted for.  He indicated that there has been a long and productive debate (3 years in the making) on the smoking issue and that Pendery is honoring the wishes of the two outgoing commissioners who just want a vote on the issue.

Rechtin went on to offer his counter proposal to the ban that includes requiring businesses that allow smoking to post signage similar to the surgeon generals warning on a pack of cigarettes.  He felt that personal responsibility has to enter the equation and that as residents we still have the decision to visit or not visit or work at those places that allow smoking.

Now the question becomes what will Brian Painter do?  Will Garrett and Painter raise and second the motion to get Rechtin's important third vote?


  1. Newport pushing against the grain again - proposing resolution against smoking ban and wants to opt out.

  2. " I knocked on over 10,000 doors (many in Ft. Thomas) during the campaign this year and talked to a lot of people and saw little support for the ban."

    Geez.. 10,000 doors and he didn't talk to anyone I know..

    For those that eat out in Campbell County, I'd bet on 70% of them being for a smoking ban.

  3. a study started in may 2008 and completed and reported in june 2009
    states that 2/3 of the restaurants in campbell county, do not allow smoking. this is exactly what is shown to be national averages. camobell county does not need a law. the market will dictate what is in the business owners best interest. bring in jobs don't run them away!

  4. that study was done by northern kentucky choice. the health department list over 350 restaurants that are smoke free.

  5. At NKYchoice, we did our survey in 2008 because at the time the health Department was woefully behind in tracking smoke-free establishments. it took a friend of mine, who ran a smoke-free business, over a year of regular lobbying to get put onto the list of smoke-free establishments.

    Ken Moellman