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Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Campbell Co. Commissioners to Repeal Smoking Ban

Per an Enquirer article by Mike Rutledge -

The Campbell County Fiscal Court's new members took steps at their first meeting to revoke the countywide smoking ban their predecessors approved in December.

At the end of a standing-room-only meeting that earlier had been attended by several dozen opponents of the ban and some proponents, the court's three county commissioners, led by newly elected Pete Garrett, indicated they plan to revoke the ban, likely within the next two meetings.

On Garrett's motion Fiscal Court voted 3-1 to direct new Campbell County Attorney Steve Franzen to write legislation repealing the ban so it can receive the first of two required readings during their Jan. 19 meeting in Newport. The second reading and vote likely would happen Feb. 2 in Alexandria.


Garrett was joined by newly elected commissioner Brian Painter and Ken Rechtin, while Campbell Co. Judge Executive, Steve Pendery was the remaining vote in favor of the smoking ban.

I gotta say, while I do not agree with Pendery on this issue, I have to admire his cajones. (Can I say that on a blog?) After a nationwide decimation of bigger government that did not leave out our local races, and knowing full well that this meeting for repeal was going to take place, he stuck to his guns.

You'd have thought his constituents resounding message would help move him off of this stance, but apparently not.

I'd like to point to a few local examples of business owners making their own choices, regardless of a government interventions.

1) The Olde Fort Pub transitioning it's "family friendly" dining room. Giving customers the freedom of being able to eat without being bothered by smoke.

2) The 915, which according to comments on Fort Thomas Matters, has gone downhill. Almost every person that comments negatively mentions being engulfed in smoke. I don't see their balance sheet, but these comments generally take the temperature of the community. I would bet that the overpowering smell that billows from the restaurant is hindering sales.

3) The marquis at the Skyline Chili on Carothers Road boasts "smoke free starting March 1." I'm sure for whatever reason, management of that restaurant deemed that decision to be the best possible one for that location.

The common thread among all three of these examples are that the owners of these businesses have made a conscious choice - to allow smoking or not - and have deemed their decision the best possible thing for their individual situation. Customers could patronize these businesses based on this decision alone, but at the end of the day, no government official should tell any business owner how to succeed or fail.


  1. Disappointing that this county can not join the rest of the larger communities in this state and provide a place where people can sit down and eat their dinner in a smokeless environment. Most of the people I know from Ohio refuse to come over here to eat or even drink in a smoking environment. One day we will look back at this and think "How stupid were we to sit in a fog of smoke and eat?"
    This is not a question of whether government gets involved in our business or not. They are already involved in many areas of business that may or may not make small business like restaurants less profitable.
    This is a question of health and more specifically what we are exposing our children and ourselves to.
    Sorry I am leaving this as anonymous but it could affect my own small business if I tag myself.

  2. Agreed. Government should stay out of such decisions. Believe it or not, we are intelligent beings. We can make the choice as to whether we would transact business in a smoking or non-smoking establishment. Government should not intrude on those choices. End of discussion.

  3. Unfortunately, people always come back with the "choice" or "government interference" arguments. Do they feel the same way about lead paint? What about asbestos? There is no difference. It is proven fact that secondhand smoke causes cancer. Why there is ever a vote to allow that is beyond me.

    Luckily, downtown Cincinnati continues to open new restaurants and the new casino will provide safe places for customers.

  4. Very disappointing that our newly appointed leaders would take this action. While they made no secret of their position during the campaign (and the reason I didn't vote for Garrett), I was hoping they would only modify the ban similar to what was done in Kenton County.

    I agree the 915 has gone downhill. The smoke there is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

  5. Not government's business? I guess we don't need health inspectors in those restaurants, either.. by that logic..

    It's the weakest argument that the pro-smoking contingent makes..

    Pendery didn't vote for this, just to make a point.. If Kenton County hadn't screwed him, by passing an amendment that waters down the law, then it's most likely that Rechtin wouldn't have voted to repeal. Given the unlevel playing field with Kenton County, they really have no choice..

    It was made clear that this needed to be a regional law. They could have made it without Boone County, but not having Kenton County with the same rules was a deal breaker.

  6. A very sad decision. Here's a great campaign slogan "Help Support Second Hand Smoke and Lung Cancer by voting for..." And we thank you for your support!

  7. First of all, this is a health issue. There's not a person in this county that doesn't agree that second hand smoke is harmful and causes cancer. It tells a lot about business owners who only care about the almighty dollar instead of a healthy environment for their employees and their patrons. We don't go near the 915 because of the smoke and the rude attitudes of the workers there. No one is telling people they can't smoke, they are just dying, take it outside. As far as the new commissioners, they are both being bought out to the wealthy bar and restaurant owners.

  8. The opinions on this thread have been good but I do have to take exception to the idea that the incoming commissioners are selling out to the 'wealthy' bar and restaurant owners. I know very few bar and restaurant owners who are wealthy but are rather decidely middle class. The commissioners I have spoken with (and I have spoken with 2 of the 3 directly) have a firm belief (whether you agree with it or not) that this is a constitutional issue.

  9. How has the 915 gone downhill? Smoking has been the customers choice there since they opened. Most evenings they are quite crowded and normally you have to wait for a seat, mostly in the "smoking" section. Oh, BTW, all of the employees, with one exception, are smokers. They also do a good lunch business, with a lot of Ohio tags parked in front. Kudos to some elected officials for sticking to their "smoking" guns!