smoking ban

Be a Better Neighbor

There was a recent article in the Burlington Free Press regarding Vermont bars and clubs and smokers blocking sidewalks and making a mess. The article and my comments are below…

[article begins]

Vermont bars and clubs owe it to their customers and neighbors to provide a suitable place to smoke outside the establishments. In some cases, smokers are blocking sidewalks outside bars, creating problems for passers-by and litter for someone else to clean up.

This is a new issue for many bar and club owners. The Legislature just passed a law banning smoking in these establishments to protect the health of customers and employees from second-hand smoke.

It’s a good law that sends an important message about a public health problem that costs the state millions of dollars and about 1,000 lives annually.

Burlington bars ought to be further along in planning for outdoor smoking. The city prohibited indoor smoking in May 2004, followed by South Burlington, Winooski and Williston.

However, some bar and club owners aren’t policing their smokers outside their establishment.

In some cases, smokers stand in groups outside the front door, blocking the sidewalk and dropping cigarette butts on the walkway or curb. People passing by are forced to either step into the street to pass or carefully wind their way through the crowd.

Most bars are more careful about their patrons’ smoking behavior, providing plenty of large ashtrays to prevent littering and even an out-of-the-way sheltered spot for smoking so walkways are not blocked.

The new law took effect Sept. 1, and many bar owners and private clubs are just beginning to tackle this issue.

They would be smart to take the time to create a safe place for their customers to smoke that doesn’t cause problems for their neighbors.

[end of article]

It sounds to me that many of the people for the smoking ban really ignored the issue discussed in this article. They fought hard to push people the smoke out of the bars where they belonged on onto the street and just ignored the fact that they would be smoking on the sidewalks and that the litter would increased and that people passing by would have to deal with it. Bars for as long as they have been around have always had beer and smoking. That’s what they have been for. First, the city attacked the bars forcing them to provide food so they became more like restaurants which basically forced the evolution of bars and restaurants becoming the same thing here in Burlington. Then they banned all smoking including chewing tobacco, which has nothing to do with second-hand smoking threats.

The article claims that the state loses millions of dollars and 1,000 lives annually. I believe these numbers to be simply false. There has never been any conclusive evidence that a death has been the direct result of smoking. It may be a contributor along with many so-called unhealthy habits such as eating too many carbs, fat, beer, salt, sugar and so on.

Getting back to the issue at hand, many of these bars and restaurants were not built or designed to accommodate outdoors areas for smokers as this whole idea was never conceived of in the United States before now. In the past, behavior modification by the government was never considered and was strongly discouraged, but is now considered common practice. How much more time before they start going after fat, salt and sugar?

The bottom line is that the government doesn’t like smokers, they don’t want them around and they want them to leave Vermont and shop and hang out elsewhere and by looking at increasing business being done by Vermonters in other states like New Hampshire, I think they’re getting the hint. What minority and form of intolerance will be next?

Bar smokers shown the door

It’s now official… no smoking in any public or private bars, restaurants and clubs in the whole state of Vermont. It’s unbelievable to me… The businesses along with their employees and customers cannot even decide on their own whether they want to allow smoking or not. The smokers cannot have one place to go to hang out and smoke… not one. I find this so offensive. It’s oppression of a minority by the majority. As the article states, it’s a different crowd. The state has essentially kicked out the minority and replaced them with the majority. Whether you believe smoking is bad for you or not, you should be upset by this decision. It really attacks the essence of our freedoms. By allowing a nanny-state to prohibit risky behaviors gives the state far more power than they should have over us. I will end with a quote from Marilyn Ferguson…

So long as we need to control other people, however benign our motives, we are captive to that need. In giving them freedom, we free ourselves.

Burlington LP News – April 2005

Burlington LP NEWS

April 2005

Sponsored by
The Burlington Libertarian Party
www.burlingtonlp.org

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From the Chair
2. Dispelling Myths
3. Smoking Ban Extension to Private Clubs Continues
4. Why Universal Healthcare is a Terrible Idea for Vermont
3. Get Involved!
4. Burlington Libertarians in Action
5. Tax Time Humor
6. Quote of the Month
7. Letters to the Editor/ Submit an Article

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From the chair…


This is our first newsletter since our formation on Dec 4th. In this newsletter we intend to provide you notice of current issues facing Burlingtonians, views of other Burlington Libertarians, notices of events of interest, and more.

I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Let us know your comments and suggestions for improvement. Also, please feel free to send us letters, articles and other information to include in future newsletters.

We have been quite busy lately working on issues here in Burlington. Before town meeting day we were talking to everyone we could regarding the Local Option Sales tax and YMCA/ Moran, and with great success these two ballot items were defeated. We wish to thank everyone who helped inform the voters on these two issues. A special thanks to Let The People Decide for their fine work on the YMCA/ Moran ballot item.

Since town meeting day, we have been working on the Smoking Ban extension to private clubs and youth rights issues such as lowering the drinking age. We are also interested in working on the universal healthcare proposal as well as the more recent Burlington Telecom Cable proposal, which is just starting to be discussed. Read on to view our articles on lowering the drinking age, universal healthcare and the smoking ban extention to private clubs.

In Liberty,

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
contact me

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Dispelling Myths
By Hardy Machia

One of the favorite arguments used by the alcohol prohibitionists is that if we lower the drinking age then more young kids will drink. This is a myth and easily dispelled by looking at the statistics. According to the state of Vermont’s statistics, drinking by eighth-graders has increased by 17 percent between 1984 and 2003. Drinking and driving has increased by 100 percent for 10th-graders and 36 percent for 12th-graders since the drinking age was increased to 21 in 1986. This data comes from the 1985 and 1987 “Vermont State Report on Drug and Alcohol Needs Assessment” and the 1995 and 2004 “Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey.” If we want to lower alcohol abuse among teens in Vermont, then the best solution is to adopt a European alcohol policy. The drinking age in Europe is between 16 and 18, and parents teach responsible and moderate alcohol consumption to their teenagers in restaurants and pubs.

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Smoking Ban Extension to Private Clubs Continues
By Jeremy Ryan

Once again, the smoking ban extension to private clubs was the big discussion at the city council meeting on Feb 22nd. There was a strong majority of the speakers speaking up for private property rights of the clubs.

 

Speakers were mostly members of private clubs about half were smokers and half not smokers. A representative of one of the clubs informed us that they ran a poll of the members and over 90% did not support the smoking ban. Only 40% of their members are smokers, but they believe in the value of having the right to decide for themselves in their own clubs… that’s the main issue. Does the government have the right to regulate clubs, which gets them very close to regulating what we do in our own private life. That’s the fear… what’s next. In California, city’s have taken the next steps which would be banning all smoking on public streets and sidewalks… then finally all commercial property, which would include all rental apartments/ property. This should be seen as an attack on our freedoms, not just a right to smoke issue.

Unfortunately, the council still chose to continue the ban extension. However, there was more support this time for including an exemption for clubs that vote to allow smoking under some strict conditions such as 75% in favor of allowing and all employees be member.

Voice your opinion to your city councilor by going to the following web Address for names and contact info sorted by ward:

http://www.ci.burlington.vt.us/ct/citycouncil/

Channel 3 has a good summary article of what happened last night, click below to read it:

http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=3044216&nav=4QcRXCqr

Channel 5 also has a story on it along with a poll:

http://www.thechamplainchannel.com/news/4263565/detail.html

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Why Universal Healthcare is a Terrible Idea for Vermont
By Brian Brown

If there were a question on this week’s ballot asking, “Shall the voters call upon the Vermont government to buy everyone a new car and do it for free?…Yes or No, I would wager that most people would vote Yes. Who wouldn’t want a new car if it didn’t cost them anything? What if the new car was a Yugo? Remember those? They were crappy cars from Yugoslavia that were all the rage for about a week until they rusted out.

“Wait,” you say, “This isn’t exactly a ‘new’ car.”

“Sure it is,” says the government. “We’ve been storing these in a big factory since they were manufactured. They are absolutely new!”

“Well,” you say, “That’s not what I meant when I checked yes.”

“That’s what you’re getting,” says the government who then turns its back on you and walks to the office, leaving you alone in the car lot with the keys to a brand new car. Oh, by the way, it wasn’t really free either. The government actually made the company you work for pay for it, and the price of the car is going to come out of your salary for the next ten years.

Welcome to Universal Health Care as proposed by former Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Cheryl Rivers and Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health, the organization that pushed to have the question placed on ballots in 23 towns and cities including Burlington. In Burlington, “support” for the idea drew the most lopsided result at the ballot, 5069 for, 2196 against the resolution. Why is support so great? Take a look at the question:

Question 8: Shall the voters of the City of Burlington call upon the City Council, Mayor Clavelle, the School Board, the Governor and our State Legislators to support and actively work for the creation of a Universal and Comprehensive Health Insurance System which is publicly financed and accountable to the citizens of Vermont, and which will reduce costs by eliminating most current administrative expenses? Yes or No

The big surprise is the number of people who voted against the resolution. This ballot question promises everything while giving away nothing. It sounds great. Free Health Care, it’s accountable to the citizens of Vermont (that sounds good, though what it means is a little hard to figure out), and it will reduce costs by eliminating administrative expenses. That sounds great! Of course, you had me at Free Health Care (“publicly financed,” same thing).

There is just one tiny problem with it.

The Problem
The resolution is a little hard to believe. Everyone will have health care, and it will be less expensive. Huh? How can this be?

The resolution explains that this system will be less expensive because it “will reduce costs by eliminating most current administrative expenses.” Here’s a real simple question: When has the government ever reduced administrative expenses on anything?

To illustrate the flawed logic backing this resolution, let me provide you with some information put forth by the Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health. They maintain a web page called Myths and Misconceptions About Single-Payer Health Care. In the first question on this page, they refer to an August 2001 study from the Lewin Group. They don’t link to that study, so it was a little difficult to find, but as it turns out, it’s available on the Vermont State website.

The study does indeed say Universal Health Care could reduce Health Care Costs in Vermont by $118 million or 5% of the current costs (in 2001). The study also says that while companies that currently cover health care in Vermont would see a reduction in health care costs, companies that do not currently cover health care would see an increase of $1,452 per employee (a total of $119.6 million).

And this is the flaw with Universal Health Care. It gives employers no choice whether or not to pay for it. Under this plan, many Vermont businesses would simply collapse because of financial strain.

What They Don’t Tell You About the Study
The study further says that over time, this cost will be deflected to the employees of the company through smaller wages (page 97 of the report).

In the short term, many companies will go bankrupt.

In the long term, salaries will be reduced.

How is this a better system for Vermonters? While Health Care is brought down a potential 5% on average, we are looking at crippling our state financially in the arenas of business and our personal salaries. What we must remember is the impact this proposed plan would have outside the realm of the health care system meaning less jobs for the state overall and less pay for those jobs. Health care is not a closed system.

It is interesting to note that the study’s purpose is to present the state with a direction for health care. They do not recommend Universal Health Care in their recommendation. Instead, they recommend holding on to the current system, promoting services like Dr. Dynasaur, and expanding health care as the state’s financial capacity allows.

Politics at Work?
Because of an article I read in the Barre Times-Argus, I attended a public forum at Burlington’s City Hall sponsored by Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health. I was shocked to find that only nine people showed up for the forum, not exactly a hot issue. Yet the press is jumping all over this issue, giving Rivers and Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health unprecedented coverage with absolutely no opposing views. You can hardly make it through a day without seeing the familiar hat-wearing ex-senator in a newspaper.

Before the press has brainwashed the entire state, lets look at the facts, do some research and see what the actual consequences are, rather than seeing only what someone’s political agenda wants us to see. Here are the resources:

Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health: the organization for Universal Health Care that got the question on the ballots of 23 cities and towns. http://www.universalhealthvt.org/

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Get Involved!

Jeremy and Heavenly have been helping the National Youth Rights Association of Vermont (NYRA-Vermont) with getting started with their presence and lobbying efforts since their formation in January. NYRA-Vermont is dedicated to protecting the civil and human rights of young people in the State of Vermont. Two immediate issues NYRA-Vermont has decided to work on will be the voting age and the drinking age. We urge anyone interested in helping preserve the rights of young adults to join. NYRA-Vermont welcomes everyone to join, regardless of age.

More information: http://vt.youthrights.org

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The Burlington Libertarian Party is looking to startup regular meetings/ gatherings. We would like to make meetings interesting. Some suggestions we have heard so far are movie night, speakers, group hike, pot luck suppers, green up day and tax protests. We would love your input on this. Please email Jeremy your thoughts by clicking here..

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Burlington Libertarians in Action…

  • Mar 16, 2005
    Burlington Libertarians Elected to Ward 7 Steering Committee.
    Jeremy and Heavenly Ryan of Burlington have been elected to the NPA’s Ward 4 & 7 Steering Committee. [more info]
  • Mar 26, 2005
    Heavenly Ryan Elected Vice Chair of Vermont Libertarian Party
    At the March state committee meeting, Heavenly Ryan was elected vice chair of the Vemront Libertarian Party to fill the vacant position. [more info]

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Tax Time Humor…

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Quote of the Month…

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Ronald Reagon (1986)

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Letters to the editor/ submit an article

For information or to submit news, letters, or articles, contact us .

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Burlington LP News is a publication of the Burlington Libertarian Party, 53 Avenue C, Burlington, VT 05401. All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2005.