Friday, February 09, 2007

FreeRacine Supports Public Indoor Smoking Ban

Yes, it is true. I support a smoking ban in all public buildings. Public buildings are, by definition, publicly owned. As such, the rules within those buildings should be detirmined by the public, through the legislative process. So long as smoking bans in public buildings pass constitutional muster, I am all for them. I see no reason why I must be compelled by our government to participate in a jury, for example, while also being forced to inhale cigarette smoke.

Some examples of public buildings would be public schools, courthouses, city hall, public park buildings, jails and libraries, to name a few.

Buildings that are privately owned would naturally be exempted from the public legislative process. These would of course include privately owned bars and restaurants.


Anonymous said...

Denis, I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree. It has been a very long time, but I used to work at Regency Mall. On my breaks I would try to get a bite to eat and find a place to sit where there was no smoking. It was impossible. There simply was no place I could go without inhaling second hand smoke. I had heated debates about this problem with the management and eventually areas became non-smoking. I had already left by then but it happened, and I think it makes it better. I also haven't been to a bar in many, many, years because of the smoking issue. I choose my restaurants very carefully, because I can't handle smoke and as we all know it travels into non-smoking areas. Nothing is worse than going somewhere for enjoyment and being surrounded by smokers who just don't give a damn.

Conscious Thought said...

I'm impressed. You're capable of thinking for yourself. I knew you had the potential. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Anon, I don't like inhaling smoke either. However, I don't see where I have any right to impose my preferences on another property owner or business owner. If you don't like bars because of the smoke, you are free to avoid them. But should you have a right to tell them what they can do in their business? The market is already sorting this out. Some business owners are realizing that a substantial number of drinkers/eaters don't like cig smoke. There are restaurants and at least one bar in the Racine area that offer smoke free areas. If you support them through your patronage, more of them will flourish. So while I share your distaste for cig smoke, this is a problem that the market can sort out without government interference. Thanks for your comments anon.

Argggg! I can't comment on my own sight. Denis Navratil.

Anonymous said...

I do understand where you are coming from. You are a business owner right? If I were a business owner I wouldn't want anyone telling me what to do with my business either, but I think this smoking issue is in a league of its own.

Denis Navratil said...

Yes I am a business owner and I do not allow smoking in my business. I believe that I should have the right to do so, even if a majority of voters/legislators sought to make smoking permissible in private businesses. Why is the smoking issue in a league of its own?

Anonymous said...

Well, let me ask you what do you think I should have done while working at Regency Mall, and not being able to find a place that was smoke free? Quit my job? Smokers just aren't considerate enough to not smoke around non-smokers on their own. I have found this time and time again, even within my own family. Smoking is a very divisive habit and I understand why there has been a movement to ban it from where people gather. Frankly, if you want someone to blame look no further than the smokers themselves. Smokers can be the most offensive people around and it was only a matter of time non-smokers stood up for their rights. It seems to me that you are taking this ban as a personal attack on yourself as a business owner, when maybe you should be looking at it from a different perspective. There is always more than one side to a story, and in this case it looks as if there are at least three sides. The question is which side really needs protection and which side(s) is just nursing bruised feelings.

Denis Navratil said...

anon, as to your question:

1. I find it hard to believe that there was no place in the entire mall that you could go to that was not smokey.

2. But, assuming that that was true, you did the right thing by going to management with your complaint. But they are called management for a reason, to manage. Your job was to sell shoes, or whatever. Now, if we allow pimply faced 16 year olds to dictate policy to mall managers, then we will have upended the whole economy. Employees will make the decisions and the notion of ownership will be rendered meaningless.

3. You have no right to a job at the mall and you have no right to dictate policy at the mall. You do have a right, or ought to, to talk with management and then quit if you do not get the satisfaction that you seek. You have the further right, and I would say responsibilty, to improve your skills to such a degree that you will have some leverage when dealing with your employer.

4. Some people maintain that they have a right to a job. If so, wouldn't an employer have a similar right to have employees. Or to put it another way, if we embrace the idea that we have a right to a job, then we must likewise embrace the idea that employers have a right to employees. Sounds like slavery to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Denis I am really blown away by your response. You have managed in four points to insult, degrade, and call me a liar. Thanks for the mature, honest, and enlightening discussion. Are you really that jaded that you don't even know what it means to be a mensch? How can you expect to people to respect you when this is how you respond to someone who was being nothing but sincere? What you are failing to see is that it isn't just about you as a business owner, there are other people who deserve consideration. I guess you just don't care about anyone but yourself.

Anonymous said...

After the intial shock of your rude arrogant response wore off I was going to take each one of your points and counter-attack. But then I realized you didn't even address the real issue, which is, are your bruised feelings/ego more important than protecting workers or consumers/patrons from second-hand smoke? The answer to that question is no. You will have to deal with smoking regulations whether you like it or not. You also need to recognize your arrogant take on whatever it is that is bothering you on one given day isn't going to help fix problems. You say you are about helping Racine get back to a nice place to live, but with your rude attitude you are part of the problem not part of the solution. I now realize you are about dividing people into sides, just so you can tell those that aren't on your side that they are worthless. It doesn't matter what the issue is, you will always have to be divisive. It is a sad state to be and I feel sorry for you.

Denis Navratil said...

anon, take a deep breath. When I get a post from an anonymous person, I don't really think about an actual person sitting at a computer. I look at the words on the screen and respond as if it were an intellectual exercise. Perhaps I should be more sensitive, I don't know. But if you want to be treated like a person, I would suggest that you drop the anonymity.

Now anon, I think you are greatly exagerating the smoking scene at the Regency Mall. You see, I grew up in Racine and I spent plenty of time in the RM. Like you, I don't care for cig smoke. Yet I don't recall ever being bothered by smoke at the RM, and I think it is absurd to suggest that there was nowhere in the entire mall to breathe smoke free air. So by sharing this experience I am therefor calling you a liar. Or perhaps you are calling me a liar, since I recall plenty of smokeless mall air that you say didn't exist. I guess one of us is a liar.

But let us get past the name calling. Should employees get to dictate policy to management? I don't think so, you apparently do.

You suggest this has something to do with my bruised feelings. I don't know what you are talking about. If my feelings were hurt by anonymous bloggers, I would be a basket case.

You suggest that I think you are worthless. Did I say that? You might be, for all I know, but all I know about you is the argument that you have advanced on my blog. I simply think that you are wrong.
I think you should lighten up a bit.

And lastly, it is not me that is dividing people into sides. This is the liberal playbook. To you it is a smokers-bad, non-smokers-good issue. Reread your initial post where you basically demonize smokers as people who don't give a damn about others. That attitude is divisive. I don't smoke and I don't like the smell, but I won't lump all smokers into the "bad" category as you have seemingly done.

I don't wish to be divisive anon, but what should I do if I disagree with you or someone else? Should I just keep my mouth shut and defer to your judgement?

Anonymous said...

I certainly do not expect you to agree with me, but common courtesy would be nice.

I understand this is your blog, but I am assuming you intended and even want people to respond to your blogs. So, I may have responded but you are the one advancing that process.

The bruised feelings I am talking about are yours as a business owner not wanting the government telling you how to run your business. You seem to believe your "feelings" are the only thing that matters. I was just trying to explain the other side to this issue by sharing my experiences with smokers/smoking.

I have news for you Denis, smoking is bad. It isn't about the smell either. It is about the warning label on each pack of cigerettes. I didn't "demonize" smokers, but like anyone with an addiction they do put getting their fix before almost everything else, especially strangers who they don't care about. Why do you think parents who smoke will expose their children to the second-hand smoke? Non-smoker's rights should always trump those of the smokers, and business owners who allow their employees and patrons to be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Denis Navratil said...

anon. Please, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. It was not my intent. For amusement value, I was imagining a 16 year old pimply faced shoe salesman dictating policy at the mall. I have no idea how old you were or the condition of your face. In other words, I was not trying to describe you anon, though I see that you took it the wrong way. So again, sorry.

Yes, I want people to participate on my blog. I especially want thoughtful disagreement. And I really do believe that personal attacks are typically a sign of a week argument.

Now to your original question. I think that you should have done exactly what you did. Go to management. If you did't get satisfaction, look for another job. But I don't think that your rights should extend beyond that, for the reasons I already offered. Now I am pretty sure that that is not insulting, though I suspect we are in disagreement.

And anon, my stance is not based on my "feelings" as a business owner. I think it is a mistake to make public policy decisions based on feelings. I base mine on thought. If I were to base them only on my feelings, I would certainly agree with you, as I understand that smoking is unhealthy and I don't care for the smell. But when I apply my brain to the issue, I arrive at a different conclusion, that it is dangerous to undermine the individual freedoms of property owners. My feelings are irrelevent to this discussion and likely will be irrelevent to 99% of my blog entries. But be assured anon, I do have feelings.

And finally, it is clear from your last paragraph that you see this as an issue between smokers and non-smokers. I see it as an issue of private property rights. I see no compelling reason why you, or our representatives should have any right to detirmine which legal activities can occur on someone's private property. As I see it, your freedoms are not at risk. You are free to avoid any private establishment that permits smoking. You are not entitled (like the pimply face d16 year old) to detirmine policy at privately owned businesses. To do so would undermine the very notion of property rights. This is not good for our country.

Anonymous said...

I found an interesting article on jsonline. Chuck E. Cheese has stopped selling alcohol. Why you ask? Because people complained. How dare those pimply face people tell a private business owner what to do on their property.

Anonymous said...

Germany is working on a law to ban people from smoking while driving.