Thursday, April 15, 2010

Smoking ban, funding and enforcement

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has jumped squarely into the middle of the smoking ban issue, and Oakland Press readers have a lot to say about it -- http://bit.ly/cWU4ym

The are those who note the impact of the recently signed law that will ban smoking in bars and restaurangts:

" It won't be enforced because it will hurt commerce. Instead of stopping at the pub for a drink and a smoke, we'll all just go home and crack a cold one while sitting on our own backyard deck. "

Others point out that they have been looking forward to the ban:

" I don't see this ban causing a decrease in any business in the long term. I have gone to Olive Garden, BWW and when you say non smoking its a long wait but if I want smoking they can seat me right away. I understand the bars are a little different, but people will get sick of sitting at home and end up going to the bars again and just going outside to smoke, other states have succefully done it. Maybe I will actually go to a bar now, the non smokers can make up for the stubburn smokers did you ever think of that? "

However, Brooks is objecting to the law because it is unfunded by the state, which is against the law. Some readers support this stand, even if they agree with the ban:

"I do agree, however, with Mr. Patterson. The state puts this ban into law and then says the counties will police everyone. Our county health dept closes at 5:00 every day. Who is going to go into bars at 9 or 10 at night to see if people are smoking. Let the state lawmakers fund this law. This is just like the federal govt 'No Child Left Behind' that put tremendous expenses on each school district with no funding. Another great idea! "

"The county has 4,600 bars and restaurants in it and simply doesn't have the money or resources to effectively (and equally) police them all. Besides, the Headlee Amendment says that the state HAS to fund any mandates it imposes on localities, the local govt's can't be stuck with the cost. "

What do you think? Join the debate at theoaklandpress.com