Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Last Downtown Smoking Restrictions Mystery: Why Did The Business Owners Turn The Campaign Over To The Kids?

The Pasadena Star News has what is probably one of the most liberal on-line commenting policies of any major daily newspaper around. People wishing to post there do not have to establish accounts or even register in any way. You just make up a name and have at it. Kind of like The Tattler. And what you get if you go there is some pretty wild stuff.

A week or so back the PSN published an article about Sierra Madre's City Council passing downtown smoking restrictions. And while the piece itself was kind of short and not all that informative, the on-line commenting to it exploded, and now numbers over 74 unique posts! A burst of passion and invective that rivals even what we saw here on this site. And wouldn't you know it, taking the lead is one Josh Strike, identified there as being from Chino Hills (?), CA.

"Well, the grouchy old men, the 'stroller moms' and their screaming children got what they wanted. Appeals to the Council on behalf of personal liberties fell on deaf ears -- they had their minds made up already, and were probably paid off by the paid activists who showed up in droves from beyond city limits to peddle their unrelated junk science. It's just one more step in turning the whole country into a child-proofed playpen, and driving out artists and intellectuals."

I guess we can assume that on Planet Josh all artists and intellectuals smoke cigarettes, and everyone else is lives in a child-proofed playpen. Proving once again that when it comes to being unintentionally hilarious, the Joshster is truly a master of the art.

(Of course, when you comment on the PSN message board it does automatically note the town of the ISP where the post originated. Whether you like it or not. A word of warning to you folks out there hoping to pose as a Sierra Madreano when your service provider is actually located somewhere in the Inland Empire.)

But there is something posted on the PSN board that is actually of more than just mordant interest. One poster, identifying himself as "anonamous" (from Brea), had this to say:

"I'm a business owner in the downtown area of Sierra Madre. While I know that smoking is very bad for your health, I don't feel we have the right to legislate away the right of those who wish to smoke. We business owners should have been given the ability to determine when and where smokers can light up. This ordinance as drawn will not do anything to help my business and only hurt it. Women with their children will still have to walk through smokers to get to my front door, only the smokers will be 25 feet further up or down the sidewalk. As for the line that we may have a reduction in business, but it will only last a short time (based on other cities results), it should be noted that as fun and beautiful as Sierra Madre is, we are not a high tourist traffic area. When people go away, it takes a herculean effort to bring more in. Our Chamber of Commerce works very hard to bring people into the city, but the survey done by them wasn't even mentioned in the deliberations. The City Council had already made up its mind. The act of having a city council meeting on this issue was a farce. A local ballot initiative is needed to either remove this un-necessary and unwanted (by the businesses) regulation from our books or modify it to include all areas of downtown, not just the eating establishments."

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just about the first time we've actually heard from a Sierra Madre business owner on this topic? They certainly weren't saying much before the vote, none of them were interviewed on the topic in any of the local newspapers, and with the exception of that one rather eccentric woman ranting about City Council folks giving out grades to people speaking from the audience podium, they were pretty much AWOL for the City Council meetings as well.

So here's something that has puzzled me for the last week or so. Did the Sierra Madre business owners that were opposed smoking restrictions ever get together and work out some kind of strategy? And if so, can anybody please tell me exactly what it was? Besides hanging the military poster in the window at Beantown?

Right now I have no choice but to believe that somebody sold these guys a bill of goods. As far as I can tell they were somehow convinced to turn the campaign over to the Stop the Sierra Madre Smoking Ban kids and stand back. Because for all intents and purposes that is exactly what they did. Which has got to have been just about the worst strategy imaginable. And while the smoker activists in the "Stop the Smoking Ban" group were certainly entitled to both their opinions and the right do voice them, on a political level I personally can't think of a more unappealing group of people to stake the supposed well-being of Sierra Madre's businesses on.

That the final City Council vote was 5 to zero in favor of restrictions seems now, in hindsight, an obvious outcome. And while all the City Council members cited the health considerations, I suspect that for at least a couple of them the real reason for their vote is that the politics just weren't there for stopping restrictions.

So were the business owners serious about defeating smoking restrictions? Were they somehow sold on the disastrous idea of letting the kids take the lead on this rather than doing it themselves? I can't help but think that if 10 or so local business owners had shown up at last week's City Council meeting and spoken about their opposition to smoking restrictions and why, the results could have been quite different.

Instead they left it to the Josh Strikes of this world to speak for them. Making the outcome inevitable.


  1. The reason the business owners bailed is obvious.
    What percentage of the town wanted smoking restrictions in dining areas?
    80%? I think it was even higher than that.
    I know people who smoke who were actually for the restrictions. Most adults who are addicted to smoking, don't exactly take comfort in seeing young people smoking, they don't want to see them taking up the same expensive and destructive addiction they suffer with.
    I don't believe any of the councilmember's are smokers, but even if any of them are....they would not have voted against this restriction.

  2. I think Lullabye it the nail on the head...the business owners really don't want to have folks smoke so the best way to make sure that happens? Don't show up and let Chamber prez speak ...17 owners wanted a ban it's safe to say that they were for it as well ...

  3. Maybe it will improve the general ambience..Now if they con only improve the food!

  4. Don't know if I agree. I think a lot of the business owners
    didn't want any restrictions, but they didn't want to dirty
    their hands by coming out too publicly about it. So they
    passed on their responsibility, and are now paying the price.

  5. Any business owner in town who goes against over 80% of the population's wishes is asking to not be in business long.
    I'm still urging all Sierra Madreans who appreciate this no smoking in dining areas restriction, to please patronize our local establishments. If we all committed to visiting one or more of these establishments at least once week we could prove the skeptics wrong.

  6. I'm smelling a marketing ploy here -- by young JoshStrike and Allison Kirkham. We've been through this before with, dare I say the name, Beth Buck. Both JS and AK are in the biz; both are full of themselves; and both could ostensibly profit from appearing to sway Sierra Madre's smoking/non-smoking issue. I can't believe that between here and Chino Hills JS can't find another comfortable cafe table on which to smoke his way through the day while he creates busy work and convince himself, he's what, intellectual and artistic?

  7. "Please do not give Josh Strike any attention. Do not respond to his
    posts. I feel that it only encourages him to incite everyone.

    Could we please move on from the smoking issue? The Tattler has covered
    it repeatedly, and it has been discussed (on the message board) to the
    point of overkill. There are many other serious issues of concern (in
    regards to the welfare of our little town). Let's focus on those topics

  8. Ditto..enough..get on with the REAL issues

  9. I'd love to know which "Real Issues" haven't been focused on here. Since we're putting up an article a day there has been coverage of a lot of issues. And today's article is about the political poor judgement the anti-restriction business owners exercised when they put their trust in the Stop The Sierra Madre Smoking Ban. Which in my opinion is a real issue that has yet to be explored.

    Perhaps the same "anonymous" that posted twice here (9:08 and 9:16)is one of those who advised business owners to use these people rather than expose themsleves? Could be.

    I continue to get more e-mail on this particular issue than all others combined, particularly from those who continue to be maligned by these characters. The PSN board only being the latest venue for this. I feel it is my duty to continue to cover this story.

    Besides, it's my blog. I can pretty much cover whatever I feel like. And if you don't like it, go start your own. I think you'd find it much more satisfying than talking to yourself here. Besides, it's hardly my fault that so many of the other so-called bloggers in town are as lazy as they are.

    P.S. - Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest Sierra Madre Weekly. They've picked up our Marquez Letter story and are giving it some major exposure.

  10. As one chef in town said, "Smoke ruins the dining experience." If the business owners did not want the restrictions they would have been at one of the two city council meetings. Josh was just blowing smoke.

  11. Methinks 9:08 would wish that another topic be discussed. But for a much different reason that he states here.

  12. The cigkids could be hired to lead oppositions to smoking restrictions/bans - to ensure the passage of the restrictions/bans.
    Sir Eric is quite right that there is something weird about the feebleness of the movement to oppose the restriction. The cigkids were not just misinformed, they were also too lazy or unskilled to find and develop the genuine civil liberties arguments. How often did they consult with the ACLU? You want to bet, never?
    So Sir Writer, investigate on - and thank you for the remarkable pictures you find!

  13. I think they did start their own blog, Sir Eric. It was called Downtown Dirt. Didn't really work out for them.

  14. I absolutely love your pictures!! They are worth a thousand keep me laughing!

  15. I'm not 9:08 or 9:16. I think you are blowing smoke Sir E. We won, it's done, so let's move on to another topic...or am I not allowed to voice an opinion different than yours? I fully understand it is YOUR ballgame, but I think one should be able to voice one's opinion, whether or not it agrees with yours.

  16. Anon at 2:58, I think everyone would agree that your opinion is welcome - but you do also have the opportunity to start another blog if you want to determine the topics that the chief writer posts articles about.

  17. OK not 9:08 or 9:16, what is the article you want to post?

  18. anonymous as wellApril 2, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    Please friend, tell us what it is you want! How can we help you if you won't let us know?

  19. Sierra Madre GirlApril 2, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    2:58, have you taken a look at the past articles? There isn't much that the Tattler hasn't addressed.

  20. Yawn. Talk about chasing your own tail.
    For the record, I live in West LA and spend about half my time in SM. For some reason, when I post from West LA, the Star News site sees the network I'm on as being in Chino Hills. Some Pac Bell distribution point, maybe.

    Look; do your research. A cursory background check on me will show you that there's no way I could be involved in some conspiracy. Ask the kids at beantown. I got back to the US after nearly 3 years abroad, exactly two days before the first CC meeting. I got involved, and helped the group organize, because while I was sitting at beantown we overheard a number of you making extremely rude and unfounded comments about smokers being "idiots", etc. We were offended and decided to do something.

    I have to say, the way Eric functions here, constantly looking under the covers for a bigger boogeymonster, is kind of ridiculous. As is re-rehashing this all over again. I suspect the attention was good for the blog, as was having an easy "enemy" to knock down.

  21. Josh,

    You come here looking for sympathy or something else. What is it that keeps bringing you back?

    I don't know who made those "rude and unfounded" comments but please remember to look in the mirror, your posts at times were offensive and/or ridiculous.

    You are not "easy enemy" your smoking was. It's been about the smoking not the know what's offensive? When you friends gather around and light up cigarettes in front of kids/old folks without a care in the world. Had they shown any type of restraint or common sense...none of this would have come to pass. Unfortunate that "courtesy" could/would not prevail. It's still going on ... hence why the restriction was so easy to pass...

    Stop complaining about things you don't like this are free to find one you enjoy -- just a like finding a coffee shop that caters to smokers.

  22. I am Anonymous at 9:08 am. I did NOT post the message at 9:16 am. (Sir
    Eric, I do not appreciate the fact that you stated both posts were
    written by the same person. This was an assumption on your part.) I am
    IN FAVOR of the smoking restrictions in the downtown area.

  23. But Josh, you haven't addressed the point of this article. That being that your part time presence here did far more harm to the anti-restriction owner's cause than good.

  24. 1. For the people that want to support our restaurants (the majority of which serve mediocre food at best, but there are a couple of good ones and hey survival of the fittest), the best way to support them is to get this outdoor smoking ban passed in Monrovia and every other harbor of the smoke stakes, that way they have no reason to take their dollars elsewhere 'cause they can't smoke there either.

  25. Although the topic has been discussed mucho, I think it is a good thing because I would like to have smoking banned on city sidewalks and parks, etc. -- just like Pasadena has done. I think the City Council is heading that direction. Didn't they infer this was only the start and maybe more smoking restrictions would come later?

  26. 6:29 pm - yup...

  27. Sierra Madre business ownerApril 2, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    Worldwide, more and more smoking bans will be enacted.
    SM is not a leader in this by any means - sort of in the middle of the wave that is rolling along, as a result of the incontrovertible science (no junk about it).

  28. Our Mayor Zimmerman and fellow councilmember's, Mayor Pro-tem MacGillivray and hopefully, soon to be Mayor Pro-tem Donald Watts have done a remarkable job for the city of Sierra Madre.
    They have been honest and kept their promises to the voters.
    Please support Mayor Zimmerman (the best mayor of Sierra Madre in years) Mayor Pro-Tem MacGillivray(we are so thankful to have you) and Councilman Don Watts....who has faithfully kept his promises to the voters.(thanks, Don).
    Be it transparency, honesty in government, or protecting ALL our citizens from over development by greedy out of town ( and a few in town) developers, fires and natural disasters or protecting us all( including smokers) from second hand smoke in our downtown dining areas.....we can count on these dedicated public servants to fight for us....always.

  29. If the affected business owners had been opposed to this they would have been down at City Hall with graphs and charts and suited up lawyers. You did not see that.

    I'm still waiting for someone to show me some authority for the notion that smoking is a civil right. In anybody's jurisprudence.

  30. Ms. Catherine,
    A smoking ban is an erosion of civil rights when its chief intention ceases to be the purification of air in an enclosed or inescapable space, and begins to be a mode of ostracizing, condemning or alienating the smoker to whom the habit is attached.
    Whereas the bans on indoor smoking were perfectly reasonable -- and seen as such by most smokers -- since their purpose was to protect the workers in establishments who were forced to be exposed to large amounts of concentrated secondhand smoke, their purpose was nonetheless completely directed at protecting those workers, not at protecting the general public. Historically, in this country and around the world, and prior to the innovation of the nanny state, the general public was assumed to possess the wherewithal to decide for themselves whether to frequent a place known to contain health risks, or to take their business elsewhere.
    An outdoor smoking ban is radical because in claiming that smokers are causing damage to the general welfare by releasing this very small amount of extra pollution into the open (and already irredeemably smoggy, ozone- and plutonium-laden) air that we all breathe, it vastly overstates the dangers posed by that pollution in a way that is designed to -- and does -- demonize a sector of the Beantown population by insinuating that their choice and the pollution emanating from it is somehow worse than the smog produced by everyone else's vehicles parking in front of the place. Which simply isn't true based on any empirical standard.

  31. Paddy O'SheaApril 5, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    Paranoid little git, innit he? Always assumes that the world is out to get him.

    Josh: The dirty little secret of your paranoia is this - the world is not out to get you. What it does want to do is ignore you. Please allow it to do so.

  32. Sierra Madre GirlApril 5, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    Josh, good for you for cleaning up your rhetoric and sticking to the point - that post is a real improvement.
    The issue lies in these words, "...releasing this very small amount of extra pollution into the open..." That is the heart of the matter - how small? The Stanford study, so often quoted out of context by smokers that the researchers had to issue clarification statements, tracks the amount of environmental nicotine. It's not good.

  33. sierra Madre GirlApril 5, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    And the Stanford scientific community is familiar with empirical standards.

  34. The Stanford studyApril 5, 2009 at 9:49 AM

  35. The study concludes:April 5, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    Our results are consistent with the recent California Air Resources Board (CARB, 2003) study, which found that outdoor ETS concentrations, as indicated by airborne nicotine levels, could sometimes be of similar magnitude to indoor ETS concentrations. The CARB study reports 8-h average concentrations in locations such as amusement parks, airports, and office complexes where hundreds of cigarettes were actively smoked. In the current study, with just a few cigarettes and cigars, we found outdoor concentrations measured
    during both short on-site visits and controlled experiments to be comparable to indoor concentrations in some cases. In contrast to integrated sampling methods, real-time monitors allowed us to make direct links between elevated polluant concentrations and specific sources often on time scales as short as a minute. CARB attributed the variability in concentrations partly to positions of smokers, size of the smoking area, and wind.
    Likewise, we were able to quantify the effect of source-receptor distance and variation in
    winds in our controlled experiments.

  36. Nothing paranoid about it. As shown in this study by the Democracy Institute:
    an outdoor smoking ban is part of a broader pattern of governments and NGOs intentionally stigmatizing groups they deem unfit. If that's not an extremely paternalistic and anti-democratic tactic in trying to improve the public health, I don't know what is. In the name of absolute safety, the people pushing bans like these are doing so as a way of remolding society and trying to paint people who make "dangerous" decisions like drinking, smoking, gambling or being overweight as being somehow aberrant, disposable, and less-than-full citizens.

  37. You know Josh, I did get it wrong. Let me change that to "self-perpetuating paranoic." Seems that you've turned madness into a full time occupation.

    When the choice is supposedly stigmatizing whiny nitwits like you, or protecting the health of children from suffering the effects of your nasty addiction, there really is no choice.

  38. Then Paddy, what about gambling or drinking? Both also have negative effects on children and families. What length do you want to go to, as a society, to protect children from seeing adults do something you don't like?

    Also, you know, the name-calling attacks on me -- just like the article this site devoted to me -- just make you look foolish. You and this site are desperate to make me seem irrational, because then you don't have to address my point. What you're showing is that you're incapable of sustaining a logical argument.

    Without me here, you'd all just be sitting around agreeing with each other. Wouldn't that get kind of boring?

  39. The topic is smoking, Josh. You an ADD victim or something?

    And for you, of all people, to complain about name calling is the height of hypocrisy.

  40. The topic is the erosion of civil liberties. The reason I'm against the smoking ban is that it is one step on the road to what I'm talking about. That is the whole point of everything I've been trying to say. You have to look at the big picture before you go around passing laws against things you don't approve of, "Paddy". Or Eric, or whoever you are.

  41. Utter nonsense. Tobacco smoke kills, and people have the right to prevent being exposed to it. Get used to it, your behavior disgusts most people, and they don't want you around because of it. To say that you somehow have the right to subject those around you to your destructive addictions is sheer idiocy.

  42. I didn't say that, Paddy. I said adults have the right to decide where and when to expose themselves to danger. Including whether to sit down outdoors next to someone who's smoking.

    If you don't like it, you don't have to sit there either. You don't have to whine about it to the police, or the mayor's office. You don't own the whole world. Is that really so hard for you to understand?

    Toughen up and deal with the fact that there are smells that bother you. I'm sorry they bother you, but at the end of the day that's your problem, not mine; and you running to take away everyone's liberties to protect your oh-so-sensitive nose and your oh-so-sensitive children from seeing those "disgusting" people just shows you don't deserve the freedom or the democracy you were born into.

    How can you possibly think in such simplistic terms? Where do people like you come from?? For Christ's sake crawl back in your hole, wherever it is; stop trying to tell other people, who obviously have more going on than you do upstairs, how to live their lives.

  43. Paddy O'SheaApril 5, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Um, no Josh. It is obvious that you don't own the world. You lost, and lost badly. In this town you have actually become a kind of poster boy for failure. And your obvious need to get some affirmation here is really touching, but in the end as futile as everything else in your life. Try calling your mom. I think you'll find what you're looking for there.

    Oh, and your needy assumptions of intellectual superiority are amusing. Only someone so obviously lacking in cerebral confidence would go back to that well as often as you do.

  44. I'm not sure how you classify the immaturity of someone who resorts to "Try calling your mom" as a way of uh, what, making a point? Do you have a point?

    In any case, it's a shame that bullies, weirdos, peddlers of cheap insults and psychos like yourself and Eric have been allowed to run away with the "democratic process" such as it is in SM. What's interesting is that in every post you try to put this into personal terms as being about me. It's not about me. That's just a cheap way of making it look like you're winning an argument.

    And also, it's a perfect example of what the Democracy Institute's paper is about. Just goes to show that the population is infinitely malleable, when brown shirt self-styled 'enforcers' like yourself are given a whiff of superiority, and one chance in your miserable little life to lord it over someone who you're told you're better than. Look what kind of nastiness comes out.

    You know the best way to tell people of character from those who lack it? Read these threads and see if you can figure it out.

  45. Paddy O'SheaApril 5, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    You're a clown, Josh. A comic book character. One minute you're whining about name calling, and the next you're yapping about weirdos and psychos. Talk about projection ..

    The Democracy Institute? Let me guess. You get to wear leather uniforms and Tom Cruise stops by once in a while, right?

  46. Again, ignoring what I'm saying and simply trying to discredit me. Proof of your gang's whole M.O.

    And which do you think takes more guts? Being an anonymous member of the crowd calling for someone's head? Or being the only one who'll stand up for something you believe in the face of that crowd?


  47. Paddy O'SheaApril 5, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    Refer to 1:14 PM.

  48. WHAT! The Democracy Institute ( is leather uniforms and Tom Cruise??

    From their home page: "The Democracy Institute is a politically independent public policy research organization based in Washington and London. (It) aims to provide a balanced and thoughtful perspective on topical issues, promoting open and rational debate based on evidence rather than ideology....We are currently conducting and commissioning work in the following areas: democratization; education policy; electoral studies; the European Union; fiscal studies...."

    Some recent reports and articles,in addition to the "DI Denormalization Study" Josh referred to, are: "DI Report, The Obesity Epidemic Myth"; Marian Tupy on aid to Africa in the Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2008; Patrick Basham on McCain & Obama's economic policies in the New York Post, Sept. 20, 2008; Patrick Basham on Muslim anti-americanism in the Tampa Tribune, July 28, 2008.....

    This is leather uniforms and Tom Cruise??

    Their denormalization study analyzes the California government's use of denormalization and predicts that it will be used in the near future against the obese, people who drink alcohol (not only alcoholics, but ordinary people who do 5 o'clock cocktails and wine with dinner), and any others whom government considers unhealthy and undesirable.

    California's smokers are just the canaries in the coal mine. You are being duped and manipulated into providing a bleak, regimented world for your children.

    Josh's Other Mother

    Josh's Other Mother

  49. Fatsos, lushes, and smokers? That's who they worry about?

    Let me guess, it's funded by McDonalds, Seagrams, and Philip Morris.

  50. "Fatsos, lushes, and smokers?" - Typical of the level of thought and public debate among the nanny state morality police of Sierra Madre. And exactly nothing more or less than the stereotyping and demonizing that the DI's report warns about.

    I said it repeatedly through this fight: I'm a smoker, so I just happened to be in the group that was being excluded today. I would have gone to bat just as strongly for any other group you were trying to throw out of restaurants and to degrade and treat as less-than-citizens. Because I believe your tactics are in bad faith, and I fear our society being taken over by intolerant, bigoted, small-minded petty self-appointed policemen.

    Having said that, there really are only a few people in SM who are behind this law, this website, and the comments on this blog. They were foolishly astonished when we put up a site of our own, as if it's so difficult. This site only has 32 listings on Google. They are not the force they pretend to be. And I won't stand silently and let them smear me for my beliefs. They are the zealots and the ones crusading to take away our freedoms, one at a time. They're old and out of touch; they're history. We'll win in the end. America must not become that "bleak, regimented" place.

  51. Keep smoking and you won't outlast anyone.

    Just let me know where to send the flowers.

  52. What we see in Josh's communiques is a psychological disorder. He cannot input information; he's stuck on output, and since he can't see anything but his own perspective, reasoning with him is pointless. In layman's language it's constant projection - he sees only his own thoughts and feelings and then projects them on others.
    He's not going to hear a thing.

  53. I think Josh has an infantile personality disorder. He sees himself at the center of the world, surrounded by hostile forces out to deprive him of all the things he likes to consume. And because of that he just bawls and bawls and bawls.

  54. If Josh really is mentally challenged, maybe
    we should just let him be. Picking on him if
    that's the case just becomes cruel.

  55. Anonymous 3:11, I think you're right.

  56. Naturally. People who disagree with you are "mentally challenged" or have "personality disorders."

    I think it's a personality disorder to have a constant compulsion to interfere in people's lives. It's a sociopath who is afraid of approach someone and telling them that what they're doing is bothering you. It's a sociopath who attacks anonymously.

    And only a crude, pathetic blowhard needs to tell himself and everyone around him that he's superior to "Fatsos, lushes, and smokers [sic 6:53]".

    You can keep going all day; you just make your case look worse and worse.

  57. Here, for example, is what the Cato Institute has to say on the subject:

    "From the left, for example, a new class of critics has emerged under the banner of "public health." True public health is, of course, a perfectly legitimate function of government. The collective nature of the threats posed by highly communicable diseases, for example, makes protection from them a legitimate public good, deliverable by government. Today one might also include the threats posed by biological or chemical terrorism.

    But modern "public-health" initiatives have moved well beyond what could reasonably be classified as public goods. Today, government undertakes all sorts of policies in the name of public health that are aimed at regulating personal behavior. It began in the 1970s and 1980s with anti-smoking initiatives and today includes a wide range of programs, including efforts aimed at reducing alcohol consumption, encouraging seatbelt and motorcycle helmet use, regulating diet and lifestyle in the name of curbing obesity, federalizing local issues like speed limits and the minimum drinking age, and generally using the power of the state to regulate away lifestyle risk.

    But the American right, which has traditionally claimed to favor limited government, is no better..."

  58. Paddy O'SheaApril 7, 2009 at 6:55 AM

    A list of those corporations funding the Cato Institute can be found at the link below. The list includes RJ Reynolds, Amgen, Pepsico, ExxonMobil, Comcast, and many others. The Cato Institute's "findings" are often little more than unvarnished propaganda designed to add credibility to the business agendas of its corporate patrons. Only someone as naive and obviously poorly educated as Josh would give credence to their proclamations. The inability to tell the difference between propaganda and reality being a telling sign of ignorance.

  59. Ooooh Paddy, you go Boy.
    Nicely done!

  60. First of all, I'm not sure if you're hip to the fact that we live in a capitalist / corporatist society where virtually every nonprofit is backed by donations from large companies... your ALA and AMA activists who showed up were paid by checks from Big Pharma, who have a fiduciary interest in driving smokers to quit by becoming addicted to their products instead of tobacco.

    The article I quoted wasn't even about was about civil liberties writ large. The only question you need to answer is, do you believe the state has a right to regulate "lifestyle risk" as described above?

    Since both sides are funded by corporate money, I don't see any reason to buy into your commie sourcewatch argument that Cato is somehow any less least their message isn't totalitarianism.

  61. You've become a bore, Josh. Really. Same thing over and over again. You don't have the right to sicken children with your cigarette smoke. If you want to equate that with the collapse of the American Republic, fine. Have at it. But don't expect many others to want to play in your ideological sandbox.

  62. Dear Anyone, GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!
    Yours Truly, Josh's Lung

  63. That Josh equates any attempts to curb his nasty habits with the collapse of Western Civilzation is rather telling. This isn't just about puffing a Marlboro in front of Beantown, its actually the central event in the demise of the free world!

    An outlook that would look particularly chic when wrapped in a straitjacket.

  64. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre"April 7, 2009 at 8:12 PM

    Just walked past Beantown at 6 p.m. tonight, many people are still out there smoking. The ban passed the night of the vote unanimously, and our softie politicians in Sierra Madre decided on our behalf to give the smokers a ninety day “educational period” before enforcing the ban. So I must pose the question: How is Beantown helping to educate their smoking clients by providing several ashtrays?

    While the city is not enforcing the ban yet, it is already the law. Does the fact that the smokers continue to smoke not disprove the “Joshthought” that the smokers would gladly refrain from smoking if we only asked them nicely? I think the unanimous vote was VERY NICE & CLEAR!

    Lastly, Albert Einstein said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I can’t help but feel that this could be extended to reason that in the case of our dear and never departing Josh “insanity is saying the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results". The fact that you are not able to even convince one or two people to agree with you might be rather telling. The “democratic process” has spoken, and you are on the losing side of the process.

  65. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre"April 7, 2009 at 8:14 PM

    Oh, and GOOD NIGHT!

  66. We all win, the process still works.

  67. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    "Losing Our Minds in Sierra Madre"...

    When we left on that Tuesday night it was our understanding that smoking was banned right then and there although between that time and the following day at 6pm when i went to work there was no info on the matter from any city official (and still none to this day). When i questioned that, i was told that there was STILL 30 days before anything could happen and that it would go before the council one more time for another vote (and yes we all know how that will probably go) and then the 90 day education period.

    Please don't go jumping down my throat as i will admit i could be wrong but this is what we at Lucky Baldwin's heard and understood.

    Hope that helped.


  68. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre"April 8, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Ya, not much for jumpin' down people’s throats - you may have me confused with that guy Josh. I'm just a bit more about reporting what I see, and perhaps organizing a couple events to bring revenue to our compliant restaurants.

    Lisa, not sure if you ever realized that the person attempting to bring patrons to the downtown eateries, and offering to bring my friends and family to your place of business was also the same person who you called a “classless” gentleman.

    Our exchange went something like this:

    I began with an offer to organize large groups of patrons (both smokers and non–smokers) to eat & drink in Sierra Madre. The post was too long to muddy up this post so I will resubmit it below this post, for those who may want to reread it or who missed it the first run.

    In response you said in part: “Hey Johnny, great positive sure to either start or end your evening at Lucky Baldwin's, preferably on one of my nights.”

    To which I replied: “Thank you Lisa, I hate to see any issue divide our wonderful community this way. This is clearly one issue that both sides feel very passionate about. It will be nice if we can all come together on this one, and find common ground. I wanted to say Hi to you last night, but I didn't know your position and was concerned that my opinion had offended you. So HI, and my family, friends and I would love to come see you and spend some money at L.B.'s. Aloha, Johnny”

    In one of your very next posts you then said: “Allison's comment to the councilmember's was equally as "classless" as the gentlemen that said if he knew which restaurants were NOT in support of the smoking ban then he would not patronize those establishments when he SHOUTED back "DEMOCRACY WON AGAIN, HONEY."”

    (By the way, my comment was “democracy works again”, which I have uttered upon leaving every council meeting I’ve ever been to, in Sierra Madre or elsewhere. Interestingly, this was the very first time that I have ever been on the “winning” side of any issue before council (I use this line either way). Also, as I understand Democracy, it is my right to spend my cash only at the places of my choosing.)

    As for the “classless gentleman remark, it seems to me to be a bit of an oxymoron. Nonetheless, I believe that if you were to speak to anyone who knows me well they would tell you that I’m neither classless nor a gentleman. I do try to be a gentleman whenever possible, and sometimes I can be classless, however I don’t think that I am either on a full time basis. I suppose that’s the risk when one “broad brushes” a person. Although, while being called “classless” did make me thirsty for a beer, the comment really didn’t bring me any closer to wanting to patronize your place of business. While I do have many other thoughts, having rehashed this remark, and other general comments about the cheapness of your non-smoking customers I think I need to go now…I feel like I have something stuck in my throat.

  69. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre"April 8, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    Johnny said...
    It was a great turnout, and a fine show of what can be accomplished when people band together for the good and the health of the community. One of the many baseless claims of the opposition to the ban was the detrimental effect it would have on the businesses in Sierra Madre. That claim was disputed repeatedly and with FACTS from communities that already have bans in place. Nonetheless, there is just no convincing the diehard (no pun intended) smokers of this reality.

    Therefore, what I would like to propose would be a show of support from the smoking ban supporters. We pick a day in the near future, once we see that the "educational" process has begun, and organize a large gathering at one of the local eateries. We make it clear who we are and why we are there. Everyone brings along as many friends and family as they can, and we spend some money. I suggest that we start with the business that seemed to have had the most egregious of offenders (Beantown), and once a month work our way through the town. As a disclaimer I must say that my only connection to Beantown is as a customer, I do not stand to gain financially from this, nor do I have a financial interest in any business in town. We take our families out for ice cream, coffees and other treats. The next month we go to a restaurant and eat, drink and spend. This would serve as a show of support and sincerity, putting our wallets where our mouth is. Additionally it would serve as a visual show of our numbers, and be our way of reclaiming a few fresh air seats along the boulevard.

    Further I would recommend that everyone be invited, smokers and non-smokers, to show that our intent is to be all inclusive. There should be no name calling, and no antagonizing remarks between the two sides. Remember non-smokers; how you often felt alienated by the smoky environment and the inability of many (not all) of the smokers to do the decent thing in years prior. It was sad to see that what we were basically trying to regulate was not smoking, but manners. Most of us would not have been there last night if the smokers had at any time been self regulating with regards to manners and common decency. I am more of an idea man than an organizer, is there anyone out there who would like to help me make this idea come to fruition? I believe that with a couple of volunteers we could easily put this together. It could be a fun and rewarding evening, and what’s the worst thing that could come out of it, perhaps we gain a few calories. As one very wise participant exclaimed last night “there is no second hand food” issue. I hope that this idea sounds good to many, let’s get out and support the businesses of Sierra Madre. Any volunteers can reach me at

    Thank you for the forum to express myself, Johnny

    March 25, 2009 8:45 AM

  70. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre" (Johnny)April 8, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    By the way, just for the record, I have not to date received even one single offer to help organize this positive effort. Not one offer to volunteer from any smoker or non-smoker. Not even an e-mail expressing support for the idea. Perhaps the back and forth name calling has turned people off to the idea of spending their “hard earned” in this communities volatile environment.

  71. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    I don't have a ton of time at this moment but will respond by saying that the whole "classless" comment was because someone on here said that Allison was "classless" because of her comment she made when she left the meeting(not my choice of words, i was just responding)...fine, totally classless i am sure of her to some, but my point in responding was that it could not be anymore "classless" than the comment you made back at her. Make sense? And if we go back to that one blog, i said 2 wrongs do not make a right (or something like that). Her comment may have had more affect if the other side said NOTHING.
    Also, i was not being sarcastic when i agreed with your plan of spending money at the different places (and making sure LB's was on the list) although i found it interesting that you had also said something at the meeting that if you knew which places were against the smoking ban you would not go there (right? same person?). Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I remember waiting on you, your wife and little one ALL THE TIME when it was the brewery but maybe only seeing you guys there one time since we changed over. Had you already decided not to patronize our place long before for other reasons?

    Anyhow, i hate to debate as i am sure you can see by my long winded over explained emotions...sorry i missed you when you stopped by on that Thursday. I am there Tues., Wed., and Thursday's after 6pm. Let's try again.


  72. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre" (Johnny)April 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Lisa, let me get this straight...someone (who was not me) called Alison "classless", so you in turn called me "classless" and in the same breath said "2 wrongs do not make a right". Now I'm the one who is confused!

    As for the comment about not supporting the restaurants that did not support the ban, once the ban passed that seemed to be a moot point. Therefore, I moved on (in what we both seemed to agree was a positive direction) and altered my opinion about whose establishments to frequent.

    I’m only looking to clarify my position here, not looking for a battle. In fact I find you to be a very gracious host and a seemingly decent person (who just happens to have a very different opinion than my own - which I can respect), and I do plan to come and visit you at “Deliriums”. You haven’t seen me often at the new location for more than one reason, but the biggest being this very issue – the smokers. I love to drink and dine outdoors when the weather is right, and the patio on S.M. Blvd is much more close quarters than the patio was at the previous location. This makes it much harder to avoid sucking in the second hand smoke. If you notice in my earlier post I refer to “compliant” restaurants. As the eateries comply with Sierra Madre municipal code I believe sincerely that you will not only see me and my family, but many others who have long been absent.

    Peace, Johnny

  73. Johnny

    Can't agree with you more...haven't been to Lucky's in over a year...last time I was there was half way through my second beer and had to leave...the smoke was just too much for these contact wearing eyes...

    We'll be back as well ...

  74. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Ok i am totally confused which is why i hate this crap.

    Johnny are you not the guy that used to be huge regulars at the old and then new Brewery where LB's now is? Wife and a son? Used to hang with Geri and Chris? Goatee? Spoke at the Council meeting? Just answer that and then i will TRY to explain more.

    A frustrated Lisa

  75. Lisa,
    Yes, that is me (us), but I'm not sure of what your confusion is. I was a very regular patron of the brewery, but I've only been to Deliriums (Lucky Baldwins) maybe 3 or 4 times tops. What is it that you are confused about? In fact, I hate to hijack this blog and make it our own private chat room, I’ll come by for dinner tonight after six tonight. See ya then, Johnny

  76. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    Johnny...our own private chat room...ah, that could be the name of a pretty cool blog. Anyhow, i work Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays...not tonight so come by tomorrow if that works for you.

    One thing about this blog is 98% of the people on here (including "Sir Eric" but it's his blog so he can do whatever he wants) do not keep the same profile name and for me that gets confusing.

    So you are also "Losing our minds in Sierra Madre", right? Just want to get that one straight too.

    I guess what i am confused about is that you were the one that made the comment back to Allison at the meeting and you were the one that told the council if you knew the places that were against the smoking ban you WOULD NOT go there and spend in my little mind it seems that you are denying that. Am i just completely misunderstanding that? By the way sorry if i am.

    Now about the whole "classless" comment. This is what Pasta posted on March 25th at 9:35am-

    "Between Allison's remarks that she shouted as she left the council chambers after the vote and her Tattler post shows the woman has NO class"

    So that's where i added the "less" to class when i posted back at 12:17pm on that same day-

    "Allison's comment to the councilmember's was equally as "classless" as the gentlemen that said if he knew which restaurants were NOT in support of the smoking ban then he would not patronize those establishments when he SHOUTED back "DEMOCRACY WON AGAIN, HONEY"...2 wrongs certainly do not make a right. Her comment would have had more of an affect if no one had responded, don't you think?"

    Yes i understand that it was "works again, honey" but whatever it was i considered both comments unnecessary and embarrassing. I never meant to call you a "classless" person by any means. It's like in highschool when "she called me a 'bi**h'" when she really said "stop acting like a 'bi**h'".

    Oh and i am not totally worried about this being our own little private chatroom when seriously there is only a handful of people that post on here...seems like more but that goes back to not keeping the same name.

    When you come in and hopefully it will not be busy we can talk more. You know i've always liked you guys and because we do share different opinions only makes a friendship stronger and wiser. Sorry for any misunderstanding.


  77. I figure its somewhere between 15 and 20 people who post here at least a couple times a week. Which is actually pretty good when you compare it to any other blog in LA County. Even Sierra Madre's previous ratings king blog, The Cumquat, only drew minimal comments, and then few beyond a sentence or two. But remember, its not the size of the posting community that counts, its the size of the readership. And in that category The Tattler is doing quite well for a small city blog covering local issues. The numbers are way up. The smoking thing really boosted us in that category.

  78. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    I totally agree with you, you do have a ton or readers as opposed to posters. Also the one "smoking" article i was referring to today i had not been on in awhile...there were 157 comments on that one alone...HOLY SMOKES (oh and no pun intended)!!!!


  79. The other thing that has helped is The Sierra Madre Weekly print coverage. They reprint articles from the blog most every week, which has opened the place up to a readership that isn't quite as on-line oriented. The thing to remeber is that this blog only started late last December. Come a long ways in a very short period of time.

  80. Sierra Madre GirlApril 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    Congratulations Sir Eric. The blog wouldn't make it, even with all the smoking razzmatazz, if you weren't such an excellent writer.
    Thank goodness, you have a voice that reflects the genuine concerns of the community. It will be interesting to see if any of the smoking players, either side of the issue, continue with civic curiosity.

  81. I think that the addictive nature of the habit makes courtesy difficult. If these unfortunate people can somehow rationalize the daily use of something proven to cause an early and painful death, then they can certainly convince themselves that cribbing a smoke around people who hate the stuff is fine and dandy.

  82. Lisa,
    It is Wednesday - don't forget to go to work!

  83. Lisa Bartolai BrandleyApril 8, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    Oh snap, my bad!!!! Um Tuesday Thursday and Friday's!!! Dang!!!! Sorry!!! That's a typo!!!

    See you tomorrow?


  84. Eric,
    I could not agree with you more.

  85. "Losing Our Minds In Sierra Madre" (Johnny)April 9, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Although I must add, at some point does this not just signal a personality disorder? Addicted or not, what we are really talking about is arrogance, laziness and the inability or unwillingness to identify with others. The smoker knows that they are annoying the non-smoking diners, and spoiling the taste of other people’s meals. Most of them (the ones who aren’t in denial) know of the health risks their imposing on others, and yet they still can’t get up and walk 100 feet away. They are not on their respirators as of yet, most of them have walked more than 100 feet from where they parked their car. So if it isn’t arrogance – if it isn’t laziness, well then, I have to go with PERSONALITY DISORDER!

  86. Johnny, the real question is why you people have to spoil our enjoyment when you're not around. It would have been possible to pass a restriction on smoking that only took effect when there were non-smokers present. Instead, there is a blanket ban in all places at all times. Rather than try to accommodate us, you're of the opinion that we have no right to enjoy ourselves, whether you're around or not. If that isn't the height of arrogance and an unwillingness to identify with others, I don't know what is.

  87. Well Josh, you spoil our enjoyment when you're around. Turnabout is fair play, you know.

  88. Josh,
    And here I was beginning to think that you had actually given up & gone away. It's been so quiet here without all your whining and crying. Can we get you a pacifier?

  89. A pacifier might not be a good idea. Josh would light it and then the area would be filled with the smell of burning rubber. And if we complained Josh would say we're threatening the freedoms that made America great. It's a slippery slope.

  90. Hey Paddy,
    I think that you and others have been very correct in the past when you say it’s probably best to ignore Josh & maybe he will just go bother people somewhere else. Then again as Eric has pointed out, in some sick, perverted way Josh does keep the threads alive. I mean, really, would it be any fun to just blog with a large group of reasonable thinking individuals who all agree?

  91. Johnny - you're right of course. Abusing fools is pretty much a mainstay in blogging. Like AM talk radio political call in, except its typed.