Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Moral Relativism of the "Stop The Sierra Madre Smoking Ban" Movement

There is a term going around where I work, one used to describe how an organization can lose touch with the big world outside and slide into irrelevance. It is called reality creation. Reality creation is something that happens when the same 10 people sit in a meeting room year after year and tell each other what they believe everyone there wants to hear. And since everybody in the room seems to be in agreement on what is being said, it therefore must be true. Let's have some food sent in and talk about it some more.

An example of the reality creation process in action would go like this. In a first meeting everyone agrees that the company needs to create an exciting new marketing campaign, one that will bring renewed life to the same old stuff, driving numbers and helping the company achieve its goals. So all get down to work, pencil out costs and finances, and by the end of the meeting everyone agrees some important work has been done. The session ends with the understanding that the matter will be taken up again at the next confab. So the next meeting comes around, and everyone looks at the numbers discussed the last time. But at this meeting the necessity of fiscal economy comes into play. The erasers come out, and last meeting's bold marketing plan is eventually whittled away into nothing. Soon everyone is congratulating each other on all the money they've saved the company.

We have interns at work, college kids mostly, and we mighty executives are required to talk to them once in a while. You know, so that we might share our immense wisdom with them and they in turn get something out of working for us for free. So I sat down and talked with the kid currently assigned to me. I told him the story I just related above, and expected him to marvel at such insight. But he just stared at me for a second. "Oh," he said, "you're talking about moral relativism." Umm, sure kid. Of course I was.

There is a ton of information on moral relativism available on-line, and the best and most easily grasped definitions that I've found are on a site called, get this, Moral Relativism. They explain it this way:

"Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right and wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person's individual choice. We can all decide what is right for ourselves. You decide what's right for you, and I'll decide what is right for me. Moral relativism says, 'It's true for me, if I believe it.'" 

The article then goes on to put the concept into an historical setting.

"Moral relativism has steadily been accepted as the primary moral philosophy of modern society, a culture that was previously governed by a 'Judeo-Christian' view of morality. While these 'Judeo-Christian' standards continue to be the foundation for civil law, most people hold to the concept that right or wrong are not absolutes, but can be determined by each individual. Morals and ethics can be altered from one situation, person, or circumstance to the next. Essentially, moral relativism says that anything goes, because life is ultimately without meaning."

And nowhere is this concept of moral relativism more perfectly realized than in what we're seeing from the Stop the Sierra Madre Smoking Ban movement. It's not that these people are deliberately attempting to be deceitful or dishonest (well, at least the kids aren't), but more that they really do believe in what they are saying. And they believe it because it is something that fits what they feel is important to them, which in their minds makes all the mountains of evidence to the contrary irrelevant. If decades of scientifically proven data does not fit in with what they have chosen to believe, then it must not be true. 

I've pulled together 3 examples that I think will highlight what I'm talking about here. The first comes from the Facebook site that serves as a kind of electronic home base for this effort.

"What the council doesn't want to admit is that no reputable studies exist that demonstrate health risks associated to second-hand smoke. The prevailing study, published by the EPA over 15 years ago was lambasted by a Federal court, which concluded that the EPA 'cherry-picked' its data to reach a predetermined conclusion."

Of course, this is pure rubbish. There are literally hundreds of studies that conclusively prove that cigarette smoke is a known carcinogen, and that whether you come into contact with it by directly inhaling it from a cigarette, or get it second hand, the result is the same. It can and will kill you. And to blithely state that the reason so many believe this is because a 15 year old Environmental Protection Agency report cooked it all up is, well, certainly a leap of faith. But what does it matter if that is what you've chosen to believe? After all, is there really any kind of empirical evidence that can possibly challenge what you have chosen to accept as your very own personal version of reality?

The second and third examples I will cite come from comments that were left with our original posting on this topic. The person who blessed us these effluent droppings of wisdom chose to post this anonymously, which is fine. But I think anyone familiar with both the writing style and reasoning processes will easily figure out who the author is.

"More government intrusion into our personal lives is a non-issue for these people. It's the same mentality as the moralist bigots who used outright lies and deceit to push for the passage of Proposition 8 last year."

As someone who emphatically and wholeheartedly voted against Prop 8, and actively encouraged others to do so as well, I find this reasoning to be a little offensive. To equate the historic discrimination against Gay people in this country with the desire of Beavis and Butthead to sit for hours in front of Beantown and Lucky Baldwins stinking up the air with toxic cigarette smoke is a bit much. But in the moral relativistic view even people such as our slacker pals can find support for the belief that they are victims, and that their cause is actually a struggle for liberation against an unfair government. They're not just some inconvenienced dudes hanging out on a sunny afternoon, they're an oppressed minority.

This last cite is a true howler.

"First cite some real, statistically significant studies that conclusively demonstrate serious health risks from exposure to ETS that are not backed up by organizations with an agenda. ACS (American Cancer Society) and the ALA (American Lung Association) have a stated goal to push for a tobacco-free country via legislation."

So let me get this straight. Is the author actually suggesting here that the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, organizations that actually have conclusively demonstrated the relationship between secondhand smoke and cancer, should not engage in any proactive discussions on their findings because to do so would give them the appearance of having an agenda, therefore making all those findings somehow suspect? And that in order to maintain credibility they should just shut up about it? Yeah, I guess he is. But you see, in his view those findings could lead to the government further regulating the consumption of tobacco, which would be oppression, and isn't that far worse than a lot of unimportant people dying of lung cancer from secondhand smoke? 

Ah well, its been fun. I fully expect the STSMSB folks to be fully bummed out when the City Council harshes their collective mellow. And who knows, maybe they'll knock over a garbage can or two on their way back over to Baldwin to express their umbrage. But those who are pulling the strings behind this put up nonsense? I'm sure they'll be back very soon with something just as fun-filled and zany.

We'll be waiting for them.


  1. Relativism is infantilism.....Alice in Wonderland...."things are what I think they are"
    How about some ABSOLUTISM for a change?
    Thanks for your comments, Sir Eric.

  2. This is how it works. If kids can't smoke in front of Beantown, the downtown shopping area will go broke. And if you don't like smokers, then you are against gays. But its probably because the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society want us all to be slaves of the government. They want to take away our freedoms. And if you don't agree with me on this its because you hate me.

  3. You're right, bald dude, we hate you.

  4. There is apparently a party today at Susan Henderson's
    house for "Observer" writers and staff. If you are going
    you might want to tip the help.

  5. Yet another party? Egads! Guess she'll pass out boy scout badges, crosses or city flags as party favors.

  6. For all these young college-educated people, I'm appalled. Relativism is about personal choice, not inflicting your reality on everybody else. But let's try something way simpler: Have the products of combustion ever been good for human health? First hand or second hand?

  7. p.s. Why not be honest and say, we just want to be able to have a cigarette while we're having a drink, after dinner, etc.?

  8. Nope, she'll tell her suckers, (I mean guests) that she has her case on appeal, and will get cleared of all charges against her. She'll tell them Sir Eric and/or Katina Dunn is trying to ruin her "business". She'll ask the people to stick with her, with no pay of course....and get others to "donate" to the paper.
    The only class Susan Henderson has is that she is a first class BULLSHITTER. I'll give her that.
    I DARE any of you dirts to ask her why she hasn't paid Ana Ramirez. Go ahead ask her, I can't wait to hear her spin......

  9. As far as businesses being "hurt" by the proposed no smoking ban, I offer this from the city of Beverly Hills, who has put a no smoking ban in place. Results? Increase in sales....

  10. I think most people associate cigarette smoke with
    lowlifes, crazy people, and addicts. People drive to
    Pasadena just to avoid that kind of thing.

  11. Thank you Anon at 12:56

    Great information.

    Just don't confuse these kids with the facts. Facts are not part of their reality.

  12. I am the one who spoke at the last cc meeting asking that outdoor smoking be restricted. I have no problem with folks who want to smoke, I just don't want to join them in a PUBLIC place...
    I urge everyone who supports our clean air to join us at the next cc meeting on March 10, 2009, at 6:30 at city hall.

    I will leave you with Pasadena's website on their successful efforts to ban outdoor smoking. They have the links with all the data you need to prove it a health hazard, littering problem and public nusiance...

    Thank you
    Sharon Pevsner

  13. Thank you for your post Sharon!
    I think everyone who has posted in favor of RESTRICTING smoking in public eating areas agrees 100% with you.

  14. Rode past the Henderson complex this afternoon and
    didn't see nary a car parked outside. Must have been
    an intimate party.

  15. A historical aside: moral relativism is a perversion of cultural relativism, which came out of the confrontation of Western people with the thinking of the rest of the world. The idea was, and is, that all cultural-moral systems are relevant to the people who live within them. To understand them one must take those ideas seriously. Ultimately though, we will continue to believe that what we think is morally right, that it must be maintained and defended. So the original idea wasn't that everything is equally valid. Rather you must continue to uphold your morality, but UNDERSTAND what makes other moral systems tick. Today smoking is considered one of the worst behaviors possible by others who are against it. Smokers continue to smoke. That may be what will kill them. What will kill the non-smoker is up for grabs. All this adds nothing to the morally correct notion that these smokers do not have the right to inflict second-hand smoke on unwilling others. That's a conviction no relativism can change.

  16. I recently quit smoking (as a matter of fact, at the moment, I feel like I have red ants crawling under my skin, but I digress.) I feel we should make it as difficult as possible for people to smoke in public or smoke at all. If you have an uncontrollable urge to smoke while other people are spending money in establishments, go in the alley to satisfy your addiction. Don't force other people to smoke if they don't want to. 2nd hand smoke does kill, whether you want to admit it or not. I had the good fortune of finding a couple of great little videos, please enjoy.
    (Hmmm, baby give me a kiss.)

  17. To those few who have written positive comments for both sides on this blog, i do appreciate it as it has been very informative and helpful in understanding. Hopefully whatever the outcome is with this smoking ban in Sierra Madre it will be a positive decision for all and not separate the people in the town as some other political issues have in the recent past.


  18. Lisa - I've always found the "divide the community" canard to be
    kind of, well, annoying. On important issue people take sides, they
    argue, they fight, and when all is said and dome the majority opinion
    takes the prize. Those who end up on the losing side just have to
    deal with it. It is a process called democracy. Sloppy, at times
    unpleasant, but still the best this old world has to offer.

    But that said, I really don't see how the "smoking ban" issue could
    "separate the people in the town." My take is that if this issue were to
    be put before the people of Sierra Madre for a popular vote, your side
    of the equation would be lucky to pull 10% of the vote.

  19. You're correct,Bad Karma,
    seeing as there is really no viable defense for smoking at eating tables......and this is NOT A BAN, it is a RESTRICTION.......I would be SHOCKED if the entire City Council voted with this tiny minority. Isn't going to happen.

  20. Fair enough Bad Karma.


  21. Lisa, what great remarks. You sound reasonable, open-minded - good for you!

  22. Smoking is an addiction that kills our friends, our brothers, our sisters and our mothers. It is not a glamorous way to live or die. When we all search our hearts for the right decision for our town, I how we keep that in mind.

  23. I hope we keep that in mind. (Sorry friends-)

  24. It looks like John Buchanan won't be at tomorrow night's City Council meeting. Mr. Perfect Attendance has apparently been pulled from his city duties by more important business. So some of the pressing matters of concern to many here will not be addressed tomorrow until he returns.

  25. What happened to "Live and Let Live"?

    Sometimes, adults do things you don't approve of, or like the smell of. Toughen up. That's the price of living in a FREE COUNTRY.

    Giving police the power to demand papers from anyone smoking on the street? That's called a police state.

    I just can't understand why you people can't take up your grievances with the people smoking who are offending you, on an as-needed basis, with civility and tact, and a respect for their decision. Simply saying that they must be stupid for choosing to smoke, and therefore have no right to voice an opinion, is absurd. I for one don't own a car, and I think many people are stupid for owning one. What's more, they pollute the air disgustingly -- the emissions from one car over one hour are equal to all the cigarettes I've ever smoked in my life. They're a mortal threat to people every day, both those who drive them and pedestrians crossing the street. Our whole country has been bulldozed into one large parking lot / strip mall / freeway in order to accommodate them.

    Personally, I'd like to see them banned from town centers and areas where people gather. But I accept the basic premise that IT'S A FREE COUNTRY and I'm not going to tell you how to live. I'm not going to say, you're stupid for owning a car, therefore your opinion is irrelevant. Because I accept that people can make their own decisions, and as harmful as it is to me to breathe your damn smog all day, I'm choosing to live in LA, not out in Montana or somewhere, and I accept that in a society we all have to deal with a bit of mess from each other.

    As long as you're respectful and don't run me down in your car, I won't blow my smoke anywhere near you. But quit trying to tell me what to do when you're not around, and I'm sitting outdoors not harming anyone but myself. It's disrespectful, it shows an incredible lack of broader reasoning about the choices we need to make to have a diverse and vibrant society, and it's heavy-handed and nannying in a way that I thought Americans were supposed to be above.


  26. No, can't do that friend.

  27. It's also worth mentioning, for some real "historical perspective," that as teetotalers and moralizers, you're also on the wrong side of history. From Wikipedia:

    The Australian writer C.J. Dennis [c. 1900] defined it thus: 'Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder'.

    Also: "one whose sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their sinful pleasures".

    What I don't understand is, don't you folks have anything better to do than to sit around telling other people how to live?

  28. Rant on, Mr. Dintzer. The fact remains that your sad little crusade is about as popular in Sierra Madre as the cancer your tobacco fetish has been proven to cause. And since this is a democracy the majority will have its say. Not a whole lot you'll be able to do about it, either. Outside of posting obnoxious and insulting screeds on a blog, of course.

  29. Josh, you have no credibility unless you start out with "Yes, my habit puts toxins into the air that we all share, and is a risk to myself and others." You have to begin there, and then proceed to defend the argument that you have the right to put others at risk in order to satisfy a craving that you have.
    Wishing you better causes for your talent and commitment.

  30. Day,
    When I smoke, I smoke outside. I don't smoke if there are kids around. I don't smoke if my smoke is blowing downwind toward someone who doesn't smoke, or when anyone would mind.

    So long as I follow those rules, of civility, to where my bad habit doesn't infringe upon any one else, why shouldn't I be allowed to have some space to relax and be comfortable? Why should I have to be treated like a criminal, run into the alley or out of town?

    Surely, you understand that your habit of driving a car puts toxins into the air in quantities massively exceeding, on an hourly basis, all the carbon monoxide from all the cigarettes I will ever smoke. It puts you and others at risk.

    I'm not engaged in any kind of "crusade"... I'm not the one who woke up one morning and decided to take someone else's rights away. I've heard the anti-smoking crowd at the table in beantown, calling smokers "animals"... you folks are just bored and full of hate and want to find someone to look down on and someone to mess with. I love Sierra Madre and I spend a lot of time there and I don't want to be run out of town. That's it.

    Seriously. Remember "live and let live?" Give people some room and expect them to give you yours? I know where this blog's sympathies lie, but you all understand that while you're putting me under sustained personal attacks simply for standing up for a right I've always had, one that's important to me as any of your bad habits are important to you, that you're essentially acting like a bunch of bullies looking for someone to pick on? And that after this anti-smoking law, your own bad habits will be next?

  31. You lost this fight the second you started claiming that second hand smoke was not harmful. Indoors or out. By doing this you no longer have the one thing that people in the political arena need most, which is credibility.

  32. What's incredible is that anyone can believe that a whiff of smoke in passing is de facto harmful. If that were the case, we should start by outlawing cars, aircraft, boats, trains, backyard bbq's, lawnmowers and chainsaws -- all of which are ubiquitous, and each of which pumps out far more particulates and carcinogens per cubic meter than does a point source cigarette.

    What I'm pointing out is that this ridiculous crusade against smokers isn't grounded in logic or science. If it were, the anti-smokers would agree that it's logical to let businesses decide whether they wanted to allow smoking outdoors or not, and would concede that other people have a right to a comfortable place to enjoy their habit.

    I concede that you have a right to a smoke-free environment. All I ask is that there be a comfortable place for me to have my smoke, too, and that I not be herded into the street or into an alley or treated like a criminal. All I'm asking is for the same level of respect I extend to others.

    Instead, what I've seen here is nothing more than an attempt on the part of a moralizing, pretentious group of bullies to criminalize a type of behavior that, in the history of mankind, has never been treated as a criminal offense. Whether it's that you folks really are scared to smell a whiff of smoke in passing (in which case, check out the smog level today and consider moving higher into the mountains...) or simply have too much time on your hands, a misguided superiority complex and a yen to dictate to your fellow-citizens, you should seriously consider re-evaluating your priorities. Clearly there are people here who feel very strongly that this is a right of theirs that you have no business taking away from them. We are willing to be as respectful in this matter as you are... but we are not criminals and refuse to be treated as such.

  33. Let me see: smoking killed my,
    My wifes father
    Close friend currently has lung cancer,smoking
    Do you see a trend here, I also smoked for over 25 years, longer I think than most of the people behind the ban on the ban have been ALIVE! I know what I am talking about. I am not against your "right" to smoke, hell knock yourself out, your an adult, you make the decisions in your life, you deal with the consequences. Have you considered what corporations you are throwing your money at, you know they really do have your best interests at heart. I made a personal decision to quit smoking, nobody "banned it" from me, I just grew a pair and quit. Can anyone please tell me one positive thing that has come from smoking, anyone? anything? Smoke'em if ya got'em!

    p.s. please pick up your butts because littering is illegal!

    Rod Diener

  34. One last try - Josh, take a look at the logical fallacy known as Tu Quoque.

  35. RE: Rod Feb. 24th, 2009 5:26 PM

    I have also known people to smoke, i've also known people to die. They did both under their own choice. Why should you (ANTI) be allowed the freedom to push us (PRO) into inconvenient and at times dangerous areas. Now i know alleys are totally comfortable and secure, but isn't that immoral. Now i have to worry about getting stabbed or mugged while i smoke. God forbid that i'm a woman and i smoke. Then i have to worry about stabbing, mugging AND rape. We (PRO SMOKERS) already stay outside to enjoy our habit. We are outside during nice days, cold days, raining days, hailing days, and even when the fires were happening, smokers were out in the falling ash. How much further do you want to segregate us? AND really, how hard is it to come up to one of us and say, "Hey, do you mind not smoking, i feel that it is detrimental to my health."

    I have had one person, ONE person ask me to stop because it bothered them. Did i yell? did i claim that he is "taking away my freedom"? did i laugh like "beevis and butthead" as one said earlier.
    No. I put out my cigarette, and abstained until the party had finished their meal and left.

    Is it really THAT difficult? I mean, isn't that what a small town community should be? about honesty, and respect. Instead of passing laws against each side.

    and lastly....

    Please, please, please please PLEASE....STOP calling us "KIDS" that is very disrespectful, and condescending. We are not inferior. We are not uneducated. If we were, we would be apathetic. And we are very motivated for our cause.

    -Jak Fox

  36. I can't wait until the smoking restrictions are passed and we can get beyond this debate. If I have to hear one more of these knuckleheads whine about being forced to smoke outside in the cold, or have their feelings hurt by the mean people who don't want to suffer the stench of their nasty habit, I swear I am going to throw up.

  37. Jak, I am not ANTI smoking, I smoked for over 25 years, I quit on my own, I will defend your right to smoke but just not in outdoor eating areas open to the public, sorry:-( We evolve as a nation, giving rights here, taking rights there, it's a work in progress. We are a nation of laws, like 'em or not, majority rules. Also, when I did smoke, not one, yes not one person ever asked me to put my smoke out because I had the common decency and common sense and respect for other people not smoke in dining\public\outside areas to begin with, if you don't want to be called kids, which I never did, then act like adults. This isn't personal, just stating my opinion.

    Rod Diener

  38. That is great that you quit, it is a very difficult thing to do. I have not been smoking NEARLY as long as you had, however that does not make it any easier for me to quit or anyone else for that matter. Secondly, the place in question that everyone is in a big stink about is a coffee shop. Many of the patrons that smoke, come to there and spend hours and hours working on school work, vocational work, or just plain relaxing and communing. All in all, the "dining area" is hardly populated by eating non smokers for much longer than two hours. A good number of the smokers who are there for such long periods of time do so, because they come from out of town, specifically to spend money at the coffee shop they patronize, the liquor stores they purchase cigarettes at, and the local eateries around the town, not to mention other business types as well. They would have NO reason to come any more. Thirdly, I do have the decency to not light up with children are around. I DO have the decency to refrain if i'm near an dining party. I do however believe that if something bothers you, speak up. I have a problem with blatant racism, whenever i hear it, i say something. We wouldn't mind being restricted to only businesses that feel comfortable with a smoking section, we however DO mind people who feel too uncomfortable saying something so they decide to ban it outright.

    What we propose, is allowing businesses to make their own decisions on banning or allowing the use of tobacco. To do otherwise, would just be trying to criminalizing something that is completely legal.

    -Jak Fox

  39. Jak: You're in denial on the basic concern. Smoking is a health issue. If you want to kill yourself, fine. But what you do not have the right to do is harm others. Which is what your cigarette smoke does. This is not an issue about politeness, or how wonderful you are for not blowing smoke in the faces of those suffering your presence. It is about public health. Many other cities have recognized this issue and dealt with it accordingly. Sierra Madre will as well.

  40. Hey Jack, ya, I kinda know a little bit about the coffee shop you speak of, I worked their for 6 years, managed for 4. I know first hand who the majority of the smokers are, time spent their, purchases made. And because I am no longer involved with the establishment I can speak freely. In my opinion, smokers would not be my target clientel, as an owner\manager of this type of business in my opinion you want churn -n- burn, get 'em in, get 'em out, and smokers generally don't fit that profile: they linger, sorry, I don't mean to hurt anyones feelings or offend anyone. Also my best estimate is roughly 80% of cigarette butts wind up in the street or on the sidewalk, I know first hand, I used to clean that sidewalk 5 or 6 mornings a week. I don't mean to come off as harsh or unsympathetic to your cause. And having intimate knowledge of the area you are talking about, the wind pattern is generally southerly, with the smoke from the coffee shop directly impacting the business to the south of the coffee shop. And the reason the dining area is not generally populated by non-smoking diners for more than 2 hours is, oh, I don't know, maybe, just maybe, I could be wrong..the smoking! Also, I have a huge problem with racism, but I am flabbergasted as to what connection racism has to do with this issue,try plugging the word discrimination in there instead of racism, more appropriate. I commend you for refraining from smoking around children and diners, but unfortunately you are in the minority. I am not advocating the banning of your "right" to smoke, go for it, the time has come though for the majority on this issue to be heard. You do know that the major cigarette companies have pretty much stopped marketing in the US, why, because societal awareness is becoming much more critical of the industry, laws are being passed restricting its use, smoking is on the decline in America, actually the decline in cigarette smoking is having unintended consequences for some states and municipalities, the decline in taxes collected from cigarette sales is in decline,but in my eyes that's good thing. And yes, it is difficult to quit, but not impossible, I did it through hypnosis, no kidding, it worked. I did the patch, cold turkey none of it worked until I tried the hypnosis, best 49.99 I ever spent. I find it commendable that you are speaking up for yourself, good for you, but in these times there are much bigger concerns out there that require our attention as concerned citizens.

    Rod Diener

  41. I think Jak makes a really good point though when he notes that the times people actually dine outdoors in the various establishments around town don't overlap, but don't always coincide with, the times people sit and smoke out there.

    Since it's a public health issue, and the main concern is that non-smokers will have to breathe other peoples' smoke, why is it not reasonable to simply let businesses choose where and when their customers can smoke, and let patrons choose which businesses to frequent based on that and based on whether they want to smoke or be in a smoke-free environment? When I hear "public health issue," I assume that meaning does not extend to the health of people who choose to smoke or be around smokers, since that's their right in a free society. It refers to the people who want an absolutely smoke-free place. So, let businesses become smoke-free if they choose!

    Certainly, if you're the only guy sitting outside beantown at 10 am, and no one is breathing your smoke, that's no longer a public health issue; so why should the police have an ability to ticket you for it? And isn't there a big difference between lunchtime at beantown and midnight at the pub, when there are no kids around and the majority present want to smoke cigars, pipes or cigarettes? Smokers lingering at beantown may not spend more money than other customers, but those lingering at the pub certainly do. Why can't we allow for an equal give and take, where there is a time and a place for people of both persuasions to enjoy what the town has to offer, rather than passing a blanket restriction?

  42. See! Now here's a person (Josh) that knows how to frame an argument and make a point. Good job! Let the free market decide, it's worked so well for America up to this point!

  43. If you want to do your school or job work how about the library. Many times I have gone into Beantown to buy food and there is no where to sit because all the tables are being used by computer folks with their one cup of cold coffee. No where to sit in or out. I leave and go else where. One old teacher parks there for hours correcting papers and taking up room. She can't possible be good for business.

  44. You can't smoke in the library, and do they have connection to access the internet? and How long had that person with the lone coffee cup had been sitting there? How many times had they filled their cup, paying $0.65 each time (that's only for the coffee, i'm not even going to BEGIN on specialty drinks)

    If the one lone teacher arrives at bean town at noon, and stays until seven, correcting papers, what are the odds that she DOESN"T buy something?

    and as far as no where to sit, tobacco smokers HAVE to sit outside, as to not pollute the inside with smoke, if there is no where to sit inside, you can't blame the smokers, you should blame the customers who stay inside to enjoy bean town, instead of eating and leaving as you people assume that smokers should do.

  45. re 9:27 Did I say a word about smokers? NO

  46. you don't have to, this is an issue about the dinning smoking ban in Sierra Madre. Stick to the topic.


    Anon. (9:57am)

  47. For Your Consideration: An Alternative Proposal


    In light of the proposed smoking ban to forbid smoking in patio dining areas in the business district of the City of Sierra Madre the organizers of, acting as representatives of the citizens and business patrons in Sierra Madre who oppose the proposed smoking ban, have drafted this document as an alternative to an outright ban on smoking in all patio dining areas to be presented to the Sierra Madre City Council in the hopes that it may be adopted as a partial ban on smoking in patio dining areas.

    Section 1. Proposal

    With respect to the fact that second-hand smoke is an irritant to pedestrians and patrons of businesses that have patio dining areas, and in response to the possibility that second-hand smoke may be a threat to the health of non-smokers in the vicinity of the second-hand smoke, it is proposed that private business owners have the right to ban smoking within ten feet of the boundaries of their patio dining areas, with enforcement and fines to be supported by the City of Sierra Madre; or that business owners may designate non-smoking sections in their patio dining areas, no less than ten feet away from the smoking section of said patio dining area, with enforcement and fines to be supported by the City of Sierra Madre.
    Section 2. Purpose

    The purpose of this partial smoking ban is to protect the rights of non-smokers to breathe smoke-free air, while at the same time protecting the rights of smokers to consume smoking tobacco products and the rights of business owners to choose whether or not to allow smoking on the premises of their business.
    Section 3. Definitions

    Patio Dining Area — the space on the sidewalks of Sierra Madre or behind a business that a business has placed tables/chairs to form an outdoor dining space.

    Smoking — possessing any kind of lit cigarette, pipe, cigar, or the consumption of any lit cigarette, pipe, cigar, tobacco product, or any other weed or plant.
    Section 4. Prohibitions of Smoking

    This proposal does not seek to alter or replace in any way any smoking prohibition already in place in the city of Sierra Madre.

    Under this proposal, smoking would be prohibited on or within ten feet of any patio dining area (or non-smoking section of said dining area) which the business owner has designated to be a non-smoking area by the posting of signs.

    Boundaries of such areas would be determined by the location and placement of outdoor dining furniture, with smokers not permitted to linger (but allowed to pass through) in such areas or within ten feet of the tables or chairs in that area.
    Section 5. Enforcement

    Business owners who wish to disallow or ban smoking on their premises shall be allowed to post signs on the borders of their business or patio dining area stating that the patio dining area or a section thereof is non-smoking and that violators will be fined and asked to leave the premises.

    Such signs would be highly contrasted with letters no less than an inch high and include the universal ?No Smoking? symbol that shows a lit cigarette in a red circle with a red bar across it. Such signs would also include the name of the business that has disallowed smoking, so that there would be no confusion about which business had affected the ban.

    With respect to businesses that share a border on patio dining areas, if one business should choose to ban smoking but a neighboring business should not, the business that had banned smoking would take precedence, and the neighboring business would not be allowed to have smokers within ten feet of the business that had disallowed smoking.

    No person shall knowingly loiter while smoking in any of the areas described in Section 4 of this document.

    A violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of no less than $100 and no more than $250 depending on the severity of the offense, the citation to be given by the Sierra Madre Police Department and payment to go to the City of Sierra Madre.

    It is the responsibility of business owners or their patrons to call the Sierra Madre Police Department in the event of a violation of posted non-smoking signs.

    This proposal is a rough statement drafted by the organizers of as representatives of citizens and business patrons of the City of Sierra Madre, and is open to clarification or refinement by the Sierra Madre City Council as an alternative to a complete ban on smoking in patio dining areas in the business district of the City of Sierra Madre.

  48. Take a look at this site, it's a hoot!!

  49. This was posted on the STSMSB Facebook site in favor of banning the ban...LMFAO!!!

    "Smoking bans DO hurt business. It's all about the demographic. In Chicago (where I'm originally from), 2 of my favorite places have closed because of the smoking ban. Why? They were hang outs for a bunch of rockers, many being from the working class. In L.A., there are less bars to work in now. If you want proof of ban damage, go to and look up the link about ban damage and closed businesses across N. America. When the anti-smoking brigade tells you that bans are not bad for business, they are lying. Plain and simple.

    Not to mention there are many unintended consequences that go along with all out smoking bans, such as social isolation, lost jobs and closures, depression, elderly folk getting evicted from their apartments, hate crimes, young men shot in gang-ridden neighborhoods (um, for standing out on a street corner instead of being inside a privately owned establishment), and most importantly, the loss of our freedom to associate with whom we choose."

    this is what counts as an argument?! REALLY!!LMFAO!!!!


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