So let me get this straight, there is now a new campaign on the march in this town, and it involves getting kids together to fight for a great cause? Apparently so, and right on, man! So they're organizing to help stop the war in Iraq, right? Bring peace to the Middle East? Get the troops back home? No? Oh, OK. So they're attacking racism in the hopes that we can live in freedom and equality, right? Not that either? Hmm. Oh, I know. They're forming groups that will stop the clear-cutting of our last remaining old growth forests? Not that either? So what is this cause?!?
Well, I'm afraid for that one you're just going to have to go to the "Stop The Smoking Ban -Bad for Business - Bad for Sierra Madre" website on Facebook. Are you familiar with Facebook? It is a site for kids looking to find other like-minded kids to hang out with, and originally was only available to college students. Later it was open to a more general public, though it is still very much a youth oriented affair.
So here is what these Sierra Madre Smokers have to say on Facebook about the topic of their woe:
The Sierra Madre City Council is proposing an ordinance to prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas. The Council is of the opinion that outdoor exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS, or second-hand smoke) is directly responsible for putting non-smokers at risk for respiratory problems and disease.
What the Council doesn't want to admit is that no reputable studies exist that demonstrate health risks associated with exposure 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.
Umm, got any cites to back up that bucket of baloney, Marlboro Man? Because I have 3 cites here that would contest your claims, and all are far more recent than that "15 years ago" figure you're throwing around. And from world class medical organizations and not the "EPA." Click on any of them. And there are lots more where these came from.
The Marlboro Man continues:
Smokers don't like being defamed, being insulted, being called "addicts" or "junkies," being sent out in the cold and rain, or away from the building to smoke, having children taught to hate and fear us, being called "ignorant, selfish child abusers" or even worse, vilified as "murderers" with regards to second-hand smoke.
Good Lord, who writes this stuff? And did they take advanced diet medication shortly before doing so? I mean, are these people actually attempting to equate their tobacco smoking plight with what happened to oppressed minorities back in the bad old days? Are we actually talking victim culture here?
Let's see, now what else does this site reveal? There is a claim that the site has 92 members, which seems like a lot. Ah! But 70 haven't replied, which means that the vast majority of the names on here are from those folks who try and get their mugs on every site in the Facebook universe.
But there are some prominent local family names included here as well. Spigai-Perez, Brandley, and Lambdin? (To access the members list you will need to set up a Facebook account.)
Uh oh. Can it actually be that members of families prominent in the fight to defeat Measure V and open Sierra Madre up to the Great California Condo Invasion are now actively working to encourage kids in their nascent tobacco addictions? Or even more bizarre, are they actually attempting to organize youthful cigarette smokers to fight City Hall? And for what purpose? I mean, it can't be for the utterly stupid reasons that they're talking about here, can it? What is this, 1975?
It appears that there is also a website, which can be accessed here. Allow me to share a quote or two:
The Sierra Madre City council wants to take away your rights! We are building a grassroots coalition of smokers and non-smokers committed to stopping Sierra Madre's proposed outdoor dining area smoking ban. Nonsmokers have a safe haven indoors, yet many still want to restrict those who choose to smoke from doing so outdoors ... Stand with us in solidarity and let the city council know that we won't allow them to label us as criminals.
All the kiddy manipulation aside, what cause could be less popular in this or any other town than that of folks who stand around the fronts of restaurants and coffee shops smoking cigarettes? Outdoor brown bag wine enthusiasts? Litter bugs? People who use leaf blowers at 7 o'clock in the morning?
You just have to ask. What are these people drinking?