The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

July 18, 2013

Reader: Make positive changes for all

I feel the need to answer Leslie Mussmann’s letter to the editor that was published in the July 4 Clinton Herald since I am the person who wrote the letter to the editor that she mentioned.

I never accused her group of being some big government lobby group that rammed legislation down anyone’s throat. The City Council is taking that role by passing the ban on smoking. I get the feeling she thinks this is a personal attack on Jennifer Gerdes and the Breathe Easy Coalition. I wonder if she and the City Council realize banning smoking in one more place is a personal attack on a minority group, smokers.

The June 7 article in the Herald states the Breathe Easy Coalition conducted a surveys on this and other possible bans they would like to see happen. I ask, does your survey meet the Code of Professional Ethics and Practices as prescribed by the American Association for Public Opinion Research? The paper stated 75 percent of the people polled had children. Looking at the census for Clinton — it shows 35 percent of the households do not have children. Your pool of people surveyed is a little lopsided. Of that 75 percent how many were smokers? Were your results independently verified?

Mussmann mentioned getting the facts straight. Here are some for her. There have been outdoor smoking bans enacted by local municipalities that have been overturned by state Supreme Courts in Kentucky (Herchley v. Barbourville) and in our neighboring state of Illinois, ruling number 9136. Those rulings have stood for years not ever being reversed by a higher court. Even present-day North Carolina is passing a bill reversing outdoor bans enacted by municipalities. New York state had to lift its ban at parks, beaches and other areas due to legal challenges. Our City Council should look into this before they have to spend taxpayer dollars to defend this ban. Our tax money needs to go for higher-priority issues. Maybe we can ask the Breathe Easy Coalition to pay the legal bills since they are so proud they raised the money for signage.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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