The Clinton Herald
---- — Will this city ever get their priorities straight?
Here they are going off on a no-smoking ban when they can’t even get garbage collection straight. Look at that fiasco. We spent all sorts of money to buy new collection cans and garbage trucks because it was going to be so good for the city and save us money.
We all know how well that went.
They couldn’t even get the right cans to the right address or keep records of what went where. Now we are talking of having to contract out refuse services. Then we have this magnificent new sewer plant that they keep raising our sewer rates to pay for. Then the problems the city had going to monthly billing for sewer bills. Let’s not forget the $4.5 million I believe we are paying for the ambulance overcharging issue. The city council and Mayor need to open their eyes or maybe they need a Leroy Jethro Gibbs (character on NCIS) head slap to wake them up and get to work fixing real problems in this town. Instead they choose to go after the county reported 28 percent adult smokers to keep them away from their children’s and grandchildren’s activities.
I wonder what ever happened to common sense. I am a smoker, a grandparent, and a coach for my grandson. When I go to an outdoor event for one of my grandchildren I walk away from others to smoke, I don’t smoke around kids when I am coaching. But I am pretty sure my cigarette puts out less pollution than any smoke stack of the industries we have here in town. That, and being outdoors, I believe is a good compromise. I think our state legislatures thought so also referring to only eliminating outdoor smoking to grandstands and seating areas of such events in the Iowa Clean Air Act.
But instead this city is listening to a survey provided by the Breathe Easy Coalition of Clinton and Jackson counties. That survey shows 82 percent of the people want tobacco free (mind you, not smoke free) sporting complexes. Well the only thing I think of surveys is something I heard a long time ago. “Figures don’t lie but liars figure”.
You ask the right people you get the answers you want. Then there is the quote from Jennifer Gerdes, the Coalition’s coordinator, “we’re using the Iowa Smoke free Air Act and taking it one step further.” I wonder about people that think they can take the law further than it states. There is a loophole in the Iowa Clean Air Act (section 5 of 142D subsection 1), that reads. “Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter to the contrary an owner, an operator, manager, or other person having custody or control of an area otherwise exempt from the prohibitions of section 142D.3 may declare an entire area as a non-smoking place. I didn’t see anywhere in the law that says tobacco free. I wrote a letter to the editor in 2008 “Will RBD (Riverboat Days) Lose Attendance?” when they used that same section of the law to try to ban smoking on all of the RBD grounds. We all know where RBD is now. It’s gone due lack of attendance.
Maybe the reported 28 percent of us adult smokers should move out of town so the city can keep raising rates on the other 72 percent instead of coming up with solutions. Just remember one thing: it is easy to pass health laws and ordinances against a minority like smokers. Think of the unhealthy things you may like. Things like fast food, soda pop, the occasional chocolate bar. Someday they may go after those once the smokers are crushed.
So tell the city council to get their act together, get their priorities straight. Fix real problems with our tax money they earn attending council meetings, not create more financial liability for taxpayers by trying to pass ordinances that go one step further.
Richard H. Eggers,