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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The great smoke-out

Kevin Leininger points out a definitions problem with the city's new anti-smoking ordinance:

Romantic candlelight dinners could be a thing of the past. Wood-burning or gas fireplaces, too, along with any kind of food cooked over charcoal or an open flame.

City Council may not have intended to outlaw cherries jubilee and smoked ribs, but they have. That would be my argument, at least, if I was earning $200 an hour to challenge government's latest effort to protect us from ourselves.

Where the law is concerned, definitions are key


Bob G.
Mon, 03/26/2007 - 5:29am

Ah Gezzus...there goes my Satai Beef entree at the local Chinese Pagoda....



Steve Towsley
Mon, 03/26/2007 - 4:00pm

The Gas House is in big trouble....

Actually, the main problem with the wording in not that anybody fails to understand the intent, it's that the technicality might give some extremely frustrated nicotine addicts an excuse to nurse a long term resentment and mount a legal challenge based on nothing more than a trumped up claim of ambiguity.

If you hope to get a vocal group of protesters used to a new law, it helps, in terms of the intangibles, to dot the i's and cross the t's.

If I were advising Schmidt and Crawford, I would counsel them to make the effort. You might not have to change the language of the law at all if the title or summary paragraph of the law makes clear that its scope is limited to discussion of what reasonable people understand as smoking, and the combustibles used by individual smokers when they indulge in the practice in the prohibited places.

Whatever is done to debunk a campaign of "willful and intentional misunderstanding" of the law by its detractors should be done as soon as possible and nip the notion in the bud. In my humble opinion.

Mon, 03/26/2007 - 4:43pm

So I suppose that pocket bongs, and 1 hitters in the bathrooms are definitely out of the question too? If you're "smokin'in the boys room", call the fire department. then call the PD. At least if theyre running all over fort wayne "putting out brush fires", then maybe they'll be too busy to arrest all the drivers that are .081 . Or maybe we need to hire a few dozen cops and firemen's sons and daughters to police the "smoke-out". Or smok'in!

So go ahead- smoke anything youwant- just dont get caught, and please be courteous of your fellow citizens- pass that joint to them too. and remember- second hand dope smoke does show up on your random "whiz quizz", so dont inhale..

Steve Towsley
Mon, 03/26/2007 - 6:46pm

Surreptitious smokin' will quickly fall out of fashion once the establishments in which the illegal activity occured get hit with some damaging fines.

Your favorite hangout will have to become a non-profit organization in order to champion the cause of the rugged individualist lawbreaker.

This isn't going to be about clubs fighting to their death for the views of their smoking customers. It's very quickly going to be about clubs asking defiant smokers to leave, and do their smoking protests on sidewalks, not on their premises.