6.27.2005

Smoking Ban: An Angler's Perspective

The fish weren't biting for me tonight as the sun set over Picnic Point. The pier off the Limnology Lab is a great spot to be on a summer evening regardless. Plus, it's not far from the Terrace...

Otherwise, the State Senate may soon take up the State Budget. We'll see what Diamond Jim does with the most powerful veto pen of any state in the union...

When that's done, it's on to issues like the Smokefree Dining Act. The legislation pits two key interests of mine against one another: A. Smoking bans in private establishments are government encroachments, and therefore wrong. B. Banning smoking bans at the municipal level is yet another state mandate that runs contrary to local control, something conservatives, I thought, generally support.

Ultimately, I don't know if I would support the legislation. Smoking bans are silly - especially for quintessentially smoky hangouts like The Silver Dollar and The Plaza. For me, it's a given. Historically, bar=smoke. It is a personal choice to frequent a tavern or restaurant. Nobody is forcing you to pass a boot or eat deep fried cheese curds. Well, most of the time, anyway.

I guess I would let local governments enact bans - and feel the resulting backlash. Ultimately, if there are enough people disgusted with smoking in bars - and they actually act on their whining and complaining and stay out of the establishments - change will occur. Some entrepreneur will exploit the niche audience. Smoke-free bars will come about on their own. If they do not, people's concern for personal health has not risen to a level that would justify government intervention. Alas, I guess we'll never know in Mad-Town.

In the effort to take back Madison, this foolish attack on basic property rights and traditional lifestyles - almost as bad as Kelo - is yet another way to stoke the embers.