Councilmen weigh in on smoking repeal's veto

Elkhart’s Clean Air Ordinance, banning smoking in public places, has been vetoed by Mayor Tim Neese.

ELKHART – Elkhart's smoking ban will stand after a veto by Mayor Tim Neese of an unexpected repeal by city council last week.

Neese announced Tuesday he will reverse council's Jan. 22 vote to repeal the Clean Air Ordinance. City council voted 5-4 to repeal the 2008 ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and public places in its entirety after Lerner Theatre Manager David Smith sought only an amendment to allow some acts to smoke onstage.

(47) comments

fire111

Please tell why any local or state government should have access to Federal dollars when their government refuses to aid Federal officers in their rightful duties!

RickVerde

So, Ron smoked his cigar anyway. Good for him ! Laws that aren’t enforced are not really laws, just feel good stuff. The council needs to override the mayor and send this infringement upon private property up in smoke !!!

bettermethanyou

So he smoked, he should have the amount of the fine that would charged to any other citizen in this city, and I hope the Lehrner will consider him persona non grata in the future. In this society, RickV, we don't get to choose what laws we will follow and which ones we won't. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

common sense

"We don't get to choose what laws we will follow and which one's we won't." Too bad everyone doesn't feel that way. See Immigration laws.

RickVerde

Yeah right, just like scantuary cities and the state of California flipping their noses and ignoring laws they don’t like.

bettermethanyou

Those immigration laws are being enforced......now.

common sense

Not everywhere. There are a lot of people including the Mayor of Goshen who have chosen to not enforce them and aid those who have broken them.

Leeet

See Immigration laws.........see also TAX LAWS. see also LABOR LAWS.........WWJD

biker1

Public smoking laws are the most un-American of all laws. I fail to see how a law against doing something that is perfectly legal involving a legal product can be deemed "illegal." I'm a non-smoker and would suggest, if smoking is as bad as the zealots say, OUTLAW all tobacco products. But since we're not willing to do that we should allow Americans to choose whether or not they go places where smoking is allowed. It's not the government's decision to make.

common sense

They will not outlaw smoking because they won't give up the tax revenue.

Tiny Tim

Just like the City ID's, the smoking ban is a "Duplicate Service" to legislation on the books with one exception, it steps on the rights of business owners and goes beyond protecting one's health. We all know how Neese feels about duplicate services, he doesn't like them, oh wait he does, oh wait he doesn't. Did anyone else see all the letters of special interest sent to the mayor asking him to veto this. Bet there are campaign checks written soon. I am not saying he is a sell out, I am typing it!!

bettermethanyou

Tiny tim, Maybe you'd like to live in some areas of Colorado where smoking outside is illegal, even in your own yard.

biker1

Excellent points.

DHenke

The real story should be that the Elkhart City Council was asked for an exception to the Elkhart law yet would still be in violation of State law which the Council has not authority. The Council had no option to correct this request and the request was not legal. The State Law is the prevailing law unless the City provides a more restricting law. It cannot have a less restrictive and city elected persons cannot provide exceptions to State law.

MichaelFort

"There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,"
---------------------------------------------------------------
Horsefeathers

bettermethanyou

MichaelFort, Virtually every study ever done on second hand smoke comes to the conclusion that while it isn't more dangerous than first hand smoke, it is JUST as dangerous are first hand smoke.

biker1

The last studies I saw show there is no proof of danger from second hand smoke.

Joe King

The studies from the tobacco companies also agree with you....

DHenke

No matter which side of the argument you are on a law is not law if exceptions by the government can be made that wrote the law. If the City makes exceptions it cannot enforce the same law on it's citizens and the law becomes pointless. The reversal of Elkhart City Clean Air Law does not leave us lawless but evokes the State Law that still does not permit smoking in public places or within 8 foot of a public door way. It does however allow smoking in places where only 21 year old and older people can go and IF the owner permits it. Most places in Elkhart will not go back to smoking however the law must be consistent. Making exceptions is what the Council reacted to. When exceptions for Ron White are made the City is saying an actor has more rights and power than the business owner. We disagree. Everyone must stand for the law or there is no law.

common sense

This is correct. It is also interesting that many of the same people who say you have to obey the law also choose to disregard the immigration laws. They like to pick and choose. If there is a law I don't like, I will work to elect people who will change it. That's how our country is supposed to work. Many of the people wetting their pants over illegal aliens being possibly deported did nothing legislatively when they were in charge.

bettermethanyou

That are a lot or arguements that say a business owner should be able to do what he or she wants, what's most interesting to me is that they are the very same people who argued AGAINST the bakery owner deciding not to provide a service for a gay wedding. While some would say that this is the perfect example of Situational Ethics in prectice, I prefer to call it what it is......HYPOCRISY.

Mayor Neese, please refuse the Lerhner's request for a variance for these shows because there is NEVER a need to smoke.

common sense

Disagree. Most of the people who say the business owner should be able to decide were the same one's saying the bakery owner should be able to decide whether they wanted to bake for the gay wedding. Any person who doesn't want to be exposed to smoke can choose to not attend any place it is allowed. Why do their rights trump the rights of the business owner? They shouldn't.

Louise Baker

You got THAT right!!

bettermethanyou

Why should I be denied the opportunity to eat where I want because a minority of folks want to participate in an activity that not only kills themselves (there are cheaper ways to commit suicide) but myself and my family too if we're exposed to your stupid behavior? Don't forget, the ATF was formed, in part, to keep tobacco and alcohol legal because if the FDA oversaw these items they would be illegal.

We ban leaf burning because less than 8% of the population suffers from asthma. We require a photo ID to buy OTC cold medicine because the vast minority of people participate in behavior that WILL kill them. We require lids that need wrenches to open them on OTC medicines because 30+ years ago ONE person in Chicago thought it would be fun to poison some Tylenol. We not only require that each driver be covered by auto insurance but that I pay for someone elses stupidity as well. I don't see how a law promoting good health is a bad thing.

common sense

Better. You have the right to choose to eat anywhere you want. It's just that you shouldn't have more rights than the business owner who is the one taking the economic risk to run a business. What I don't understand is the mentality that says "If I don't like something, I want it banned for everyone". How about "If I don't like something I just won't do it". Do you also want the right to choose what's on the menu or how much they charge?

RickVerde

Well said common sense !!! @ betterme or whoever you are calling yourself, what gives you the right to even think your rights/beliefs trump mine ? You are still free to not go in there.

bettermethanyou

Rick and Common, I think my rights are superior? What about you believing that you should have the right to blow second hand smoke in my face? Isn't that you thinking your rights trump mine? What if that business owner wants to ban blacks because he thinks they are inferior to whites? Would that be okay with you?

common sense

No that would not be OK with me but If that business owner is that stupid and wants to go out of business I say go ahead! I don't believe we can legislate morality. Part of living in this country and being free is the freedom to make your own decisions and you reap the consequences. I don't believe I have the right to blow second hand smoke in your face, that's why you are completely free to not go in a place that allows smoking. Why do you think you have the right to go into a place of business and tell the owner how they should run their business?

bettermethanyou

Common so you believe that there are laws that should be enforced on business owners, just not this anti-smoking one. Let me help you a bit, laws don't work that way, you don't get to choose which laws are good and which ones are bad, unless you are in a position to make that decision. We used to live in a society where people were conscious of others around them, I remember being asked by a gentleman sitting next to me at Wrigley Field back in the 80's if I cared if he smoked. When I replied that I did, he did not smoke. I remember a time, not so long ago really, when you turned on your turn signal to change lanes on the highway, the person in the other lane would slow and "let you in" but those days are long gone. In recent years our laws have been written in an attempt to legislate a morality that was removed from our classrooms many years ago, and that is necessary because of folks like you who can't see anything that exists beyond their own personal space. Laws are the price we pay for on organized society, and we used to need a lot fewer than we did.

common sense

Better, you are completely not understanding my views. I would never advocate not following the laws, in fact I'm usually the one on this forum saying you can't pick and choose which ones you want to follow. I do believe that anti-smoking laws are stupid though. It is pretty hypocritical to say something is legal and collect tax Money off of it and yet tell private business owners they can't do it in their establishment. But, if that's the current law it should be followed. If you don't like a law, work to get it changed through the legislative process. That's how the country is supposed to work. Personally, I do not smoke and don't like to be around it, I wouldn't care of the law banned it completely. I will agree with you though that times have changed and unfortunately people are not as considerate to one another as they used to be. However the other thing that has changed over my lifetime that is just as bad is the mentality that many people have just as you do about smoking. It used to be that if a person didn't like something, they just didn't do it and stayed away from places where it was occurring. Today, there are too many who feel "If I don't like something, it should be banned for everyone".

Joe King

good decision mr mayor. No need to go back in time like the rest of the GOP ideology... The Lerner just needs a special variance to allow performers and acts if their show requires it... and maybe a special smoke filter too...deduct that from the act...perhaps they may rethink...Even the performer who played Mark Twain a few years back had a cigar, but didn't light it....just for show...

sidearm

GOP ideology? Is everything right vs left with you? Smoke smells foul on anybody despite their politics and cancer affects us all equally.

Joe King

The current administration is rolling back EPA rules against clean air and now clean water....very relevant...not a left or right....but right or wrong

RickVerde

I feel that our public overlords should be able to say yes or no to smoking in public taxpayer supported buildings, but not on private property, that is overreach ! If I choose to allow smoking on my property, that is MY business and MY business alone. If you don’t like it, then you are free to go somewhere else !!

Leeet

check your definition there rv, a business open to the public is not legally 'private'. If a crime happens at a business establishment, can the owner say, "This is my property, do not charge the person for a crime" ? Run a private 'club' not open to everyone and you may have an argument.....

RickVerde

Nothing wrong with my definitions, it’s still privately owned, and no one is forcing you to come inside. You PC types have got away with this for too long !

biker1

You can always count on Mayor Neese to do the "politically correct" thing. He's a political animal whose primary concern is pleasing the most people (or those that yell the loudest) to increase his re-election chances.

correction

I believe we call this a pawn

Leeet

after the last two weeks, the Mayor is looking better, he is making decisions for the people he represents, not his party bosses.......

correction

You forget about the several letters from big corps urging him to VETO.......

Oldguy

I commend the Mayor and not the council. Why would they even consider doing this? All because a comedian, (Ron White), wants to smoke a cigar on stage at the Lerner.
Because of this the council votes to drop the entire ordinance?
It is so nice to be able to go into a restaurant and not have smoke drift across the room. Not to leave a business and have your clothes smell. Why would the City Council even think that the majority of people would want to bring back smoking?
I think it is about time we replace some Council members.

MaxHeadroom

Yes, let's not allow people who open businesses to decide rules and regulations for themselves. Let's dictate the terms of how they operate! No I am not a smoker!

common sense

I am not a smoker and I would not go into a restaurant where there is smoking. That is my right as a consumer. However the owner of the business should decide. If it costs them business, so be it but it should be their business decision. Another freedom gone the way of political correctness. If you don't want to be around smoke, don't go in there.

mjeromejohnson

City with a heart...and lungs, too.

jimbeam

Thank you! Smoking is good for nothing except making people skinnier.

FlyNavy

I'm liking this Mayor more each day! Well done.

biker1

You are probably one of those people who think the smoking age should be increased to 21. Thankfully, the state legislature came to its senses and nixed this turkey of a bill.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.