Monday, December 04, 2006

Initiative To Repeal Anchorage Anti-Smoking Ordinance Qualifies For The April 2007 Ballot

The Anchorage Municipal Clerk has verified 7,200 signatures on petitions submitted by Stomp The Ban organizers Jason Dowell and Zack Keeton to put a repeal initiative on the April 2007 Municipal Election Ballot. A total of over 14,000 signatures were counted, far in excess of the minimum 7,086 necessary to get an initiative on the municipal ballot. The minimum number represents 10% of the total number of voters in the 2006 municipal election. Original story on KTVA Channel 11.

This means Anchorage voters will get the oppportunity to overturn the anti-smoking ordinance at the ballot box in April 2007. The Alaska Libertarian Party is assisting these efforts in order to overcome local resistance; early unofficial polls show that 60% of Anchorage residents support the anti-smoking ordinance. Groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, which formerly confined themselves to honest research and spreading awareness, have crossed the line and engaged in open politicking and arm-twisting nationwide to scare people into voting for these type of ordinances. Their partisan advocacy has actually stirred some anti-smoking fanatics to commit acts of violence against smokers and smoking advocates; On November 22nd, when organizers were handing over the petitions to the city clerk, the event was, in the words of one who was there, "interrupted by a loud and obnoxious liberal-Nazi protestor from the American Lung Association who accused us Libertarians of 'promoting death'. The guy lunged at [Alaska] LP Chairman Jason Dowell and shouted at him near the conclusion of the press conference. Afterwards, he wouldn't leave. Even after we called Security".

The anti-smoking ordinance currently in effect was passed by the Anchorage Assembly by an 8-3 margin on August 15th, 2006. Only Dan Sullivan, Debbie Ossiander, and Anna Fairclough (who was rewarded for her devotion to personal liberty by Eagle River voters with an authoritative victory over Karla Huntington in the House District 17 race) were courageous enough to vote against it. To make it more palatable, implementation was delayed until July 1st, 2007. It extended the previous ban to include local bars, restaurants and bingo halls, even though 200 such establishments had already gone voluntarily smoke-free and only 90 permitted smoking. But that wasn't good enough for the prohibitionists - like Roosevelt and Churchill in World War II, they demanded "unconditional surrender" (which in that case was estimated to have prolonged WWII by up to two years).

Stomp The Ban organizers aren't necessarily "pro-smoking". Zach Keeton stated "It's not about smoking, it's about property rights, it's about a business owner's right to choose how they want to run their business. And that's awesome, when people in the community start to grab the concept that, 'No, this isn't really a smoking issue'".

And that's exactly what the public needs to be focusing on. With private property being stolen through eminent domain seizures nationwide, and the increasing use of asset forfeiture as a routine substitute for responsible law enforcement rather than a sparingly-used adjunct to punish deliberate and chronic abuse of a commodity, in which continued possession of the commodity would pose a continuing threat to the community, it's time we resisted any further incursions against the lawful use of private property.

And while it will clearly be an uphill battle, it is NOT "Mission Impossible". According to The Smokers Club website, during the month of November alone, proposed anti-smoking ordinances failed in Peoria, IL; Orland Hill, IL; Towanda, IL; Park City, IL; Hobart, IN; and Richland County, SC. We CAN fight back!

I coninue to recommend Dr. Michael Siegel's blog as a good source of objective information about the real impact of so-called "second-hand smoke". In his latest post, however, Dr. Siegel describes a chilling account of what these anti-smoking pogroms can lead to:

According to a press release issued last week by the national anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a potential adoptive couple has been denied the possibility of adopting a child because the would-be-father is a smoker, even though he states that he never smokes indoors and would not smoke in the presence of the child.

According to ASH: "A heartbroken couple has been told they cannot adopt a child because he smokes, even though he [the father]says he never smokes indoors. Indeed, the prohibition stands until he quits smoking for six months and provides medical documentation that he is no longer a smoker.

"The press release does not merely report this news, however. It actively supports the decision to deny potential adoptive parenthood to this couple based solely on the fact that the man is a smoker.
So even if he quits smoking, his word is not good enough. He must supply "medical documentation" proving his innocence. This thinking reflects the Soviet premise of "guilty until proven innocent" rather than the American premise of "innocent until proven guilty". Can there be any further doubt that America is now a Communist country (even if it is right-wing Communism)? After all, the neocons who rule this country trace their political ancestry back to Lev Bronstein (better known as Leon Trotsky).

The Alaska Libertarian Party is growing up - they've graduated from fringe issues like teenage curfews and draft registration to mainstream issues like protection of private property rights. They even [gasp!] elected someone, Sara Chambers to the Juneau City Council. The libertarians are not a bunch of anarchist free-love potheads. They stand for maximum personal liberty with maximum personal responsibility. They deserve our support on this issue.

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Smoking IS the right of the smoker - he/she can smoke all they want. When they put the health of another in risk, then it becomes a public health issue, and that's when you need to put your own convieniences aside, think about the person next to you who doesn't want to smoke, and smoke your cigarette somewhere where you wont be harming others.

  2. Most smokers do just that.Contrary to popular belief we arent out to hurt
    disenfranchise or irritate others.We are simply sick and tired of the nazi style
    terrorist tactics being lobbed at us by the radical
    anti smoking cartel.This isnt just about tobbaco or smoking.It boils down to one thing.Who is running your life you or a group of
    would be dictators.The reason I say would be dictators is that they havent quite beeen able to suceed.Fortunately.If they do here is what will happen.
    Tobacco will become a hot commodity on the black market and a major funding source for terrorists.The ramifications are too long to explain in the area of this post.You however see what Im getting at here readers.Once again groups in the name of protecting citizens have endangered them far further than they would have ever been by smokers even the most die hard one.