Wednesday, March 14, 2007

City of Spring Lake Park MN. takes stand against proposed statewide smoking ban

By Sarah Moran, Star Tribune
Last update: March 13, 2007 – 3:26 PM

Just when momentum for a statewide smoking ban is building, the city of Spring Lake Park passed a resolution opposing a ban.

To the delight of some and the embarrassment of others, the City Council last week voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution that said the city "is opposed to a statewide smoking ban without exceptions recognizing the personal and property rights of all individuals."

Mayor Bob Nelson and City Council members Jeanne Mason, Bill Loesch and Dale Dahl voted for the resolution.

"This is a small city, with about 7,000 people. If we lose a couple bars, we have to transfer that to the taxpayers," Nelson said. "We don't have any way to recoup money like that. If we lose a business, we have to raise property taxes."I'm an auxiliary member at the VFW -- they go all over the world to fight for freedom and they come back and can't even have a cigarette in their own club," he said.

Steve Ramstdorf, manager of Monte's Sports Bar in Spring Lake Park, is pleased.
"It's about time a city steps up and says, 'No, we're not in favor of this,' and it's kind of nice to know our city backs us on this," he said. "It seems like cities are just falling all over the smoking ban without understanding it."

Barbara Carlson, the one council member who opposed the resolution, said she is embarrassed by the city's decision. She said she understands that some people are concerned about the effect it would have on businesses but she thinks that would work itself out over time.

Carlson said Dulono's Pizza in Minneapolis, where she goes to hear bluegrass music, seems to have had more customers since the smoking ban took effect in Hennepin County.

"It's so enjoyable to go and not smell like smoke, so you stay longer," she said. "And [smoke] takes away from the taste of food."

She acknowledged that Anoka County establishments might lose customers under a statewide ban after having gained some in response to Hennepin County's ban. Spring Lake Park has three bars and not a lot of other commercial businesses, she said.

It's great to see local government taking a stand against the pharmaceutical nicotine special interest groups whose real motive for lobbying in favor of smoking bans is to increase corporate pharmaceutical profits.

While Barbara Carlson points out that the true motive for public and lawmaker support of smoking bans is:

"'s so enjoyable to go and not smell like smoke...."

Not a justifiable reason however, to eliminate jobs and businesses here in Minnesota or elsewhere:

(Hat tip to former MN Candidate for Governor Sue Jeffers for bringing us this story)

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