The Lexington Herald-Leader decided it needed to weigh-in on the proposed smoking ban in Northern Kentucky. It was the pretty typical stuff. So, I punched out a response. (If you want more information, check out www.nkychoice.com) Here is the response.
To the Editor,
I was surprised to see that the Lexington Herald-Leader, whose delivery and general readership do not reach the Northern Kentucky area, felt it necessary to weigh in on a local smoking ban proposal. Perhaps it should not have been a shock, since the majority of those who speak in favor of the proposed Northern Kentucky smoking ban aren’t even from up here – they generally hail from Ohio, Louisville, and Lexington.
As a lifelong resident of the area, I’d like to point out that we’re different. We still cherish property rights. We revere in the free market. We reject unnecessary government intrusion. We value liberty and freedom – even to voluntarily harm ourselves through smoking, eating, or consuming other legal substances.
Or, to put it simply: we outright reject the progressive agenda.
Certainly, we could ignore the mountain of statistics that don’t fit the agenda. Thalheimer showed the shift in alcohol sales in Lexington, in the wake of the smoking ban. Adams and Cotti showed the increase in DUI fatalities in areas that passed a local smoking ban, including Lexington.
We could omit that Northern Kentucky is already mostly smoke-free: Restaurants are already over 70% smoke-free by choice, up from 66% only 2 years ago, and 0% just 16 years ago; smoke-free bars are the latest trend with at least 10 smoke-free bars coming about in just the past year; and almost every non-hospitality business has gone smoke-free by choice.
We could overlook the significant documented cost of lack-luster enforcement for our neighbors to the north, who have lost at least two million dollars in just 3 years, not including the uncalculated additional burden on the court system, while “smoke-easies” are still quite prolific over there.
We could disregard that on any given night, the percentage of vehicles parked in Covington’s Mainstrasse Village District from Ohio varies between 20% and 50%, bringing outside dollars into Northern Kentucky from places that are up to 30 miles into Ohio.
We could choose to ignore the seemingly-daily reminders of the continuing slippery-slope in the wake of smoking bans elsewhere in the country; trans-fat bans, salt bans, soda taxes, and Happy Meal bans -- and of course, we could forget to mention the ridiculous outdoor bans pushed by the head smoking nanny in Lexington.
We could glance over the minor detail that those of us who stand against the proposed ban do so on principle, and haven’t received a single dime of outside funding; whereas by contrast those in favor of a ban have received grants from companies that sell smoking cessation treatments, and from Obama stimulus funds and other taxpayer-funded sources.
We could remain ignorant of the legal process, the real effect of the very narrow ruling in the Supreme Court case cited by the H-L, and how there are many more legal facets to explore.
We could forget that the incoming Fiscal Court in Campbell County will, if passed in December, overturn the proposed ban in January anyway, therefore only creating a temporarily-chaotic business environment, which will contribute to continued uncertainty and potentially cause higher unemployment.
Or, we could just blatantly deny the most simple of facts: No one is forced to enter a smoking establishment in Northern Kentucky.
Instead, I’d like to invite the readers of the H-L to come up to Northern Kentucky and patronize a restaurant with a cuisine, level of service, and environment of their liking. Judge the choices in Northern Kentucky for yourself. Up here, consumers still have a choice.
Ken C. Moellman, Jr.
Spokesperson, Northern Kentucky Choice
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Kentucky
Member, Northern Kentucky Tea Party