Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Committee to consider smoking ban

The Public Safety Commission will vote Thursday on whether to send a proposed smoking ban Thursday to the full city council in Milwaukee.

Having lived on the east coast for a time, I can vouch for Milwaukee being more of a smoking town than DC was. Some bars and restaurants in Milwaukee are better than others at providing good ventilation systems to filter out cigarette smoke. If customers don't think a particular place is creating a welcoming environment for non-smokers, they should let the management know and then patronize another place more to their liking. That's a better solution than a blanket rule affecting only businesses in the city proper.

Many restaurants have moved to entirely non-smoking, but the market has been slow in Milwaukee to have smoke-free bars. The fact that this is an issue should send a signal to developers and investors that a market exists for more of those kinds of places. One in particular that has been successful is Ardor Pub & Grill in downtown Milwaukee. They serve great food and drinks and are 100% smoke free.

After the committee votes on the proposal tomorrow, the full council would vote March 21st on whether to send it on for Mayor Tom Barrett's signature.

UPDATE: The committee kicked the issue down the road, and won't take it up before at least March 30.


At 3/02/2006 12:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would Landmark Lanes be like without all the smoke? The dank is what makes that place.

I'm not a smoker, but don't believe in these bans. Don't go someplace if you don't like the smoke. Pretty simple. Lots of things are harmful to you...driving to the store, etc....but don't need to be made illegal.


At 3/02/2006 01:28:00 PM, Anonymous Ben said...

I think it's a little heavy-handed too.

But the problem is the service industry has a thin profit margin, most establishments failing in the first few years. Saying market forces will take care of the issue doesn't consider that it would require an establishment to essentially halve their clientele.

Furthermore, this is a city trying to appeal to national and international business. I have a good deal of contact with business travelers from out of state who are appalled by smoky public conditions.

And lastly, it is a toxic pollutant, which makes it a public health issue. What Libertarians fail to see is that every society in recorded history, back to Jericho and beyond, has had some sort of organized leadership. Libertarianism sees government as unnatural when it is obviously a very natural part of any society. Legislation like this, being a public health issue, is a society exercising self-preservation.

Smoking may not be crack. But is addictive, deadly, and asocial.

At 3/02/2006 03:09:00 PM, Blogger cambridgeJason said...

I’m not a huge fan of the “don’t like it, too bad” type of attitude that exists in the anti-smoking-ban camp. That sort of narrow provincial thinking has been applied to virtually every political argument in history yet has never achieved a meaningful resolution.

Reflecting back on Milwaukee’s proud progressive past, in terms of public health and safety, I find it a bit distressing to hear contemporary progressives thwarting such issues for, dare I say, their own self-interests. In any other situation, you wouldn’t expect workers and the general public to be exposed to harmful toxins. Why should bars and restaurants be excluded from the same public health policy? In today’s tough job market, it would be wishing thinking to tell these workers that if they don’t like it, they should find another job.

The “coolness” factor of smoke-filled bars is so 1925, anyway.


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