August 19, 2002

BLOOMIE BLOWS SMOKE: Until recently,

BLOOMIE BLOWS SMOKE: Until recently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure was marked by a general tendency to not piss people off. A Democrat-turned-Republican and notable non-ideologue, Bloomberg main achievements (like gaining control of the schools, balancing the city budget and agreeing to a labor contract with the teachers' union) were things that would have happened under Rudy Giuiliani's watch had Rudy's numerous enemies not prevented them. However, Bloomberg's heavy budget cuts have been widely unpopular among just about everyone whose budgets he cut (basically, every city agency), and now he's angered the city's smokers with a new anti-smoking intiative which will not only raise taxes on smokes, but also ban cigarettes from all bars and restaurants.
Now as a lifelong non-smoker (except for the occasional cigar), I can't say I'm that upset about such laws, although I do draw the line at banning smoking in bars- isn't the reason smokers go to bars in the first place because they're not allowed to light up anywhere else? The big argument in favor of the legislation is that waiters and bartenders will therefore be shielded from second-hand smoke, but I don't buy that for a couple of reasons: There's still not a shred of proof that anyone has ever died from second-hand smoke and besides- don't bar employees know what they're getting into when they go to work in a bar? They're like that secretary who went to work for (and later sued) Al Goldstein and was shocked (shocked!) to find pornographic material in the office.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 19, 2002 08:19 PM
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