Mayor William Euille and the City Council and the people they have appointed to boards to decide what is best for the people of Alexandria and Virginia are misleading the public about the research facts on second hand smoke.
It has not been proven to kill people (or infants, dogs, insects, or anything else) and research is not conclusive on the degree to which it causes long-term health problems.
The mayor and council are using their personal beliefs to go against Commonwealth law (i.e., Code of Virginia, Title 15.2 and the Dillion Rule) to ban smoking from current designated smoking areas and want to extend the smoking ban to city streets and sidewalks and smoking sections in restaurants.
Eric Wagner, an appointed city official, told the public against the smoking ban on May 1 that people think they have rights that they dont.
John Komoroske said this of people who smoke (cigars, cigarettes, etc) on May 1:
Smokers are a nuisance; a self-limiting group of people. He also wants Alexandria to be clean, green, and quiet (October, 2005).
City Attorney Ignacio Pessoa believes he can violate Virginia Law with taxpayer money for the benefit of the mayor and City Council because banning smoking protects people and it looks good.
They think they are above the law, they belittle the citizens, and given their history of behavior, they will likely continue to develop rules that violate our freedoms because it suits their personal views.
Regardless of your views on smoking, think carefully about what this means.
If we use their logic that the city should ban smoking in current designated areas to protect the public and it looks good, we are on a slippery slope that will open the gate for the city to consider arresting parents for child endangerment if their child is overweight and/or obese; cant smoke in any private property partly funded by the city (e.g.,public housing, subsidized housing for any state employee such as police, teachers, utility workers, etc.); ban loud music because it could hurt our ears; ban audible noises from your car as they may be offensive to others; tell us what cars we can buy, how much gas to use, and regulate our miles of driving; refuse to let obese people order high fat food in restaurants; tell grocery stores what items they can and cannot stock; refuse to let our kids dye their hair pink, wear black nail polish and have their pants hang down to their knees; cant walk your dog in public because it harms people with allergies and asthma; cant wear perfume or cologne because your bad taste harms others olfactory sensibilities; and cant feed the ducks with our moldy over-processed bread because it endangers wildlife.
Stop, think, and use your voice. As questions but demand honest answers. Show up at the council meeting on May 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Amy L Bursell is a resident of Alexandria.