To the editor:
Who was it who said, "if we are willing to give up enough of our freedom, we can be perfectly safe"?
Although I am a nonsmoker, I support Mr. Steffes' efforts to overturn the city's smoking ban.
If city officials think it necessary to ban smoking from legitimate public places, then so be it. However, taverns, bars and restaurants are not public places. They are privately owned and operated businesses, open to the public at the owners' invitation. If they choose to allow smoking in their establishments then I am left with the question: What part of "if you don't like it, go somewhere else," do the smoking ban proponents not understand?
Since there seems to be a great deal of differing opinion over what constitutes public versus nonpublic facilities, let's make it perfectly clear: Privately owned facilities generate tax revenue, public facilities are consumers of tax revenue.
Mr. Steffes' business, and others like it, contribute to the very existence of public facilities through taxes on sales, liquor, property, franchise fees, income, etc. To say that it's OK for him to go out of business not only defies common sense but sends a very scary message to other business owners.
At best it might be appropriate to require Mr. Steffes to post a sign: "This is a smoking-allowed establishment. If you are offended by smokers or secondhand smoke, we respectfully suggest you exercise your freedom of choice and find a place more agreeable with your personal convictions."