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Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bar owner continues to fight smoking law

May 10, 2006

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Douglas County District Court Judge Jack Murphy heard arguments Tuesday from an attorney representing Lawrence bar owner Dennis Steffes, who claims the city's smoking ban is unconstitutionally vague and oversteps state law.

Steffes is asking the court to reconsider a December ruling denying his request to halt enforcement of the ban while his case works its way through the legal system.

Steffes' attorney - William Rork of Topeka - made two main arguments: The law is unconstitutionally vague because it does not tell businesses what steps they must take to avoid prosecution and the city's ban, enacted in 2004, oversteps state law that allows cities to reduce the size of designated smoking areas, not eliminate them.

Murphy rejected similar arguments in December. City attorneys argued again Tuesday that the ban is clear and guided by common sense. Steffes - who operates Coyotes and Last Call - has said he's committed to taking the case to the Kansas Court of Appeals if he loses in district court.

Comments

DownHomeDude 8 years, 4 months ago

As a nonsmoker, I'm in favor of the smoking ban and

hope the police continue to enforce it. If you want to

smoke that fine, just do it outside on the patio area.

Most bars have built patios to accomodate smokers so

why should Coyotes and Last Call be any different. I find it

hard to believe that the smoking ban really has much

effect on businesses.

DHD

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DownHomeDude 8 years, 4 months ago

As a nonsmoker, I'm in favor of the smoking ban and

hope the police continue to enforce it. If you want to

smoke thats fine, just do it outside on the patio area.

Most bars have built patios to accomodate smokers so

why should Coyotes and Last Call be any different. I find it

hard to believe that the smoking ban really has much

effect on businesses.

DHD

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peter brady 8 years, 4 months ago

For DHD, as with most people, who say, "I find it hard to believe...", faith and their beliefs are sometimes rooted in fact. In this case, it depends on whose facts your willing to accept. What Mr. Steffes is arguing benefits us all. The El Paso ordinance copied by our city attorney, except for who enforces it, is vague. No citizen should be held accountable by any law that permits the government so much latitude in who, when, and how much they enforce it. This isn't a democracy, it's a republic. And three out of five commissioners can elect to re-write the ordinance to provide more clarity. What sucks is that being regarded as decisive often is just someone being stubborn. I think we've all had enough of that.

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esubrett 8 years, 4 months ago

As a non-smoker, I am all for the smoking ban, but this issue needs to be clarified. If the writing is vague, fix it. We don't want this to become a situation where it is illegal to wear red hats in bars on Tuesdays due to someone's incorrect interpretation of the wording in the law. If it means I have to drink in smoky bars for a couple of months while this is being fixed then so be it. Fix the problem but keep the smoking ban!

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quigley 8 years, 4 months ago

That guy just needs to give it up, the smoking ban is here to stay.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

The most "damage" this man can hope to do to the law is force the city to re-word it in order to make it more legitimate/constitutional. It's not as if he's ever going to bring smoking BACK to public places in Lawrence. What a waste of time.

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Gabe Hoffman 8 years, 4 months ago

It's funny, i'm sure if this was something that was against non smokers it would be a different issue. Non smokers have just as much energy to go outside if they don't want to smell smoke, or go to another establishment all together.

This steps beyond smokers and non, it goes to government controlling what they think is good for us and not. It will continue, and continue to be more invasive.

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neopolss 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow. What cynics. One man CAN'T make a difference? So much for the provisions our forefathers laid out. I believe the goal was to protect the minority, the single man, so that each has a voice. Give it up, segregation is here to stay. Give it up, you'll never have the right to vote. Give it up, a woman's place is in the home, not the workforce.

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Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

Neopolss- depends what this man is trying to accomplish. As OldEnuf said, if he's trying to bring back smoking, it ain't gonna happen and IMHO people should get over it already since it's been YEARS since the ban. The Ordinance should have had clearer language to begin with and if that's what comes from this lawsuit, I'll be happy, but I seriously doubt that's what Steffes is spending all his time and money for.

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jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

When one's exercise of freedom interferes with another's, then it should be curbed. Smoking is an activity which by it's very nature interferes with others' freedom to breathe clean air. There are clear health risks for those who work in heavily smoky atmospheres as well. As a non-smoker I welcome and support the ban. Why should we have to avoid many restaurants/bars/etc. in order to safeguard our health and comfort? Before the ban was enacted, even if restaurants had non-smoking sections, many such sections were affected by smoke from other areas. If the law is poorly worded, of course it should be improved. But this does not negate the value of the ban to Lawrence. Many other cities have recognized that this is a valid public policy concern.

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Confrontation 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion: You either owned or own a smoke shop (Pretentious Cow), which had a bankruptcy listed in the LJWorld in September. Could you be biased and bitter on this issue?

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girly 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree, the person's whose rights are being interferred with is the bar owner, by the non-smoker! The bar owner has the right to allow any legal activity in his bar that he wants. If he thinks he'll have a better business by being a non-smoking bar, then that would be his right also. It's his business!!

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jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

When smoke exits a smoker's mouth, travels through the air, and enters a non-smoker's lungs, the smoker's exercise of their "right" to smoke interferes with the non-smoker's right to breathe clean air. This reminds me of the noise issue - some have even gone so far as to say that you shouldn't live in certain neighborhoods if you don't like a lot of noise. Why are Americans so bad at recognizing that protecting the rights and freedoms of all sometimes involves curbing the exercise of individual freedom?

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Confrontation 8 years, 4 months ago

It's funny to read the smokers' posts on here. They seem really frantic. "Oh, no! What if I can't smoke?! What do I do?! What do I do?! I might die!"

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CanadianPassport 8 years, 4 months ago

Last Call and Coyotes ... gross. I think Steffes could make a real statement here by burning down both of his establishments. That would send a message. Please?

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laidbak_bb 8 years, 4 months ago

the smoking ban is one of the best and most progressive things to happen to lawrence in my lifetime. why should i have to be exposed to your cigarette smoke? your freedom to smoke is impeding my freedom to breath non-toxic air. slowly kill yourselves outside please.

thank you lawrence, for keeping the second hand smoke of idiots like marion out of my lungs.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

Are there any anti-smoking-ban posters here who don't smoke? I'm assuming that all who are trying to liken the smoking ban to the emancipation of the slaves are all smokers. Do any of you NOT fit my assumption?

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hipper_than_hip 8 years, 4 months ago

Can anyone name any businesses that closed as a direct result of the smoking ban?

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amanda_lazer 8 years, 4 months ago

wasn't there a non-smoking bar that is now closed down? moon bar or something? smoking ban not effecting these businesses? yes it does. When I drink, I want a cigarette. I shouldn't have to disrupt my conversation to move outside to smoke. I understand health effects and do not blow smoke towards people, rather up to be caught by the ventilation system. Since I have moved from Lawrence shortly after the smoking ban came into effect I have not returned to do anything other than shopping simply because of the ban. There are too many bars in a close vicinity that allow smoking for me to travel to lawrence to not be able to smoke.

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CanadianPassport 8 years, 4 months ago

I have no problem with smoking, I just hate trashy bars polluting the city.

Last Call just brings criminals to Lawrence: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/dec...

Coyotes just brings bad dancing and cheap women.

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amanda_lazer 8 years, 4 months ago

and yes, I understand the health effects and if I want to be ridden by cancer, that is my choice, as it is others choice not to smoke.

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wonderhorse 8 years, 4 months ago

Dad

I don't smoke and am against the ban.

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laidbak_bb 8 years, 4 months ago

marion: i have no need for a ring in my nose to lead me around. i am married and am quite used to being led around with or without a ring. i am not pseudo- or neo- anything, just hate second hand smoke.

i would gladly not go where there is smoking. but if smoking is allowed in lawrence establishments, then all of us non-smokers that wish to not be around second hand smoke are incapable of going into any establishment. there would be no escaping the smoke and i would be forced out of every establishment. my presence does not disrupt your dining, but your smoking does disrupt my dining experience.

we will never convince each other of our stance on this matter. so we will have to agree to disagree. have a nice afternoon marion.

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esubrett 8 years, 4 months ago

How come everytime this issue comes up someone who wants the ban lifted always throws out the phrase "If you don't want to be around the smoke, don't go where the smoke is"? Without the ban there wouldn't be places without smoke.

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wonderhorse 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually, there was a bar in Lawrence, pre-ban, that did not allow smoking. It went out of business because non-smokers stayed away in droves.

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i_have_only_valid_opinions 8 years, 4 months ago

Here's my opinion on this issue -

I understand that everyone has rights (and I'm not a smoker). But, what happens when establishments are allowed to legally allow smoking for their customers is that they will always do so. No one wants to chase away customers by denying them the opportunity to smoke while they drink their beer. But, like others have correctly stated, this infringes on the rights of non-smokers to have a clean healthy environment.

So, Marion points out that non-smokers don't have to go to smokey places. Well, that's also where we lose out. We are forced to tolerate that smelly crap and tar up our insides if we want to enjoy a good meal at our favorite restaurant or watch the Chiefs at the local sports bar. All for smokers rights. To accomodate non-smoking, smokers can simply go to a designated spot, take a drag and then head back to their table and resume their meal/drinking. Non-smokers can't do the same thing. We can't go out to the front sidewalk of On The Border and order a meal and then stand there and eat it.

It's just a matter of fairness and consideration. Smokers can allow all people to enjoy our fine local establishments and watering holes by being a little more sensitive to everyone. If non-smokers win, smokers are only slightly inconvenienced for a few moments while they have to exit and puff. If smokers win, non-smokers are completely and always inconvenienced out of going almost anywhere.

And by the way guys, smoking is just retarded. You knowingly are sucking carcinogenic crap into your body for a very minor twinge of a fix just because you don't have the balls to quit. And come on, you argue with us because we don't want to be forced into joining your slow suicide so we can eat a burrito?

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i_have_only_valid_opinions 8 years, 4 months ago

amanda_lazer

First, you are an idiot for making the comment that you know what you are doing and that is your choice. Just dumb.

Second, you want permission to take away our choice not to join you.

I'm sorry your life and decisions revolve around where you can and can't smoke. Sounds like a winner of an existence. Maybe in your next life you can come back as a tobacco plant and enjoy it even more.

Good luck with the emphysema.

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Theresa1000 8 years, 4 months ago

As a smoker I was against the smoking ban prior to its enforcement primarily due to the potential effect it would have on businesses, along with the basic freedoms involuntarily surrendered by the owners and how they run their business.

However, some months later I came to understand the great political philosopher, John Stuart Mill, and what he means by 'Freedom to do as you please as long as you do not infringe on the rights of others.' Smoking in public without proper ventilation can cause serious respiratory problems, and therefore infringes on their right to coexist in the same environment as a smoker.

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bankboy119 8 years, 4 months ago

oldenuf, I'm antismoking ban, I don't smoke, and we have a 1 year old girl. If the restaurant here in MO chooses to allow smoking, we don't go there, plain and simple. There are some that have banned smoking. If that's the case then we bring out business. This is an issue that should be decided by the market and the business owner, not by the government.

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hipper_than_hip 8 years, 4 months ago

"Actually, there was a bar in Lawrence, pre-ban, that did not allow smoking. It went out of business because non-smokers stayed away in droves."

Thanks for reminding me, as it was the Bella Lounge at Hillcrest.

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Confrontation 8 years, 4 months ago

amanda_lazer: You're ridiculous, for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that you are blaming the ban for the Moon Bar closing! Hello! This bar closed thanks to a Giddens incident and failure to follow alcohol license rules. Really, we're glad you're out of Lawrence and we won't welcome you back.

marion: How was my a$$ hanging out? Did you not file a bankruptcy? If not, then the LJWorld was lying. Are you not biased, since you have profited off of an addiction that kills people, and you figure it's okay for other businesses to do the same?

The Bella Lounge (former non-smoking bar that closed) was a really crappy bar that no one wanted to go to, regardless of their smoking status.

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Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

I have an idea, how about bars and resturaunts that allow smoking and those that ban it? That way owners and patrons can choose and everyone is happy. Seems to work in most of the rest of the country.

Perhaps it is because those who scream longest and loudest about personal freedom to choose and individual choice of what to do with their own bodies are really little more than hypocritical neo-facists.

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mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

I am a non-smoker, and I don't like the smoking ban. People have the right to choose if they want to smoke, and where they want to go, the same as a non-smoker. Some bars and restaurants were "smokier" than others, and I took that into consideration. I know many people who only smoke when they went out and had a drink, and now they go to Kansas City. I do believe Lawrence establishments are losing money and that the non-smokers are not making up the difference.
By the way, I am married to a former smoker. He didn't like to smoke or smell it while he was eating, so we always sat in the non-smoking section anyway. But it was nice for him to stay in the bar with me when we went out, instead of going outside to smoke.

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steprightup 8 years, 4 months ago

I love how non-smokers point to secondhand smoke as a major health risk while they're getting into the car to dump tons of toxic particulates onto me and the surrounding land.

Let's ban smoking for our health. And cars too.

Hypocrites.

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