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Published: Wednesday, 1/7/2004

Whose rights are more important?

I d like to thank The Blade for its stance on smoking in public establishments. I have no interest in banning tobacco products, but what s fair is fair: Smoking in enclosed public places should not be allowed under any circumstances.

People have a choice to make between lighting up and staying smoke free. My family has chosen to stay away from tobacco.

We have made a conscious decision not to inhale smoke, and all the poisons and foul odors that go with it. When someone chooses to smoke cigarettes, that is their decision and I respect that.

However, if that person does so next to me, then that treads on my right not to breathe that filth.

When it comes to whose rights are more important, I am sorry but that weight must be placed on the nonsmoker. My right to not smoke does not poison those who have chosen to go the other route. All those of us who support the public smoking ban are doing is asking people to respect the rights of us who have decided we want to be smoke-free.

It is not like we want to invade the rights of smokers in their own homes. When I go to a smoker s home, I respect his or her right and do not complain. This law still gives you the ability to be the master of your own domain. So where is the worry?

It is funny how society evolves. We look back on slavery, workers rights, and even seat belt use and say “I can t believe we used to do that.” One hundred years from now, we will look back on our time now and say “I can t believe people put up with smoking in public places for so long.”

I for one will not put up with it, and have made the choice to support only those restaurants in Toledo that remain smoke-free.

CHARLES KRALL

Royce Road

A few months ago on a Friday night, my husband and I stopped at Jed s Barbeque & Brew at Northtowne mall. We just wanted a sandwich and a beverage, so when there was a waiting list for a table in the nonsmoking section, we elected to be seated at the bar.

There were several groups of 21- to 30-year-old customers seated and milling around the bar area. They were having a good time and it appeared that they had been there for awhile. After we ate and had a couple of drinks we left and our seats were quickly snatched up by others waiting to be served. As difficult as this is to believe, not one person was smoking and they certainly appeared to be having a great time. As an added note, there were plenty of empty tables and seats in the smoking area when we arrived and also when we left.

Perhaps Arnie s is the victim of people wanting to try a new place for a change of pace. We are all truly sick of Arnie Elzey s boo hoo!

SHERRY GREEN

Brock Drive

I am disturbed that the Toledo City Council smoking ban has now affected me as a citizen of Maumee. I have lunch during the work week in different restaurants in the west Toledo area. Today I was informed that Arnie s in the Westgate area will be closed for lunch, beginning next week, because the Toledo smoking ban has adversely affected its luncheon business.

For many years I, a nonsmoker, have been a luncheon customer of Arnie s and especially relished its Friday clam chowder, which I consider the best in the area. The smoking of others has never been a problem. I believe it is high time that Toledo City Council be taken to task for its unilateral unintelligible actions, which have affected the lifestyles of those inside as well as outside of Toledo and which has adversely affected the livelihoods of many that are working for these American businesses.

WILLIAM H. HRABAK

Maumee

So Toledo City Council is going to stick to its three-year-old “living wage law.” Well, sort of. The disclaimer, which council recently voted, was to allow the mayor to ignore the law, which stipulates a $10.03 per hour wage, twice a year on projects deemed “crucial to the economic development of the city.”

In other words, his Honor can pick and choose using his own criteria. What kind of law is that? Aren t all projects, big and small, important to the economic development of the city?

If you put too many strangling constraints on prospective businesses, they will just go elsewhere. On the other hand, if you prop up businesses with city “giveaways,” they are set up for failure once the aura fades and the props began to shrink. What is it the City fathers don t understand about this?

Their time would be better spent if they concentrated on decent streets, less crime, better schools, beautiful parks, fewer taxes, more sidewalks, good signs, ample parking. informed zoning laws, and all those things that people and businesses like about a city.

THOMAS J. MINTER

Swanton

I would like to provide a backhanded compliment to a recent Forum writer on his assessment of mercury emissions. His last paragraph of how the Environmental Protection Agency should deal with what is in the best interest of a single person or entity and discarding the assistance of helping the general public or environment was politics at its best. This paragraph was the purest definition of a politician: How can I express something that is inaccurate regarding the goal the public wants to hear, but still achieve my goal?

He wrote: “Disregard for the connection between energy prices and economic growth is already putting undue burdens on Ohio businesses and creating volatility in our energy costs. Mercury controls must balance the need for achieving emissions reductions that help our environment with the need for protecting our businesses and the national economy.”

So, as I conclude my interpretation of the aforementioned paragraph, we are in need of the created mercury emissions so our businesses will be able to flourish; however, the first constant to keep in mind is that “acceptable” mercury emissions (at their) current rate are too strict and need to be relaxed. Is this correct?

What bottom line is the more important in all of this?

JAMES BULDAS

Corey Road

Time magazine s decision to name soldiers as its Person of the Year couldn t be more commendable. They have been put in the extraordinary circumstance of invading and occupying a country in a war initiated by dubious motives.

In Mona Charen s Dec. 27 column, her criticism of Time was more about liberal bashing than any valid reason as to why President Bush should deserve this coveted title. The outcome of the war is far from being determined, financially and historically.

Mr. Bush has had enough photo-ops pretending to be a soldier, while the reality of war is that every day families are receiving the news that their loved one has been injured or killed. They are fighting an unpopular war with little help from the international community.

While this President spent his holiday on vacation at the ranch, the soldiers were eating freeze-dried meals in a war-torn country.

They are far more deserving than their commander in chief!

SALLY J. KELLER

Sabra Road

Mistaken identity

This week, I read that the inventor of the worldwide web was awarded a knighthood. I was confused, however, to learn that his name was Tim Berners-Lee, not Albert Gore, Jr.

Did the queen get the wrong guy? Thankfully, America did not.

CHAD D. BAUS

Archbold



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