Tobacco companies are pouring millions of dollars into preventing Ohio and Arizona from passing anti-smoking laws. They titled Issue 4 in Ohio as "SmokeLess Ohio" and a similar issue in Arizona "Arizonans for Non-Smokers' Rights." They are brilliant in using confusion and deceit to shamelessly keep people smoking to preserve and bolster their profits.
If Issue 4 passes by even one vote it will trump Issue 5, which is titled Smoke Free Ohio, no matter how many votes Issue 5 passes by. Issue 5 is sponsored by a host of health organizations. It would end smoking in most public places. By contrast, if Issue 4 passes, it would leave employees and patrons in many businesses vulnerable to the lethal effects of secondhand smoke.
If Issue 4 passes, it would invalidate immediately anti-smoking laws that are currently in effect in 21 Ohio cities, including Toledo and Columbus.
It would even block municipalities from enacting smoke-free laws in the future. This is because it would become a constitutional amendment and as such it would trump Issue 5.
Issue 4 was designed by high-powered tobacco company lawyers to mislead. It should have been titled "Smoke More," because that is the tobacco companies' intention. Please vote no on Issue 4 and yes on Issue 5. Vote no for tobacco company profits and yes for good health.
Don't let Issue 4 hide behind its cloud of smoke.
Though it has a higher smoking rate than the United States, Ireland, which is about the size of Ohio, has successfully banned all smoking in public places, even the quaint rural pubs for which it is so famous. Not only is the barstaff happier to be free of secondhand smoke (per surveys taken there and anecdotes from my own relatives in western Ireland), but statistics prove that the economy and tourism for shop and bar owners continues to grow unabated.
If Ireland can do it, we certainly can and we'll all be a lot healthier and smell much nicer after a night out.
Vote No on 4 and Yes on 5. Smoke-free Ohio!
CYNTHIA MILLEN ROBERTS
I would like to encourage voters to vote no on Issues 4 and 5. Issue 4 is the constitutional amendment to allow business owners (particularly bar and restaurant owners) to determine whether smoking will be permitted on their premises. Issue 5 is a proposed law that would take away business owners' rights regarding smoking on their premises. In fact it outlaws smoking in all public places and places of employment with a few minor exceptions.
Both of these issues are unnecessary. As long as buying and using cigarettes, cigars, etc., is legal, business owners should have the right to determine whether smoking will be allowed. Of course, I'm not advocating allowing smoking around hazardous or explosive materials, that would be asinine. If the anti-smoking crowd wants to "help" people then they should be calling for the complete outlaw of tobacco products because of the health problems they cause.
As for the pro-smoking crowd, they need to look at the big picture of property and individual rights instead of the small picture of smoking rights. Right now the battle between pro-smokers and anti-smokers is about where smoking occurs, not on whether smoking should be legally protected.
In an effort to learn about Issue 4, I logged onto the Web site run by SmokeLess Ohio. It appears that Issue 4 calls itself the "common sense" smoking ban.
Issue 4 is supported and funded by "SmokeLess Ohio," which consists of R.J. Reynolds, Cigar Association of America, Lorillard Tobacco Co., National Association of Tobacco Outlets, and the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association. How noble and logical that the tobacco industry wants Ohioans to smoke less!
Apparently, a comprehensive smoking ban would hurt businesses. This is evident in places with comprehensive smoking bans like Columbus, California, New York, and Ireland. Good luck finding an open bar in NYC or Los Angeles! The bars near Ohio State University? All boarded up! Don't even get me started on the complete elimination of the Irish pub industry!
The pro-Issue 4 commercial proclaims that Issue 4 would ban smoking in places like government offices, libraries, hospitals, and day-care centers while exempting bars and lots of restaurants. Great! Now I won't be overwhelmed by secondhand smoke in the public library or watch cigarette smoke billow out of the Cleveland Clinic! I guess banning smoking in places where it is already banned is just good "common sense."
Issue 4 must be common sense. After all, would Big Tobacco mislead us?
Upper Arlington, Ohio
People in Gibsonburg need to vote yes for our Sandusky County Park District on Nov. 7. It has proven to be a wise steward of our tax dollars as it continues to maintain and expand our county parks.
The park district provides a safe and clean environment where anyone can come to enjoy a multitude of activities. This levy will help them continue to keep this level of service, while also developing Creek Bend Farm in Lindsey and expanding the North Coast Inland Bike Trail.
The Village of Gibsonburg Park Committee has benefited tremendously from the park district's matching grant program. It has helped us replace playground equipment, install new fencing, build handicap accessible fishing platforms, and numerous other projects.
With the Sandusky County Park District's guidance and hard work and the dedication of many, Gibsonburg's Williams Park has transformed into a wonderful park.
The additions of a veterans memorial and museum, a paved walking path, and sculptures throughout Williams Park have helped to attract many out-of-town visitors.
White Star Park, which is part of the park district, is just on the outskirts of Gibsonburg and is a valuable resource for our community. White Star Park provides many recreation opportunities for all ages. You can camp, swim, scuba dive, picnic, or just relax.
Each year the park is host to many tractor pulls, family reunions, and a large antique tractor show called SCRAP.
These events as well as many others draw many people from near and far to enjoy our parks. The Sandusky County Park District is a wonderful asset to Gibsonburg and the surrounding communities.
Our parks need our support and we need them for our overall well being.
Gibsonburg Village Council
Every year when it is time to vote, the voters are accused of apathy and the pollsters have all kinds of reasons why voting numbers are in a decline.
In my opinion the politicians have no one to blame but themselves for this so-called "apathy." Day after day we hear of case after case of our elected officials who can't keep their pants up or skirts down or hands off someone else's money, furthering their own good. But I'm sure they still get their fat paychecks and retirement benefits (which is way more than the average voter).
And this is the kind of example we are to look up to? To trust? To honor?
I don't think we have apathy. I think we have reached a point where we can't and don't trust them, so why vote?
The present problem with North Korea does not lie with the Bush or Clinton administrations; it lies with the North Korean government itself. Why should North Korea negotiate with the U.S.? The United Nations and South Koreans give them free food, they counterfeit money, and they don't tolerate any back-talk from the peasants. Every time I see Kim Jong-Il he's smiling. It's good to be the king. Why does he need change?