Confused about Issues 4 and 5? I urge you to consider the following points before you vote.
There is no question that secondhand smoke causes disease in nonsmokers, so how can we let some workers continue to breathe these toxins, but ban it in other places, as Issue 4 would do? This is not about smokers' rights. They have the right, and will have the right under Issue 5, to smoke, but they will not have the right to force other people to breathe those toxins in indoor public places or at work.
Ohio would join Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, California, New York, Colorado, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico if we pass the comprehensive clean indoor air law, Issue 5. We would also protect the existing laws in 21 Ohio cities, like Columbus and Toledo. The entire countries of Spain, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Malta, Uganda, Uruguay, and Bhutan have laws banning smoking in public places and workplaces. Do Ohioans care less about their fellow citizens?
You only need to look at the supporters of the two issues to know the right thing to do. Issue 4 is sponsored by the tobacco companies. Issue 5 is sponsored by every reputable health organization in the state. Who really cares about the people of Ohio? Tobacco companies know that if Issue 4 passes, they will have a much better chance to get our kids hooked on smoking. They have to constantly find new customers because their product kills off their old ones.
How should you vote? The answer is simple: No on 4. Yes on 5.
Nonsmokers take an arrogant stance
I am a nonsmoking business owner and my wife smokes and owns a bar. I am amazed by the arrogance of some of these nonsmokers who write to the Readers' Forum.
We as nonsmokers do not have a right to force our wills or desires on area business owners. We do have a right not to patronize businesses that allow smoking or do other things that offend us. This forces businesses to do what's necessary to keep our business if they want it.
If smoking is such a danger and threat to civilization, then outlaw it. Organizations backing Issue 5 talk about business putting profits before the health of the citizens. It happens all the time in the United States.
If all the organizations backing Issue 5 were so bent on providing us with a healthier environment to live in, then why haven't they publicly backed California in its suit against the auto industry for car and truck emissions that are causing global warming, injuring the world's environment, hurting the economy, and endangering public health? Or don't they want to financially hurt the corporations or their employees who donate to them?
DAVID A. COON
Issue 4 would add to constitutional clutter
Vote no on Issue 4; vote your conscience on Issue 5.
What difference does it make in that both deal with the issue of exposing people to secondhand smoke? One major difference is that Issue 4 is a constitutional amendment, whereas Issue 5 would alter state law.
Constitutional amendments are not an ideal way of addressing day-to-day situations in our society. Ponder what might be the ideal speed limit in front of your residence. If you had the financial might and political power of the corporate sponsors behind Issue 4, perhaps you might enact a constitutional amendment to establish this ideal speed limit. But here comes the rub. Your quiet, rural neighborhood has now become urban and populated, requiring a lower speed limit. As you become aware, it is next to impossible to alter the existing speed limit because the decision was previously made to abuse the intended use of a constitutional amendment.
Issue 4 is being force-fed to Ohio by major corporate sponsors such as tobacco companies. For anyone who believes corporations always act in our best interests, I have a bridge to sell you. On the other hand, if you wish to weigh in on the subject of smoking in public, put your thoughts into action by voting for, or against, Issue 5.
GOP leadership has been a turn-off
Taking a lead from our President, I also intend to be a "decider" in this election.
As such, I've decided not to support any of the Republican Senate or congressional members in the upcoming election. The disaster of Iraq, pay-to-play politics, indictments of Republican congressmen, and failure to censure House members have turned me off.
New "fear" ads indicate that we Republicans are best prepared to fight terrorism in the United States, even though President Bush and his Republican-controlled House and Senate have failed to secure our borders and seaports over the last five years.
Why should we expect them to be capable of doing so now?
Although I've been a registered Republican for more than 50 years, I have every intention of switching my party affiliation to independent.
Internet neutrality for common good
Someone said government should provide the people's needs for the military, roads, and the post office. The Internet is the current upgrade of the post office.
The Federal Communications Commission should maintain Internet neutrality for the public good.