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Letters to the editor
November 18, 2006, 12:00 AM
Belmont City Council

ignores privacy issues

Editor,

Having read your story in the Nov. 15 San Mateo Daily Journal ("Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking”), I would like to know if anyone on the Belmont City Council has a clue as to how they expect to ticket someone for smoking within the confines of their personal automobile? In what way can this possibly affect others? And what about condominiums? These are privately-owned residences that happen to be attached to each other. Does the Council not care one whit for privacy issues? Or personal property issues? I smoke. If you don’t like it, continue to stand there on the side of the road in the pouring rain. Do not accept my offer of a ride. Do not accept my invitation to dinner. But keep your laws out of my private spaces.  

Janice Kushner

Severn, Md.

Arrogance of

Belmont City Council

Editor,

What you are trying to do by making smoking illegal in your town is an absurd affront to individual freedom and individual rights.

Personally, I’ve never had a cigarette in my entire life and I absolutely despise the smell and idea of smoking. But, the notion that you would attempt to make a product that is completely legal to purchase and whose public use poses no risk to those around the user (specifically outdoors where the only potential danger is an annoying smell) is positively Orwellian.

This is just another example of the pure arrogance of those with the tiniest bit of public influence deciding that you know better than the vast peasantry around you.

It’s disheartening for me to think that, instead of trying to convince people that it’s unhealthy to smoke, you would seek to forbid behavior that you dislike. It’s the intellectual equivalent of saying, "I’m taking my ball and going home.” It’s childish, it’s lazy, it’s immature and most of all, it stands in complete contrast with all of the principals of our democratic society.

Jonathan Epstein

Waltham, Mass.

Catching up with Scotland

Editor,

For once Scotland is ahead of the United States. We’ve lived with a smoking ban for quite a while now and it is rigorously enforced. We can murder babies in the womb and are about to "debate” killing disabled newborn babies and (how can I put it?) I’m not looking forward to my old age, assuming I’m allowed to have one, but smoke in a pub or restaurant? Not on your life. What a crazy world we are living in. It’s enough to make the likes of me (who doesn’t smoke anyway) want to go right out and set the heather on fire.

Patricia McKeever

Glasgow, Scotland

Discrimination

against the poor

Editor,

So rich, mostly white, people can smoke at home because they have detached houses, while poor blacks, Hispanics and for that matter, young adults who are smokers will now have to move away from San Mateo — will they get moving expenses from the city after they file lawsuits? Adolph Hitler would love the city of Belmont.  

Duggan Flanakin

Austin, Texas

Misguided do-gooders

Editor,

Congratulations to your fine city for enacting a total smoking ban. After all, why should people be able to have freedom in their own homes to do anything that is potentially harmful to their health? It seems that the city halls and the state legislators are using their powers to take away our freedoms instead of protecting those freedoms that were once taken for granted in America.

This is a dangerous precedent for a country that is built on a tradition of individual freedom.

The anti-smoking Nazis will soon seek out other ways to invade our privacy and control our lives. Will their next target be to ban eating high-calorie junk food? Will the police then make random checks of our refrigerators so see if we have any unhealthy foods? And will good citizens be told to turn in their fat neighbors? Or maybe the city of Belmont should outlaw Thanksgiving, that day of feasting which clearly contributes to obesity. Obesity is just as fatal and preventable as lung cancer, probably more so.

I don’t understand why people smoke, nor do I understand why people eat themselves into the oblivion of obesity, but I will defend a smoker’s right to have the freedom to smoke with the same passion as I would defend a person’s right to eat whatever they want.

People who don’t like smoke are free not to associate with smokers. People who don’t like fat people are equally free not to associate with them. It’s a personal choice and the lawmakers should butt out.

Those people who think this new ban is a good thing need a lesson in freedom. I fear that it is too late for them to learn about freedom. The schools have obviously failed to teach that subject.

I hope all the smokers leave your town and take their tax dollars with them. And fat people, look out, because you could be the next target of these misguided do-gooders.

Linda Curry

Carlsbad

Timely smoking ban

with fire measure failure

Editor,

It was very timely for the city of Belmont to take a position against smoking as you reported since most fires are caused by smokers and the city’s attempt to deliver fire services was voted down, by commercial properties, as you also reported.

Gladwyn d’Souza

Belmont

Interfering with lifestyle

Editor,

It is appalling that five people can control and have such power to interfere with anyone’s life style or decisions to smoke. Smokers have rights, I don’t see them banning pot or any other drug. Thank God I don’t live in your city, I would hire the best lawyer I could find to fight for my civil rights. I don’t think they (the council members) were given the right to play God yet.

Beverly Purpus

Sonoma County


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