LV Smoking Ban
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ON THIS PAGE:
08-20-2007:  Talk about a smoking ban.

09-10-2007:  Council postpones vote about ban

02-04-2008:  Council votes NO to citizen referendum vote

12-20-2009:  An update on this issue.

02-04-2012:  Topic brought up again in Council Retreat.

06-18-2012:  Review of the changes to the Smoking Ordinance

06-19-2012: Q&A - My remarks to Comments and Questions

07-02-2012:  Review of the changes to the Smoking Ordinance.

- The Video from the meeting
- After meeting comments. Changes to ordinance pass with some modifications.


08-20-2007
The Lewisville council is talking about banning smoking in Lewisville.  Is this good?  Bad?  Is it the best thing to do?  Is the current ordinance not restrictive enough?

I hate smoking.  I loathe it tremendously.  I think it is rude for smokers to force me to breath their smoke (it's really tainted bad breath if you think about that they exhale it).

The City Council may ban all smoking in Lewisville public areas, stores, restaurants, etc...   It is what most of the Council wants to do.  The idea was suggested that it be put on the ballot.  Lathan Watts was the only one that really spoke against putting it on the ballot due to the expense during the meeting tonight.

 

Though the Council may have the power to ban smoking, I believe it to be the wrong thing to do at this level. (If Texas did this State wide then that will make it fair to all the businesses).   Businesses (specifically restaurants) in Lewisville may have in their business model that their patrons are able to smoke.  To make them non-smoking places may put them out of business because these patrons will go to the next community down the road to smoke.  The City Council should not be the catalyst for them going into debt.  Citizens should decide the success of a business with the money they spend.  If they do not want to smell smoke, then they will not go there and the business will fail if they do not cater to their patrons.

There are some restaurants in Lewisville that are non-smoking and I commend those places for their efforts.  There are some like Denny's near Hwy 3040 that have a glass enclosed area for smokers.  Nice effort but they need more negative ventilation to be sure smoke doesn't leave the room. 
     Then there are places like Bennigan's that has a bar at the entrance.  You have to go through the smoke to get to a pseudo non smoking area divided by a railing.  This is a smoking restaurant period.  I do not go there because of the smoke.  [update  - they have gone out of business.]
     IHOP on I35 and Main street is smoke free and I go there.  I have told the Managers at IHOP by the mall that their place stinks because of smoking and have not been in there since.  [update - Both IHOPs are now non smoking - and I have gone back.]

I think that citizens that are complaining about smoking should take a stand and tell business owners that they will not go back again until they make it smoke free.  Walk in, tell them, and Walk Out!  This is also known as "Put your money where your mouth is!".  If you do not like the smoke and still go to that establishment anyway, then you are not sending a clear message.

I do think that the Council should put this on the ballot if there is going to be a ban for Lewisville.  If it did go to the ballot, I do think that it would pass.  The council could make that decision on their own but again I do not think that they should make a ban.

Now, if a Texas wide smoking ban goes into affect then all these businesses will be on the same playing field.


Also, if smokers have to go outside to smoke, then they should not be doing so anywhere near the entrance.  They should also be downwind of the people going into the establishment.

 

That's how I see it.

 

John Gorena

 


09-10-2007 Council postpones vote about ban
The Lewisville City Council will wait for another meeting to continue this topic.  I did speak to them in the public forum about the ideas that I listed below.

02-04-2008: Council votes NO to citizen requests to place vote on ballot without a referendum.
     Since the council has not made a decision to ban or not ban smoking in Lewisville, the issue was to allow the citizens to give input as a referendum vote at the next election.  Several Councilmen mentioned that this decision should be made by the elected representatives on the City Council and that a vote from the Citizens is not needed.

     The Council voted this evening on Denying the Citizens of Lewisville to vote on this ban at the next election as a non-binding referendum.  This would have meant nothing but input from the citizens to the council on what the citizens wanted.  Since it means nothing but input that all of you can do at the Council meetings anyway, to not put it on the ballot saves the City some money for not putting it on the state ballot.  It is not all that much money when compared to other expenditures.


IT DID NOT PASS: 1:4

FOR:

Councilman Dean Ueckert

AGAINST:

Councilman Greg Tierney

Councilman Lathan Watts

Councilman David Thornhill

Councilman Rudy Durham


12-20-2009:  An update on this issue - It's been two years.
    
In the last year or so, Dallas has gone non smoking (passed in January and went into effect April 2009) as well as several other cities.  Though some business owners have complained that they are losing money because of the Dallas ordinance, I have not heard of any that attribute non smoking as a reason a business has gone out of business - yet.  HOWEVER, you will find articles on both sides of this issue.  See The Examiner Article (or the PDF Version) which has some information about the economics.  I just had hoped that the 3/4 of the population that does not smoke would have made more of an impact to make places non smoking.  An example in my article above was about IHOP which both locations are now non smoking.

     I still think that if there is going to be a ban, that the ban should be on the ballot.  At the time I wrote the article above, I thought that the State legislature would have passed a non smoking law this year (2009 Legislature) but it did not.  I still think that the city council should put it on the ballot than make the decision alone.

     Being that these businesses are privately owned AND that smoking is still a legal thing to do, I still believe that these business owners have Rights too.  They are citizens just like the smokers who use their establishments.  I think it is up to us as individuals to let the owners know what we want.  Have you told the business owners that you want them to ban smoking at their place of business?


02-04-2012:  Topic brought up again in Council Retreat.

     It seems that two council members want to push this to make all of Lewisville a non-smoking city.  My opinions have not changed from the above - it is still a Rights issue!  I did suggest that we make all City of Lewisville Property Smoke Free (since the City is in Control of and Owns that property) but to not dictate what private businesses can do as I have previously mentioned.  I will restate that I do not like smoke and I do not go to those places where I can smell smoke.  I encourage others to let managers of those businesses know that they do not like smoke either - and not spend money there until they change their policies.  Therefore, if the business wants to allow smoking for their customers, then that is their Right and also ours to not go there.
     So how does a Smoking Ban get to be passed at the City Level?

 - A referendum from a petition can force the council to pass it or send it to the voters on a ballot.  But the wording will be what is on the referendum.

- The council can vote to pass such an ordinance and have the wording as the council wants it.  I do not think the Council should make this decision.  They should put it on the ballot for voters to decide if they want a decision to be made.

     If it came to council I would vote NO because this is a Rights issue.  If we were forced to pass it or send it to the ballot because of a referendum, then I would vote to send it to the ballot.  Because it is a Rights Issue, this should be done at the State level for State Law.

     And finally, IF I did not care about the U.S. Constitution, the Rights & Freedoms of the U.S. Citizen, and the Rule-Of-Law, then I could act like "king ruler of the world" and ban it.   However, I DO believe in these things and make decisions accordingly.  One of which is letting business owners know my opinion that I do not like smoking and I will not spend money there because of it.  Freedom and Liberty means allowing others to do legal activities even if you do not like them.


06-18-2012:  Review of the changes to the Smoking Ordinance.

  • Pre-Meeting Comments:  These changes to the current Smoking Ordinance are not approved changes to the Ordinance.  The council has not voted on it.  This is a discussion.  See the Long version with backup material
    NOTE: My views that this is a 'Rights Issue' has not changed.  Read my previous entry.
  • Post Meeting Comments:  There will be another workshop review and scheduled to vote at July 2, 2012 council meeting. 
    • It will be discussed at the Workshop and then scheduled for a vote in the regular Council meeting.  It could even be postponed for another meeting but do not leave until the item has been voted on.  It is not over until the item is addressed in the regular Council meeting - to make a decision or postpone or stop it. You have been informed.
    • Here is a link at the Channel 11 News site.  I like that they had a clip of me asking, "Are you going to ban Big Gulps too?" 
  • The Current Smoking Ordinance Section - Click here...
  • The Proposed changes that were in the Agenda Material for this meeting on 06-18-2012 - click here.
    • NOTE:  On July 2, 2012, these proposed changes are going to be changed to be more restrictive.  It will be discussed in the workshop and mostly voted on in the Council meeting that night.  Both meetings are open meetings.

06-19-20122:   Q&A - My remarks to Questions/Comments made.  I will address them here as I get them and make changes to this text if I want to do so - it is my blog.  I have combined a few to address in some of these bullets.  I appreciate all the support as well that this is a Right's issue.

  • Are you For or Against the Smoking Ban?
    Although I hate smoking, I am AGAINST the smoking ban because this is a Rights issue concerning a legal substance and the ability for a business owner to allow it on his property.  By the way, it is not a complete smoking ban.  There will still be smoking with certain restrictions like distance from doors, etc...  If you are going to take this Right away, why not ban smoking anywhere and everywhere?  Why stop 10 or 25 feet from the front entrance?  Why not all of the patio area too?  Again, smoking is not the real issue here.  It is a Rights issue!
  • Why do you like smoking? 
     I DO NOT LIKE SMOKING!  I cannot be any clearer.  I really hate it more than most people.  That is why I do not go to places that I can smell cigarette smoke.  It is my Right to not go to a place that allows smoking.  You have that Right also.  It is their property and it is a legal drug, therefore I (or you) do not have the Right to restrict their Rights.  [Yes, I refer to it as a legal drug because people are addicted to it and it is legal.]
  • What about my Rights to not smell smoke?
    Yes, you have the Right to not go there like I do.  No one is making you go to a property that is not owned by you so that you have to be subjected to smoke or noise or visually offensive items that the owners allow on their property.  Do you really think that your Rights are more important than the Rights of the owner of the business?  Or the Rights of those that are allowed and want to be there smoking?  The owners use their own money to create their business and they should have the Right to run it the way they want. I respect their Rights and you should too.  I respect your Rights and restricting someone else's Rights is not a Right that you have.  You are no more or less important than they are.  We both may not like smoking but we do like our Rights.  I took an Oath to support your Rights and their Rights regardless of how much I hate smoking.
  • Some business owners tell me that they would like a smoking ban.  Shouldn't you support them?
    I do support them!  I will defend their Rights to ban smoking on their property  - all the way to their property line.  I will support their Right that they can tell customers to not smoke on their property - again, all the way to their property line. Believe me, nothing is stopping any business owner from banning smoking on their property.  [For Example, The Medical Center of Lewisville (Lewisville Hospital) bans it anywhere on the premises and they no longer have smoking areas.]  As for the business owner, it could have already been done if they had just made the decision to ban smoking at their business.  No time like the present!  If they really think that it needs to be done because they think the majority wants it, then they will be ahead of their competition by banning the smoking on their property.  Majority or not, the owners of these businesses have all the power (via their Rights) to ban smoking at their businesses.
  • Smoking is not allowed in City Buildings.  Are you OK with that?
    YES!  The City owns and is responsible for City Owned Property - including vehicles and other equipment.  As a City Councilman, I am OK with banning all smoking on all CITY OWNED PROPERTY - all the way to the property line - but that might be over doing it a little - or a lot.  I do believe that the City Council has this Right to ban smoking on City property but not on private property and private businesses.  Again, I am fine with banning smoking in City Owned facilities - I do support that decision.
         I do not like seeing Cigarette butts everywhere when I go to the City Parks.  It frustrates me that smokers litter so much.  Also, just about any stoplight in town has a pile of cigarette butts by the curb.  In fact, every time I mow my yard, I hit a Cigarette Butt discarded by a smoker that walks by.  [Exercise and Smoking do seem to be opposing paradigms.]  I do dislike smoking and the bad habits that seem to be associated with smoking.
  • What about the workers at those businesses that allow smoking?
    Are you implying that the worker was already employed there and the business owner decided to allow smoking?  I really think that the smoking was more likely going on when they applied for the job.  Therefore they chose to work there and they knew there was smoking. Again, the employees and customers should all get together and ask the owner to make it a smoke free environment.  [If you stop spending money there because of the smoke, please tell them so.]
  • Would you like to work in a smoking environment?
    Nope, that is why I do not work in a smoking environment. We all have a choice.  It is a free Country - for now until people start dictating what Rights you can have...  Oh wait, That is exactly what this Ban issue is about!
  • Why do you say it is something the Council should not decide? Who should decide?
    It has to do with Rights.  The State and Federal Government make laws dealing with Rights.  I think Councils that decide to limit the Rights of Citizens are over stepping their authority.  It should be decided at the State level.  For something dealing with Rights at the City level, careful consideration should be given before putting it on the ballot for voters to decide.  Your Rights should be more valuable than to leave it to the whim of literally a handful of people.  If the people that want to ban smoking can get a referendum (contact the City Secretary for details), then I would vote that it goes to the ballot for the voters to decide.  I prefer that option over the Council making the decision for the reason I mention above.
  • So you support banning Smoking at the State level but not at the County or City level?
    Yes, that is my understanding of the Texas and US Constitutions.  However, I can see an exception that if a decision at the local level has to be made, then the citizens should decide on a ballot election.  A handful of people should not decide a Rights issue.  I do not see where a County or City has the authority to ban someone's Rights.  County and Local governmental entities can make some modifications to existing laws within limits set by the State or Federal Governments. There is no law that Bans smoking that I have been able to find.  [Believe me, I wish there was State or Federal Law that would ban smoking.]  This is a Rights issue!
         If we allow any of our Rights to be limited, what else are they going to ban?  Maybe Big Gulps?  Sizzling Fajitas that smoke up the place?  Maybe decide what should be on the menu at restaurants? 
         There are a lot of things I do not like and smoking is at the upper part of that list.  I do not like cigarettes, pipes, or cigars.  Do you want me to ban you from drinking because I do not like being around drunk people?  How about banning Texting and Driving because most people lose concentration?  BTW, I do not want to ban any of your Rights.  If you have an accident, then you pay the price.  How do you enforce no texting while driving???  How about banning all fish restaurants because I do not like the smell?  That fishy smell makes me nauseous!  Perfumes & Colognes - Some are just nasty!
         And one more example, What about your neighbor who wants to smoke a brisket in his smoker but you want to have your windows open on a nice day?  Are you going to stop neighbors from having a BBQ because the smoke or charcoal fumes makes you sick? AGAIN, this is all about Rights.

07-02-2012:  Review of the changes to the Smoking Ordinance

  • The Proposed changes that were in the Agenda Material for this meeting on 07-02-2012 - click here.
    • It is the current ordinance with recommended additions in red letters and what is being omitted with red strike through letters.
    • I like Addison's position on this topic - because it is mine also.  On their website at www.AddisonTX.gov which says,  "The Town of Addison believes that private establishments should set their own individual smoking policies and that such policies should be consumer-driven, rather than mandated through government action."
  • Video:  Here is the video from the Council meeting starting at Item 8.
  • After meeting comments. Changes to ordinance passed with some modifications and will go into effect on 10-01-2012.
    • IT PASSED: 3:2
      • FOR: (Mayor Dean Ueckert was in support but does not vote unless there was a tie).
        • Councilman Neil Ferguson

      • Councilman Leroy Vaughn

      • Councilman TJ Gilmore

      • AGAINST:

        • Councilman John Gorena

        • Councilman Rudy Durham

         In the Workshop, it was evident that this was going to pass.  Therefore, I suggested some changes so that the ordinance would at least be fair.  If I was going to lose this battle for our Rights, then at least we should get the changes to be fair, right?  Here are some of the things that I suggested and why.

    • I did not want the owners of the business to get a $500 fine if someone was smoking and they did not FORCE them to stop.  There was no procedural method for the owner or manager in the ordinance.  I guess if the patron did not want to stop smoking then they could call the police.  Would they respond in time?  I already think that we do not have enough police officers and they are quite busy.  At $500 a pop, I wonder how many citations would be written?  The majority decided to keep that in there.
    • I suggested removing 'Administrative Area within a workplace' from the exemptions list.  I did not understand why an 'administrative area' within a workplace is any different than a bar or restaurant area.  The main reason that those pushing for a smoking ban was under the guise of "to protect the health of workers and customers from second hand smoke".  Is an 'administrative area' a place where workers will go?  I think the workers would go to an administrative area, I mean, since THEY ARE WORKERS!   DUH!  I really received back some ridiculous arguments in the workshop for keeping this in the exemptions list.  I do not understand their reasoning but can only assume it is a loophole because someone asked.  The majority wanted to leave the 'administrative area' exemption.
           Here is a loophole I image that can happen - ridiculous as it is...  Workers and customers apparently can go to the administrative area and smoke if the owner allows smoking in their 'administrative area'.   Also, it would be funny if typewriters were placed all over the bars and if a cop shows up, then everyone starts typing....  OK, I repeat, this is ridiculous but I see it just as ridiculous as the exemption. 
    • I suggested removing Bowling centers from the exemption list since, and again I repeat, the main reason that those pushing for a smoking ban was under the guise of  "to protect the health of workers and customers from second hand smoke".  A slight majority of us wanted it removed from the exemptions list.
           {Start Sarcasm Alert} WHOOHOO {End Sarcasm Alert}, it was removed from the exemption list, now bowling centers where families like to bowl will not be subjected to second hand smoke that they were forced to endure because they do not want to drive to an already 'smoke free' bowling center like Main Event in Lewisville on I35 who already had used their Rights to ban smoking on their property.  I support them to ban smoking on their property all to their property line if they wanted.
           As for the owners AFC Bowling Lanes, they had used their Rights to allow smoking.  Their Rights regarding this issue will end on 10-01-2012.  I would also like to say that people who bowled at AFC and complained about smoking were never forced to go there. They had the right to go to any of the bowling centers they chose.
    • I suggested that we keep things fair for businesses that had a patio and those that did not by eliminating all smoking on patios too - not just 5 feet from the door.  After all, smoke does tend to drift whereever non smokers are.  I guess there will be some kind of force field to keep smoke out of the smoke free zone.  The majority wanted the exemption to stand but they did change the distance to 15 feet from the door. 
    • Another change, they made the choice to change the 25 foot buffer from doors to 15 feet from doors and windows or vents or any openings to the building.


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