In my entry from June 6, I stated quite clearly that these current Duluth City Council members were in dire need of replacing; Gary Eckenberg, Greg Gilbert, Lynn Fena, Ken Hogg, Russell Stewart and Donny Ness. Only one candidate is up for reelection this coming Tuesday (Greg Gilbert). For his part in co-sponsoring the "enhanced" Smoking Ban ordinance in Duluth (by the way, the only thing enhanced in this ordinance is the level of the bullshit supporting the concerns of the Antis, or anti-smokers), it's time to send a message to the City Council and remove him. Gary Eckenberg would also have been up for reelection but declined to run, doing the pro-business people in Duluth a huge favor. Neill Atkins in running in this district, and we like his past experience as a member on the City Council. His pro-business stance and ideas also ring very true for us. He deserves to be on the City Council.
Pat Spott is the obvious choice to replace Greg Gilbert in the Second District; he's running hard and well and understands full well how, in this down time in the economy, the last thing we need is any ordinances which will put more of our local citizens out of work. Something which is obviously lost on Greg Gilbert.
For the same reasons just mentioned, Duluthians are implored to vote "No" on both Smoke-Free questions on the ballot. The first question asks if you support the current ban. While it is somewhat less restrictive and anti-business than the revised ban, it still places a burden on Duluth's restaurants.
The second question concerns the revised ban which was voted in favor of by the City Council last summer. A "Yes" vote here will cause serious economic hardship to Duluth restaurants, not to mention bowling centers. The committee looking at Duluth as a venue for a state bowling tournament has stated quite clearly they will not consider Duluth if the revised, more restrictive ban passes. Now, even if you don't care about losing the economic boost hosting this tournament would mean to Duluth, you should care about the mom-and-pop restaurants which would be affected, with many having to close under this ban.
Anti-smoking forces have a greater plan than this and they are being more than slightly dishonest if they claim otherwise. They are flooding the News-Tribune with letters at this late date. They are calling folks on the phone, imploring them to vote "Yes/Yes" for the sake of the children. Baloney. Pat McKone and the others who are professions in this game understand that each victory means more funds to carry their crusade to the next town or city. Cloquet has already caved in. St. Cloud and Rochester said "forget it" to a smoking ban. Fergus Falls overturned their ban as have other cities nation-wide. This smoking ban is not a done deal in Duluth, not by a long shot.
Anti-smoking forces also speak glibly about such things as "level playing field". This is simply another lie which they like to espouse. Hermantown, Proctor and Superior are right next door and you can believe they would much appreciate gaining the additional restaurant business should Duluth further tighten the noose around smokers by what amounts to declaring them second-class citizens. Their garbage might work on the uneducated who believe "studies" which have never been proven due to a variety of faults regarding how the studies were conducted and their results compiled. The educated know better.
Get out there and vote on Tuesday, November 6.
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