Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Nanny State Rules Proposed in NYC

New York City is contemplating extending its smoking ban to beaches and parks. The move is one of a few moves being contemplated by Mayor Bloomberg if he is reelected (heaven forbid) in November. The Daily Mail reports as follows on the latest extension of the nanny state in New York City

"If the proposals go ahead tourists could be fined for lighting up in Central Park, the 843-acre wilderness that attracts 25 million visitors a year, or ordered off the city’s seven beaches.

Health Commissioner Dr Thomas Farley announced the outdoor smoking ban as part of a huge dossier aimed at improving New Yorkers’ health over the next three years.

The plans also include ways of cutting obesity rates and drug and alcohol abuse."

New York City already has the most expensive cigarettes in the nation. Many see the latest move as an attempt to create the illusion that all other problems in the city have been solved, and that with the free time on its hands, the city can now work on smoking and other bad habits. What seems even more likely is that the proposed rules are another attempt to raise money through summonses.

Meanwhile Zagreb, Croatia has reversed its smoking ban after cafe and restaurant owners complained that it was bad for business AFP reports as follows.

"ZAGREB — The Croatian government unveiled Thursday proposals to water down new legislation banning smoking in public following a backlash from cafe and restaurant owners.

According to proposed amendments forwarded to the parliament, cafes smaller than 50 square metres (538 square feet) will be allowed to decide whether they will be a smoking or non-smoking location after meeting certain criteria.

Bigger cafes will also be allowed to have a smoking zone, provided it does not cover more than 20 percent of the establishment's overall surface area.

Since the law banning smoking in all public places was introduced in May, managers of cafes and restaurants say their businesses are being ruined."

The percentage of smokers in America has dropped due to increasing public awareness of the risks of smoking. legislation that mandates providing information to consumers also enables individuals to make wise health choices. People who must regulate salt or sugar, for instance find nutrition labels helpful.

The fad of sweeping bans on public smoking is deeply insulting to the public. In open spaces the only prohibition should be on littering. People should be required not to leave their cigarette butts on the street.

There has been a disturbing tendency in New York City of deals being made behind closed doors with city Council members to pass unpopular legislation, instead of listening to constituents. This has been one disadvantage of having a billionaire mayor. From term limits to the trans fat ban, New Yorkers are saddled with unpopular, patronising legislation. Democracy has become a sham as Mayor Bloomberg studiously avoids seeking popular approval for ideas he knows to be very unpopular.

We have had nanny state legislation shoved down our throats, as well as a repeal of mayoral term limits custom tailored to our billionaire mayor. We have a chance to enforce the term limits that were voted for in open referenda in 1993 and 1996 by the New York City electorate and repealed in 2008 by the City Council. The only thing that can be said about permitting Bloomberg to run again is that the deal was not made in a smoke filled room.

A billionaire can not be bought. That has been a selling point for Bloomberg as mayor. Unfortunately, a billionaire can buy a lot of influence, especially if he makes his billions in the news media. In eight years of Bloomberg being mayor, we have seen the will of the people treated as an annoying inconvenience. The latest extension of the smoking ban as well as Mike Bloomberg pushing through a run for a third term are clear indicators that our elected representatives do not feel they have to answer to us. Today's Democratic primary will yield a victor who can reject the political culture of indifference to the people. We have one last chance in November to vote for common sense in public health policy as well as the term mayoral term limits that were stolen from us by our city Council. It's up to us. I think the choice is clear Sphere: Related Content

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