As a citizen of East Ridge and a very active person in the civic and business community and a veteran of the United States Navy, I would like to share a thought that your recent action of total smoking ban in our city of certain areas could also be construed as.
I believe it is the honest intention of each elected and appointed member of our City Council and our city manager to uphold the charter and the state and federal constitution in the idea of the representation of all the citizens of our city. I believe also we are as a society moving toward a smokeless society. In doing so as we make changes, we should make these changes with the rights of our taxpayers first.
I believe that the recent action banning all smoking on what was said to be “city property” should take in consideration the discrimination of representation against smoking taxpayers of our city who assist in the funding of Camp Jordan. To accept the taxes from the smokers and spend on a facility where they have always been able to use in times past is now suddenly without any considerations of their rights is shamefully discriminating. Many of our citizens and veterans smoke who also use Camp Jordan.
The city chose to raise the occupancy tax for visitors coming to our city so our visitors could pay our debt. The city hired a well-qualified person to reorganize and maximize the use of Camp Jordan. "The city says the property at Camp Jordan belongs to the city and not the public”. Really?
In my job capacity of dealing with the groups who will be using Camp Jordan, those who I have talked with so far have stated to me their return will be based on the satisfaction of the overall membership of their organization. Those who I have talked with so far feel the city would be more successful in building Camp Jordan as a viable venue if designated smoking areas were offered.
Smoking has been a social issue from our history where we have evolved as a people to learn the health risks of its use. I believe the city does not want to have the reputation of a Gestapo management with the portrayed attitude to be the city leadership’s way or no way. I will first ask the city leadership to consider the rights of all its citizens and the rights of the visitors you want to attract to help pay the city’s debt.
My summary is as follows:
Let’s have designated smoking areas on the “public property” which is managed by our city services.
Let’s work together to maximize revenues at Camp Jordan which will also send visitors to rent hotel rooms, buy gas, fireworks and meals.
Let’s learn to attract and serve before we intimidate and eliminate opportunities of growth.
Let us not be a city of hypocrisy of saying how much we care about our citizens, our veterans and our visitors and then on the other hand discriminate against their taxpaying rights.
I will make myself available to meet with the city manager and our council to discuss this further if the city leadership desires.
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This is not about discrimination. I didn't write the law, but my assumption is this is about preserving the beauty of our city parks and protecting non-smokers from inhaling toxins.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have never thrown a cigarette butt - which takes decades to break down - on the ground instead of in an ash tray. But you can't deny the fact that the majority of smokers simply toss their butts into the grass without a second thought. It turns our parks into public trash bins. I cannot even count the number of times I have had to stop my babies from eating cigarette butts at Coolidge Park, the zoo or Warner Park Pool. I also do not want to walk myself or my children past a smoker, as second hand smoke is proven to contain chemicals that are harmful when inhaled.
As an adult, I fully support an individual's right to smoke. This is America. But I also have a right to be able to enjoy a walk around Camp Jordan... or the pedestrian bridge... or another public area without having to stare at trash or breath in toxins. In your own words, I find that being protected from that is very much caring about "our citizens, our veterans and our visitors."