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Smoking ban defeated without a vote

There may not have been a vote on the proposed smoking ban by the City Council on Tuesday night, but the defeat for the bill’s supporters was no less resounding.

With city staff and the city manager lined up in opposition to the Boulder City Smokefree Ordinance, along with many citizens, the American Lung Association asked the Council to withdraw the bill from consideration.

Unlike in March 2012 when the council asked the association to gather more information and narrow the ordinance’s focus, I believe the bill’s supporters knew a “no” vote from the council was likely. How would the lung association be able to push its agenda of banning smoking in other jurisdictions when the one town in Nevada without casinos, nightclubs, convention centers and strip clubs sent it packing?

Although city staff and city manager opposition focused on enforcement issues and business impact, public opposition was driven by rights: the rights of a business owner to operate how they see fit, the rights of smokers to gather and smoke at bars.

The city received 46 emails before Tuesday’s meeting, 45 expressing opposition to the smoking ban.

I believe that if you did a door-to-door poll of local residents, the majority would support a smoking ban. A poll taken on the Boulder City Review website found 62 percent of the responders supported a smoking ban.

Fortunately, that is not the type of society we live in.

While we elect our officials largely by popular vote, we don’t exist in an American society where pure majority rules every decision. French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville popularized the term “tyranny of the majority” in his 1835 book “Democracy in America” in which the majority pursues and places its interests in front of the minority group.

But America is, to me, about protecting the rights of the minority of those among us.

In the case of the proposed smoking ban, it was the right of the owners of the Backstop Sports Pub and the Inner Circle to continue to operate their businesses under current Nevada law. Patrons should smoke without local government interference.

I myself find smoking a disgusting habit. But it’s not illegal. I am glad this attempt failed, and I hope we don’t see it again.

Maybe in five or 10 years the mood against smoking will be so great that the change will come. Maybe the business owners will decide that allowing smoking is bad for business and will make the change on their own.

Maybe that change will never happen; that’s fine, too. I can vote with my feet and choose not to go to a bar that has smoking.

The reasons the lung association came to Boulder City, I believe are twofold. First, if the group could get the ordinance passed, there would likely not be a business owner or group with deep pockets willing to challenge the law in court.

Second, I think the smoking ban supporters looked at the City Council after the 2011 election and saw a council with four Mormons they thought they could sway. In the Doctrine and Covenants, founder Joseph Smith wrote that “tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man.”

While it didn’t come to a vote, if that was a strategy, it, too, failed.

Dotty’s purchase of Hacienda good for BC

It’s all about connectivity and deep player databases in the casino world, and the Hacienda did not have much of either as a stand-alone property.

A memorable three years overseeing the paper

This issue marks my three-year anniversary as editor of the Boulder City Review. It has been such an honor and a privilege to be the editor of the newspaper as it has tried to find its footing in your community.

All the praise and scorn could be yours

Call this a help-wanted ad; I would prefer to call it an opportunity. An opportunity for your voice to be heard beyond the loud continued noise of discourse.

Protecting businesses when bypass opens

State transportation officials told the City Council on Tuesday that the Boulder City bypass could open by late 2017.

Maybe drones could pay for new high school

I’ve got an idea to get the kids of Boulder City a new high school that’s crazy enough it might just be feasible.

Smoke ’em while you can because ban looms

A smoking ban ordinance that would prohibit lighting up in Boulder City’s “enclosed spaces” businesses was reintroduced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting with little discussion.

Criticism of police response surprising

A police response Friday that drew six squad cars to McDonald’s on Nevada Highway drew surprising, to me anyway, mean-spirited attacked on the boys in blue on this newspaper’s Facebook page.

BC schools by the numbers, not the hype

Boulder City residents like to pride themselves on the quality of the four public schools compared with the rest of the Clark County School District. You might say considering all the problems with the district, bragging about how good the schools are here comparatively is like bragging about having the tallest building in Topeka, Kan. Not really a strong pool to compare with.