Get ready for another round of talks on Columbia’s smoking ban.
More important than perhaps the action itself, the petition could bring about a trip to the polls for Columbia’s voters.
The Clerk’s office requires 2,580 signatures for the petition to be certified. If the petition is accepted, meaning all the signatures are proven valid, then the City Council must either repeal the ban or send the issue to the voters.
City Manager Bill Watkins said the ordinance would probably be introduced on the Nov. 19 agenda, with a vote possible in April.
Thiel cites business losses as his primary motivations for repealing the ban.
“I’ve seen a 35 percent drop in my business this October compared to last year,” Thiel said. “That’s pretty significant. We’ve already seen lots of places close because of it. I understand there are a lot more layers to the onion. But to sit there and add one more layer of grief for business owners?”
According to Thiel, eight Columbia businesses have closed which cited the ban as a reason. The list includes Columbia Billards, Rack ‘N’ Roll, Lou’s Palace, Bull Pen Cafe, Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub, Trattoria Strada Nova, Old Chicago, and Classy’s Restaurant.
In another interesting twist, Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade and Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala were not on Council when the decision was made last October. Former Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Loveless voted against the ban, while former Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton voted for it. Wade could not be reached for comment. Skala, in a previous Missourian report, said he would uphold the ban.
For more information on the smoking ban, check out this story, and others on the Missourian website.
How do you feel about the smoking ban? Is it a breach of personal choice, or, is it good policy for protecting pubic health? Do you feel it is to blame for some of the city’s lost business?