Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
by David Stanowski
14 December 2009
The following comments were submitted to GCDN for consideration as a Letter-to-the-Editor on 14 December.
If there is one thing that I dislike much more than cigar and cigarette smoke, it is the loss of freedom and property rights; things that are supposed to be protected under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions!
It is constitutional to impose regulations on businesses that reduce their revenue, even if the regulated activity has no effect outside of their businesses, if the taxpayers, not the businesses, are forced to pay the cost of what is being done in the name of the so-called public good. However, if the businesses are forced to bear this cost alone, it violates the Fifth Amendments Takings Clause.
Furthermore, if City Council was really concerned about the impact of secondhand smoke on public health, they should have made it illegal to smoke in all hotel rooms, in tobacco shops, outside anywhere within 50 feet of another person, in any residence where a non-smoker resides, and for pregnant women to smoke.
Targeting only the areas in and around certain businesses for a smoking ban appears to discriminate against one class of people; bar and restaurant owners. That sure seems like a civil rights violation! The unconstitutional acts of City Council have created a great deal of potential costs for the legal fees and judgments that could arise if these owners sue the City, and the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill!
I wonder if the ACLU will take this case?