September 13, 2006

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Ah, the Platters. Nuff Said.

A bar called Orio's Roadhouse in Durango, Colorado is going to court. The local Dumb Ass District Attorney is trying to nail them for violating the state's Dumb Ass constitutionally questionable smoking ban. A judge had ruled a little while back that Orio's Roadhouse qualified for an exemption because a certain percentage of their sales were from over the counter tobacco products. The state law exempts cigar-tobacco bars & used a gross revenue minimum (5%) from tobacco sales to distinguish them from bars who wanted to claim the exemption to keep from losing their asses come winter. There was also a line in the state's idiotic law about humidor rentals being necessary to qualify for the exemption but a judge decided that it wasn't in fact necessary according to the state's dumb ass law.

I admit I have a bias. It's not that I smoke - I do but I generally don't like bars that much so I'd hardly be affected one way or another. It's that I used to be a musician. Do you like music? Enjoy seeing live bands? Ever had a girl you wanted to dance with but were too self conscience to fast dance so you asked the band to play a slow one? Well musicians get paid to keep people drinking (& hitting on each other which often leads or is preceded by much drinking). I occasionally played some nice stuff (mostly by accidental - sorry, old music joke) but I never presumed I was an artist. I was a highly specialized liquor salesman.

Anyway bar revenue directly impacts musician revenue (now there's an oxymoron) so if the bar didn't make money I'd make even less (like that was actually possible). This relates to the smoking ban very simply: bars are losing money.

I know waitresses who have had their income literally cut in half since the smoking ban kicked in. I know of a few bars that have stopped having bands altogether. I know quite a few musicians who are making less than they were a few months back (which was previously thought to be a mathematical impossibility). For myself I haven't had a gig since before the ban.

Rep. Mike May (the Colorado house sponsor), Sen. Dan Grossman (the Colorado senate sponsor) & Gov. Owens (who signed the damn thing as he proclaimed it a fiscal victory for the quasi-socialized health care system) are chief among those to be blamed when you're listening to a DJ or jukebox or worse- karoke (which from the Japanese means "musicians need not real wages") wondering if anyone will steal your very expensive drink while you brave the 15 degree temp to have a quick smoke. & to my knowledge none of the above are up for re-election but if they are then McCain-Feingold be damned - don't vote for those collectivist asshats.

Feckless bastards the lot of them. I sincerely hope they never hear anything played in key again. & may whatever chance of recreational sex they had before shrivel up much like their powers of constitutional comprehension have.

Section 3. Inalienable rights.
Statute text

All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Sadly the Section 3 argument hasn't been used to challenge the ban (to my knowledge at least). & most likely it would fail. Not because it's not a sound argument - something that materially effects my business like a smoking ban can be seen as a direct encroachment on property rights as well as a hindrance to pursuing a chosen livelihood - but because most judges tend to side with the government on such matters.

Still here's to hoping that Orio's Roadhouse emerges victorious & solvent. & it'd be nice if they managed to take a link of the chain off the rest of us while they're at it.

Posted by Publicola at September 13, 2006 05:44 AM | TrackBack

My favorite bar band back in Chicago (the Excuses, long disbanded) used to inform their audiences that the more we drank the better they'd sound.

Posted by: triticale at September 14, 2006 06:22 PM

My county actually passed that stupid ass law before the state passed theirs. Several obsevations from my favorite watering hole.

1. Bar bussiness is down by about 20%.
2. Walk-offs have increased as people say they are going outside to smoke but never come back.
3. Fights have increased as people go out to smoke and someone comes in and steals their seat.

And this is all at an Outback in frickin' Vail (actually Avon which is right next door).

Posted by: Brass at September 15, 2006 06:53 AM

First let me stAte that the anti-smokers have gone bonkers and are out of line. But then let me state that smoking makes me sick, my wife too. Her's is asthma, and my lungs do get messed up , plus my sinuses plug up and I get naushea and can't eat. We both were raised around smoking, but as adults we now can't handle it.

We were to the point that when we ent to eat in a cafe, we got at least somewhat sick from the smoke. It's bad when you can't even go out to eat. We were willing to give up bars, although we loved to dance, but haven't for years now.

They can still have the bars, as far as we are concerned, we don't have to dance. But eatting is another matter. One does not have the right to cause harm to others by their actions. And smoking is an immediate threat to some of us. I'm not worried about the development of cancer threat. But for your actions to immediately make me sick and deny me the right to go to a cafe isn't right. Smokers can smoke, just not in everyones faces. It does have an immediate affect on some of us. Mostly smokers are clueless. They have no idea of the problems caused. Let alone of the stench! My aunt who gave up smoking after years, asked how we ever stood her when she smoked. One has to go home after being around a smoker and wash the stench out of their hair and wash their clothes permeated with smoke. Of corse smokers lose their sense of smell and taste, so they don't know.

It is tough for smokers to relearn habits, when it's easier to just put their smoking off on everyone else.

Posted by: HKL at September 15, 2006 12:15 PM
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