To The Editor:

How can the Washington city councilmen feel proud or good about themselves for passing the smoke-free Washington law without giving the citizens their right to vote?

Is this not America where the citizens should be able to have a say-so? One of the councilmen was contacted about this and his response was that it would cost $30,000 to have it put to a vote. Didn’t realize that there was a price on democracy.

Furthermore, I would put a hefty bet that the councilmen are nonsmokers and that is why it was unanimous. The meeting that took place about smoke-free Washington was not on the agenda until the last minute so the people who would have liked to attend and voice their opinion (objection) were not there because they didn’t even know it was taking place until it was a done deal. Very sneaky.

The Washington Missourian stated in its Jan. 26-27 edition that one representative from the VFW supported the issue. That is one member, what about the others who are members of that club? That also applies to the American Legion. These are the people who fought for your freedom and you’re going to tell them they can’t smoke? Shame on you.

The paper also stated that you had 1,800 signatures for the smoke-free law. Was there a petition submitted to the citizens against smoke-free Washington? I guess the answer to that would be no. Also stated was that businesses were approached. Did you approach the bars who will be hit hard when this goes into effect? That is another no answer. Most places that were approached were smoke-free environments to begin with so that was a thumbs up for you.

The bars and private clubs will be hurt when this law goes into effect since people will probably go to a nearby city that allows smoking. Do you want to put these places out of business especially one that has been in existence for many, many, many years? As a matter of fact, it was in Washington when there were spittoons on the floor.

People like to get off work, sit down, relax and have a drink and smoke, not having to go 20 feet away, and now you’re taking that away from hardworking people. As far as private clubs are concerned, if the members want to bring a guest, all they have to do is tell them it is a smoking establishment, then it is up to the guest if they want to enter or not. They have a choice, smokers will not since you decided that for them. This also applies to the bowling alley since most people will go to Union. Give these places a break, it’s the right thing to do.

St. Louis does exempt bars from their smoking ban. Look it up. What’s wrong with Washington allowing this? Since apparently chew is not in the ordinance, maybe everyone will take up chew and spit on the sidewalks and streets and maybe one of the councilmen will be sitting in a restaurant eating and someone at the table next to them will have a spit cup.

Is that better? Think about it.