By Jim Donovan
Resident, Del Mar
The night was Oct. 5, when Del Mar outlawed smoking on Village sidewalks. Despite the fact that smokers now account for less than 10 percent of sidewalk traffic, and despite the fact that the Village is located next to the world's most effective air conditioning system.
One council member said, "The science behind the effects of secondhand smoke is old and proven," but the facts indicate otherwise and no death certificate has ever specified secondhand smoke as the cause. The public has been conditioned to perceive it otherwise, which is understandable, but shouldn't more than perception be expected of our lawmakers before they restrict anyone's freedom?
Another member said, "It is our duty" to protect the public, but isn't that the reason given for all police-state actions? If the council is indeed duty bound, why shouldn't deputies be placed at all restaurants that serve alcohol so drivers can be sobriety-tested before endangering the public to a far greater extent than anything else it is subjected to? And why is there no concern for protecting the public from car, truck and bus exhaust, which is far more lethal than anything else the public breathes?
Why has only the easy prey of smoking been addressed? Obviously, because the council will not address difficult or unpopular issues and because the current majority places no priority on the protection of minority freedoms, which is inherently the biggest threat to the liberty we have taken for granted for more than 200 years.
So much for "it is our duty to protect the public."
Consider: 1) If moderate drinking has become accepted as a reality of life since the disaster of Prohibition in the 1920s, why shouldn't all legal behavior be viewed by the same yardstick, of moderation and tolerance? 2) Is it mere coincidence that the first nation to outlaw smoking was Germany in 1941, by edict of Adolf Hitler? (Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia)
It can only be assumed that the outlawing of smoking on public sidewalks will be enforced there by a Del Mar version of the Gestapo. But after the next step, when smoking has been totally outlawed in the city, what will be next?
I am a nonsmoker, but I shudder as I hear the sound of heavy boots outside my door.