Champaign has proven to be unfortunately run by stupid people who have decided to waste time and money, confuse the public, and contribute to sickness and death of its citizens. After years of working on a Clean Air Ordinance (aka city-wide smoking ban), it finally passed last year...and after months of silliness was enacted this past January 31st. That is great! I enjoyed going out to bars and clubs, hearing some great local music, eating without coughing, bringing my kids anywhere....well, that is all changing as of midnight today.
After a highly debated April election, the city council now has enough pro-smoking members to repeal the smoking ban for bars, clubs, and pubs...and last night the mayor put it on the agenda...and without discussion, it was repealed. And the change is effective immediately (not months later, like the ban).
How could this happen so fast? No study sessions? No lengthy reviews of health information or business reports? Why? We did that before....and it showed in favor of the smoking ban. Clearly, in the three months it was enacted is enough time to see if it is working or not (ignore that February was the coldest in many, many years). I am sure they asked every business in Champaign how they felt about it....I am sure they talked to the ER's and doctors to see if smoke-related illnesses have been reduced...I am sure they took a poll of citizens to listen to what they thought. Ya, right.
What is the silliest thing....Jan 1, 2008, the entire state will be going smoke-free!
Now, some bars did actually allow smoking at midnight, I'm sure. But other bars are staying smoke-free (way to go! actually, the most popular bars in downtown are staying smoke-free*). So, as a patron, you will have to do some research to find out which ones are and which ones aren't....that is for the next couple months. And Urbana is not changing...they are staying smoke-free.
I don't know why this issue makes me so mad. Besides I think the evidence is clear that smoking is bad (yes, 2nd-hand smoke kills)...I find that this whole issue has underminded the political process in town. They put so much into preparing for the smoking-ban, to repeal it in one night without anything seems strange. That people ran for city council solely on the idea of the smoking-ban (and won...you know who you are) is crazy. Aren't there other things the city has to deal with? And to spend the time on the issue, when the state already decided it....I feel like it makes Champaign look stupid....and frankly, I feel our mayor let the whole city down to better his own interests....he is a smoker and wants to smoke in public...who cares about the rest of us.
Well, for all you smokers, enjoy your last couple months of smoking out there...you won't see me around to stop you.
Champaign Bars staying smoke-free:
Billy Barooz Pub & Grill
Plus more, I'm sure, but call to check before patronizing