Decision on petition to repeal smoking ban could be this weekend

Monday, November 5, 2007 | 4:38 p.m. CST; updated 5:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The verdict on a petition to repeal Columbia’s smoking ban might be in as early as this weekend.

City Clerk Sheela Amin estimates the petition has between 2,700 and 2,800 signatures. The number of signatures required by city charter is 20 percent of voters from the past municipal election. In this case, that number is 2,580.

Amin must certify the petition’s signatures before it can be introduced at a City Council meeting. Signatures are considered valid if they belong to a registered voter.

It is then up to the council to either repeal the ban or send the issue to a general election. If certified, the issue could appear on the April 8 ballot.

Local business owners Joe Thiel of Otto’s Corner Bar and Grill and Betty Hamilton of Tiger Club filed the petition last week. Thiel thinks the ban is responsible for the closure of several Columbia businesses and a decrease in his own business.

The council approved the ordinance instating the ban by a 4-3 vote on Oct. 10, 2006. The vote took place after five hours of public comment and debate by the council, and the ban took effect on Jan. 9, 2007.

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Ted Picraux November 6, 2007 | 10:18 a.m.

The smoking ban is great. I love coming back to Columbia, every monnth with friends and staying a hotels, eating at smoke free places. People who smoke are the most rude people. The smoke fills every corner of a business whether or not they have a ventalator or not. If Columbia allows smoking again. My money will go elsewhere. Maybe I should sue the business owners that organized the petition!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 6, 2007 | 11:01 a.m.

I sure would love to see the legal reason you would use to sue someone following the options granted to them under the city charter to repeal an ordinance. It's funny how some non-smokers in Columbia are the most intolerant people I have encountered.

(Report Comment)
Pam Pochel November 6, 2007 | 2:06 p.m.

This is all about personal owners who chose to allow or not allow smoking and patrons that have a choice on where they want to spend their money.

Ted, if you don't want to spend your money in a smoking establishment, then don't! And if a business owner wants to say to his employees, this establishment is going to smoking, you now have a choice whether to work her or not, it's now their choice too.

Even if it goes to the polls, the smoking ban will stay in place. It's funny, Columbians who don't smoke will vote in the ban, but they don't dine out often and the smokers who keep these restaurants in business won't go to the polls. Typical.

RIP Everett's...the good ol' boys that kept that business going, really are eating in the county now that they can't have a cigarette after lunch...and that makes me extremely sad. Booches still isn't the same...

(Report Comment)
Heather Crawford November 6, 2007 | 8:22 p.m.

The smoking ban was one of the worst things that a college town could do. People have lost business and there have been more home parties that keep working people up as a result. The freedom to smoke or not to smoke is anyones right. If you choose not to go to an establishment just because they allow smoking that is your freedom. So if the non smokers of Columbia have freedom then where is the equal freedom due to the smokers of Columbia?

(Report Comment)

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