Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

April 24, 2009

Ban Smoking in Bars? Betty’s Response.

Filed under: Food and Drink,Fools,Louisiana,Politicians — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:37 pm

My Betty is one who loves to write letters to lawmakers who step on our liberties. The other day State Rep Gary Smith introduced House Bill 844 to ban smoking in bars. This is her response to a wingnut Rep. who represents a very polluted place. I like it.


Dear Representative Smith,

Regarding House Bill 844 you state:

“I am just trying to take the next step and bring the ban to bars” as a way to combat second-hand smoke and the illness it causes, Smith said. “Twenty-five other states have done this, some of the more progressive states, and some of the more progressive cities have done this. . . . This takes another step in trying to create a clean-air environment.”

On the surface this “sounds” like a noble pursuit. It is not. The next paragraph of the article states:

“Smith said he is not including casinos or gambling riverboats in the ban because it would put the gambling outlets in the state at “a competitive disadvantage with Mississippi’s” gambling industry.”

So on one hand you are a noble crusader for clean air but on the other you are saying that profits (but only your friends in the gambling industry’s profits) are more important than clean air. What exactly does it take to get on your list of whose profits are more important than clean air? I’m sure that the bar owners of Louisiana , whose rights you want to trample on, would like to know.

I’m sure you have handed out numerous brochures about the dangers of second hand smoke, blah blah. The truth is we live in non-sterile world and to attempt to legislate sterility in our environment is both draconian and unrealistic especially when it is designed to target only Louisiana’s bar owners. This is a large group of small business owners trying to survive in a down economy. Thank goodness we won’t be threatening the profits of your gambling friends.

The truth is that if I and a group of friends would like to meet at a bar and lets say watch a New Orleans Saints game and some of them smoke they have to sit for 3 hours without being able to. But wait a minute, there is a solution , we can go to your gambling friends‘ bars to watch the game and smoke all we want because their profits are more important than the air you say you want to clean up.

You mentioned and I repeat:

“Twenty-five other states have done this, some of the more progressive states, and some of the more progressive cities have done this. . . . This takes another step in trying to create a clean-air environment.”

Here is the reality of that situation.

When we evacuated for Katrina we stayed in California which would qualify as one of your “progressive states” which has passed a no-smoking in bars law. When we went to any of of these bars you could see large groups of people standing outside smoking. I spoke to one bar owner about the law at which time he told told us that since this law was passed he has lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 7,000.00 to $ 10,000.00 per week and this was just one bar. Now lets take a guess at lost state revenues from all of the California bars who, in all likelihood, are having the same experience.

This law didn’t clean up anything, didn’t stop people from smoking and sabotaged revenues for both the bar owners and the state of California.

It is bar owner’s right to decide whether he or she has a non-smoking or smoking bar it is not nor should it ever be yours.

But since you mentioned a competitive edge with another state’s businesses, what about all the people who live in areas bordering other states that still allow smoking in bars. What would stop people from just going down the road to the other state where their rights have not been infringed upon and spending their money out of state? Nothing I dare say and how much lost revenue over time will Louisiana suffer. This, of course is anyone’s guess but I’m willing to bet it will be substantial over time.

Representative Smith, your House Bill 844 is shortsighted, ill timed, accomplishes non of your stated goals, will have a detrimental effect on small business owners statewide and cost the state of Louisiana much needed tax revenue.

The only group of businesses  this bill has any benefit for is your friends in the gambling industry.

Here are some other peoples comments from regarding this abomination of a bill:

To every smoker out there, pay attention. If you believe that this will end with the bars you are mistaken. Check out the progression of this legislation in CA and the other 24 states.

In CA specifically there are groups fighting to ban smoking in apartments, condos, multi-family dwellings and any residence that is close enough for a neighbor to smell the smoke. They are also trying to ban smoking in private vehicles.

Those that rant about socialism and marxism should be screaming about this whether they smoke or not.


Next thing you know they are going to tell us adults that we can’t drink alcohol in bars either.

Adults go to bars under their own free will and know that there may or may not be smoke there.

Is this going to be like “Demolition Man” and we will be stuck with Taco Bell?


Please, does Louisiana really have to join the growing ranks of nanny states? Grown adults can decide for themselves whether to smoke or not, and those who don’t want to patronize bars that allow smoking don’t have to. There are already several bars around NOLA that don’t allow smoking, and that’s fine. The state meddles in people’s lives enough… let bar patrons and owners decide for themselves.


Why NOT the casinos? It can’t be about money, can it?!

IF this ban passes, smokers and non-smokers alike should insist that casinos are included. If our government REALLY cares about the health of the people (and not the money) then ALL public places should be included. Let’s see how far this would get..

BTW, this message is from a smoker.


Rep. Gary Smith,

Make Norco smoke free first! And lets see how that works out for you!



There are many more just like these and you can read them for yourself at

Representative Smith we don’t need you as our Big Brother and we don’t want you as our Big Brother.

Do the right thing and rescind this fraudulent, ineffective and disgraceful piece of legislation before it does far more harm than good.

The erosion of our civil rights and rights of business owners has to stop somewhere. Stop it here. Stop it now.

Representative Smith, if you truly want to crusade for a cleaner environment I have some suggestions that will help you accomplish this without trampling on the rights of individuals and business owners state wide.

Lets take a look at your own district of Norco.

Using this legend I count:

3    discharges into the water system
14  Hazardous waste sites
1   Toxic release site
7    Air Release sites (and I know how important clean air is to you)
13  Sites which produce multiple types of discharges

Representative Smith, you have your work cut out for you. Since, as a representative your first duty is to serve the people in YOUR district Id say you should start cleaning up your own back yard before trying to mess up everyone else’s.

Best Regards,

Betty Anne Davis


  1. Smoking is different than drinking because it gets in other peoples’ space, and is very harmful. Rights end where they infringe upon others’, so equating smoking with liberties is a stretch.

    I’m not saying that bar owners shouldn’t have latitude to make those decisions for themselves, but I don’t think the burden should be on those who choose not to smoke.

    Louisiana has laws against smoking in most public spaces and restaurants, excepting bars, casinos and the like. Missouri, where I live, does not. One bar owner recently switched to non-smoking after he discovered that, despite not smoking, he had the lungs of a lifetime smoker. He’s actually had an uptick in business, because whatever clientele he lost from the ban he gained back in nonsmokers happy to have a place to have a drink.

    Just some food for thought.

    Comment by Ian McGibboney — April 25, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  2. Good argument. 2nd hand smoke stinks, but so does Bill 844.

    Comment by Brielle — April 25, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  3. Please help us with this issue.

    “Louisiana businesses should not have to shoulder such a fiscal burden during these dismal economic times. Our legislature should be looking for ways to support and encourage Louisiana businesses, not harm and possibly destroy them. Times are already tough enough without the government piling on.”

    Comment by Annie — May 15, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  4. Rep. Smith obviously does not recall what this country stands for. People settled on these shores because they did not want to be dictated to. And yet he proposes dictating to others… which is fine by him, because it affects him not.

    Soon, Mr. Smith, something YOU like to do may be on someone else’s hit list.. maybe it’s your morning coffee… someone who knows whats better for you will find all sorts of statistics that they can manipulate to convince the sheeple around you that it’s bad for your health and should be banned…

    The MEDIA have been complicit in the erosion of property rights – The “surgeon generals” report, and the EPA report it was based on have been proven to be false documents – documents where only data that lead to their desired end is used… but you’ve not heard one word in the Main Stream Media… There are exceptionally few instances where 2nd hand smoke can harm anyone (asthmatics are one case, but not all asthmatics are bothered by second hand smoke…). I’m not asthmatic, but some womens makeup and cologne scents just make me sick to the point of nausea.

    For those of you who care, you can see that in fact, the British medical journal did a 39 year study on 2nd hand smoke exposure… You’ll never hear it from the “I want to control your life” media or political class… but:

    Conclusions The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.

    You can read it yourself here:

    Sorry if smoke “offends” you, but liberty is not fractional. you don’t have a right to “not be offended”, because claiming that right necessitates infringing on the freedoms and rights of others. And contrary to popular opinion, the rights of a group (majority) don’t out weigh the rights of any single individual. Rights are not additive. If you believe they are, then, well, when those 4 guys take your money, I guess you’d better not report the mugging – because they had more right to it than you…

    Comment by bigjohn — May 17, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

  5. Not so much a comment on the article… the issue at hand… or the awesome letter written by Betty.

    No this is something different entirely…

    This is an old online friend saying hello and hoping that the memories are looked upon fondly… because rest assured they are on this end.

    I must say that I am quite pleased to see you two still active in terms of social issues and quite unafraid to state your honest and uncensored opinions about the issues at hand.

    That’s a quality I’ve always admired about both of you and it’s beyond pleasing to see that very issue quality alive and well.

    I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve been in contact with either one of you, do you two ever talk to Candice anymore?

    I have her in my email contact list and have been wanting to get in touch with her.. but in the end I’ve yet to do so, mostly due to the sheer passage of time that has taken place.

    I hope all is well with you both.. Morwen/Betty… you both were there for me during my younger formidable years and while I’m still not where I need to be (still have self esteem and depression issues at times)

    I am leaps and bounds better than what I was before meeting you two….Candice and the rest of the “night owls” all those years ago.

    I’ll end by saying this, I hope for this to be a new beginning and I hope to not lose touch with the two of you.

    It’s been awhile… a few years at least… if not more and I prefer to never go that long without talking to either one of you ever again.

    Tell Candice hello for me if you still talk to her and please keep in touch.

    Love you all,
    *Princess* (hehe) Kimmy

    Comment by Kimmy — May 19, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  6. almost forgot.


    Hope to hear from you two soon!

    Comment by Kimmy — May 20, 2009 @ 12:16 am

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