Democrats propose city-wide smoking ban mayor might support

Mansfield said that the ban will not be extended to social organizations, such as the VSW or American Legion.


After the last attempt ended with a mayoral veto, Indianapolis City-County Council Democrats think they've come up with a proposed smoking ban that answers critics' complaints of an ordinance too tough on private clubs.

"Basically we're putting together a compromise that the mayor says he will support," said Democratic At-large Councilor John Barth, "extending the smoking ban to bars and taverns but letting private clubs decide for themselves if they want to be smoking or non-smoking."

Mayor Ballard said he was okay with banning smoking in bars but didn't like the way private clubs were treated in a previous ordinance.

"I understand that they tried to do that last time and then they were egging to write embarrassing questions and frankly I'm not going to let these good people... I don't want them embarrassed," said the mayor. "If it's a straight forward question, maybe we'll go there. I wish they would leave them alone frankly but we'll just have to see what it says."

Barth said the proposed ban, which will be introduced before the council Monday night, would align the city with a recently enacted statewide ban, when it comes to the votes the private clubs can take among their members, but goes a step further by banning smoking in bars and taverns.

"It's not fair to smokers and non-smokers," said April Smith, bartender at the Catalina Bar on East Washington Street. "Smoking is a choice. If you don't want to be around smoke, walk away. If they pass this ban, I'm a non-smoker. It will put me out of a job."

Terry Steinberg, nursing a beer and a smoke nearby, agreed.

"Nobody will want to come in here then nobody will make money then the government don't make money because they don't get their tax money, nothing, when they ban smoking and stuff like that."

"That has not been the experience nationwide when we've had comprehensive bans in cities all across the United States," said Barth. "The experience of closing bars has not happened."

Wayne Roach added Mayor Ballard's name to the Catalina Wall of Shame for his support of a ban that still protects private clubs.

"I think anywhere where it's over 21 you should be able to do what you want to do."

Roach said if the ban is passed by the council and signed by the mayor, he'll still come back to the Catalina. He just won't stay as long or spend as much money buying beer.

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