We've been concerned about this from the beginning. The implications of government stepping in to save you from yourself, your habits, your choices, are absolutely staggering. (Read our take here.) In fact even anti-smoking advocates have been somewhat tepid in their reaction to the mayor's executive order.
Nathan Bush of the American Cancer Society said Albuquerque's ban "is the broadest measure that I've seen in New Mexico that addresses outdoor areas." - ABQ Journal (Subscription Required)Bush went on to term the ban a "prudent step." Prudent step?! You'd think that the Cancer Society would be jumping for joy! Perhaps they understand that from a public perspective banning outdoor smoking is going too far; taking away one too many freedoms.
But let's assume for a moment that the mayor is right... that it's possible to harm another's health by smoking a cigarette or a cigar while outdoors. Why would you exempt any outdoor public spaces regardless of how fast the smoke dissipates?
The answer could be simpler than you think. Golf is an expensive sport. The city makes quite a bit of money from golfers playing the city links. The nature of the sport also dictates that golf devotees (or addicts) have large amounts of expendable cash. Could it be that Marty is exempting those who are most likely to write a check to his campaign?
City parks, the zoo, and even Civic Plaza, are not all that different from any golf course you care to name. Most of the time, they're not crowded so dissipation really isn't an issue. However, the mayor probably doesn't get all that many checks from Summerfest attendees.
All of which makes us wonder... is this really about dangers or dollars? The mayor is obviously currying favor with the vociferous anti-smoking crowd. Yet he's not quite willing to anger a demographic that by definition, has a lot of potential campaign cash.