Paul Walter Commentary

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By Paul Walter

    GRANTS PASS, OR. It was around March 2001 when the Grants Pass City Council adopted a non-smoking ordinance. Prior to adoption, public hearings were held. One of the hearings that I attended was packed. There was standing room only. Opponents to this non-smoking ordinance outnumbered the supporters 2 to 1. The council meeting started at 7:00 PM. and lasted till around  midnight. The debate heated up when angry citizens and business owners voiced their concerns over the loss of free choice to run their private establishments as they saw fit. 

     "It's for the children and the elderly" cried one of the ordinance supporters, made up of mostly angry bureaucrats, lawyers and their friends. Many smokers and non-smokers voiced their concerns that city government was over regulating them to death. Included were complaints that it appeared this smoking ordinance was created as a revenue maker for the city at the expense of smokers and restaurant/bar business owners. One  opponent said,  "Smoke Police will have to be hired, creating  another bureaucracy".  Another said, "If you're so concerned about children's safety, why do you allow AIDS carriers to work in restaurants?". Yet another said, "If you care for children so much why don't you stop abortion?" All comments fell on deaf ears. The city council members pretended to listen but you could tell their minds were made up weeks, perhaps months, in advance. Meeting was held only because the law required it. They adopted the anti-smoking ordinance and fines were set for non-compliers. City Manager Bill Peterson (a smoker) read them off. They were between $50.00 to $500.00. Smoking was even forbidden in Riverside Park, except in a designated area. It's only a matter of time before the designated area will be forbidden as well, I said to myself.

    When it comes to violating peoples rights things have to be implemented in stages, therefore the people never catch on. 

    As a non-smoker my concern was for the loss of our rights and freedoms.  Eventually the time will come when smoking in our homes will be forbidden. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Grants Pass Daily Courier regarding this. He laughingly stating that this couldn't happen in America. Well it did. My prediction was right on target. On November 20, 2001, the Washington Post ran an article titled: "Smokers Told To Fetter Their Fumes" .  The Montgomery County Council approved one of the most restrictive anti-smoking ordinances in the nation. Stiff fines up to $750.00 were set for people who smoke in their own homes, if neighbors complain. Will the Grants Pass City Council follow suit? No question about it. It's only a matter of time.

    The designers of this ordinance, and other similar ordinances, have one common motive, to turn neighbor against neighbor and violate the sanctity of the home, period! Where I came from it's called socialism. Guess who benefits from people turning each other in? The attorneys and the courts! When people start turning each other in, the courthouse cash registers never stop ringing. Beside the landfall profit, there's community service (slave labor) to boot. Lawyers and judges laugh all the way to the bank. 

    What was the City Council's motive for even considering this intrusive ordinance in the first place? Everything was working fine. If the people didn't like going to smoking establishments, they didn't patronize them,  period. Everyone was free to choose. Is anti-smoking a national agenda instigated by radical environmentalists to stir up the people and destroy their eminent domain? This lie is sold to the unsuspecting public as 'It's for the children and the elderly'.

    This anti-smoking ordinance is really a smoke screen to conceal the theft of our freedom, pure and simple, not for the good of the public's health, as we're told. The City Council fell for the lie hook, line and sinker. Or did they? I thought that in 1776 a form of government was established that was 'by the people' and 'for the people'. Not against the people. To be free, people have to be eternally vigilante. Have we became soft and complacent? 

    Cities, counties  and states across this nation seem to be following the same drummer. Traffic cameras, child theft, seat belt laws, anti-smoking ordinances etc. Is there a central location where those mandates are drafted and coming from?

Paul Walter was born in socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. He and his family emigrated to America in 1959. He served 3 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and became a U.S. citizen in 1963. Owner of Walter Publishing & Research, he republished a 100 year old book titled The Coming Battle, the true history of our national debt. The book is currently in its 5th printing. E-mail