Letters on smoking ban take Pioneer to task

       As a Westsider and a non-smoker, I am bummed that you wrote such a one-sided article about the state smoking ban. I have been to Maryland and California - both states with similar smoking bans, and love that I can go out to a bar without having to share in the smoke of inconsiderate smokers.
       I don't see how a smoking ban will have such a negative affect on the bars of Old Colorado City. I personally frequent Thunder & Buttons and will do so more after the ban is in effect, and will bring all my health conscious friends to enjoy a pint or two.
       I also support my representative, Mike Merrifield; as his constituent, I personally contacted his office in support of this ban. I also contacted Ed Jones' office, but he never got back to me.
       I love your paper; keep up the good work.

Jay Ferguson

       I was deeply disappointed by your coverage of the recent passage of the smoking ban. I found it unfortunate that you failed to voice the opinions of the average non- smoker citizen (like me) who is absolutely ecstatic about the passage of this bill! State Sen. Ed Jones seems unconcerned about public health and is clearly against majority public opinion on this issue.
       Why is it that a smoker, who only needs to step outside to enjoy a cigarette, should take precedence over an asthmatic out to see one of his or her favorite local bands? Why is it that your paper did not interview some average joe citizens about what they think?
       State Rep. Michael Merrifield is not alone in his concern for non-smokers to go enjoy a pint of Fat Tire or Laughing Lab without risking lung cancer! Like to smoke? Fine with me. Just step outside, breathe in the cool night air, and take a long satisfying drag. Dress like the Marlboro man if you want.
       I look forward to the ban taking effect. When it does, I intend to go out to Thunder & Buttons, take a long deep breath of smoke free air, raise a pint of Guiness to the sky and toast the editor of the Westside Pioneer! Other than that, LOVE your paper!

Ben Willman

Editorís note: (in response to the above two letters): We agree that no one but smokers like their own smoke. The points raised in the Pioneer article by Westside bar owners and elected officials focused on the governmentís power to take away business ownersí rights to control a legal activity on their own property.