In praise of the effort

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2002

I wish to thank certain community members who sacrificed their time and effort to address a potentially divisive issue in Juneau.

In May 2002 a group of individuals representing various interests convened as a task force to craft recommendations to the CBJ Assembly. Their task was to review Juneau's clean indoor air ordinance and decide whether the amended ordinance had produced an inequitable competitive climate against gaming enterprises. Operators of gaming businesses (pull-tabs and bingo), activists against public second-hand smoke, and a medical doctor/expert witness on public health met together in a spirit of consensus-building and problem resolution. I was present at part or all of every meeting as an interested public observer.

Indeed, at times there was disagreement and impassioned debate as to the recommendations that the group as a whole could submit to the City Assembly; however, members ultimately overcame the entropy of the issue and converged in agreement on two points:

1) Second-hand smoke debilitates and kills. This was the control mechanism for the task force's decision-making.

2) The current Juneau Smoking Ordinance would be fair if it were applied equally to all public businesses, such as bars. This would eliminate the competitive disparity between smoke-free gaming businesses without liquor licenses and those in bars where smoking is allowed.

The members of this smoking-charitable gaming task force spent many hours, including evenings, weekends, and warm, sunny days, on Juneau's clean indoor air ordinance vis--vis gaming businesses. I wish to personally thank them for their sacrifice, and look forward to our Assembly members' review of their recommendations.

John Stinson


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