And.....reading this morning's DDT, I see that the restaurants are harping about the proposed smoking ban. I'd really like to tell Mr. Warren at Gus' Restaurant that I'd actually come back to his restaurant if he could get the smokers out of there. His waitresses are the worst offenders! My family enjoyed eating there after church years ago, but the smoke was so offensive, that we stopped going.
There is a non-smoking section in the back of the restaurant, but the non-smokers had to walk through the entire length of the smoking portion to reach it. And the waitresses positioned themselves at a table just outside the entrance to the non-smoking section and enjoyed the longest, foulest cigarette breaks imaginable.
A person can't even TASTE the food once the air has been fouled with all of that smoke. Lose the smoke, and I'll come back!
Unlike Greenwood, which banned smoking in ALL public establishments, Greenville has chosen to "selectively" ban smoking which has consequently made everyone mad. The non-smokers are mad because they still can not go to a downtown bar, restaurant or casino without being poisoned by second-hand smoke.
The owners of the more "family-oriented" restaurants are outraged that the government can dictate how they operate their business, while carving out "exceptions" for a privileged few.
So, who actually wins in this arbitrary smoking ban? Non-smokers? No, they are still restricted in where they can go for food and entertainment. Smokers? No, there will still be fewer places for them to pollute. Business owners? No, unless you are among the select few chosen to be exempt of the city's ban.
Is Greenville's smoking ban about protecting our citizen's health, reducing the number of tobacco-related deaths each year, or decreasing the spiraling cost of health care? Absolutely NOT!
It is about a spineless group of self-serving politicians who are too greedy to do the right thing. It is about keeping the "tax dollars" in the city coffers for pet projects. It is about MONEY!
Let's be realistic. Greenville casinos don't generate any tourism revenue for the city. They simply serve as convenient "clubhouses" for our poorest citizens to partake of their multiple addictions... tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Sure, if you banned smoking and "free" drinking in our casinos, they would probably disappear in six weeks. That alone should tell you why Greenville is giving them a "pass".
In the 15+ years that Casinos have plagued Greenville, what improvements have we seen as a result? Do they offer quality restaurants, shops, or other non-gambling attractions? Have they significantly developed the downtown infrastructure with streets and buildings? Do they offer shows and feature known entertainers that might attract some limited tourism? The answer to all of these questions is "No"... and yet the casinos' ability to sustain a profit seems to be paramount over our city's concern for the health of our citizens.
Greenwood took the high road, choosing to ban smoking across the board in an attempt to improve citizen's quality and quantity of life. Sure, some did not approve of the decision, but at least the decision was fair and equitable to all business owners alike.
Greenville chose the path of politics as usual, doling out pardons to those who contribute significantly to their personal and political gain. To paraphrase JFK...
"Ask not, what your local politicians can do for you; ask rather, what you can do for your local politicians."