Choice, Choice, Choice

RECEIVED Mon., April 18, 2005

Dear Chronicle, hey folks, etc.,
    OK. I'm stirred up! I'm an adamant nonsmoker who doesn't even like being around the stuff. My daddy died of emphysema. Don't get me started!
    Don't make this smoking ban stuff too complicated. I don't doubt the sincerity of the nonsmokers who write in that they would go out to nonsmoking clubs. My sympathy is squarely with them. This isn't Ph.D. dissertation stuff, rocket science, or high-IQ obscure philosophy. The music clubs of Austin have an incentive to be successful. Crassly put, they want to make a profit, or maybe even a killing. Choose your rhetoric. You say they're greedy, they say they just want to survive. As a professional musician playing in Austin I claim a small measure of greed and a large measure of fear of nonsurvival over this proposed smoking ban. But a music club will voluntarily offer a choice when it's good for their bottom line. Period! It's that cotton-picking simple!
    The Cactus Cafe is a nonsmoking live music venue. As a nonsmoking musician and occasional concert fan, I love to play there, go there! The short-lived Acoustic Cafe on Sixth Street was a no-smoking venue. If there's a market for more nonsmoking venues, they'll appear voluntarily. No laws needed other than the law of supply and demand. Many clubs have already invested in better ventilation systems and have outdoor listening spaces. If a club has a nonsmoking night, once a week, every first Saturday, or what-have-you, then the nonsmokers will choose to go on those nights; the club will be hugely successful; it will have more of the same, and other clubs seeing themselves left out will follow suit.
    Yes, but, what if it doesn't happen that way? Then that means there's a large measure of mendacity in what the nonsmoking voices are claiming they number.
    After many years of unsuccessfully trying to prove a health hazard in secondhand smoke, the true believers will never give up. They never do. But as for Austin's problem, leave it alone! Choice, choice, choice. Voluntary, voluntary, voluntary. Two great American words also found in the English dictionary. In 1938, the first government progressive enough to ban smoking in public places was Germany under the National Socialist German Worker's party. (Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? How about Adolf?)
Sincerely,
Slim Richey,
my guitar "smokes"!,
No. 9 in Electric Guitar, Music Poll '05
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