Anti-Smoking Laws Impose on Rights of Business Owners

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 11, 2010

Dear Editor,
    In response to the "Postmark" by Kristin Casey (published Jan. 8 regarding Austin Powell's article "Off the Record," Music, Jan. 1): So, Ms. Casey, you felt the need to retort to Mr. Powell's article, wherein he utilizes his power of free speech and shares his opinion regarding the demise of a business (Room 710) which has recently closed. Ms. Casey, your retort is unnecessary due to the fact that your position is already solidified – tobacco use is outlawed in enclosed places in the city of Austin. You and your minority have won through City Council vote – be happy about it. You make a ridiculous analogy of equating secondhand tobacco smoke to bleach and/or rat poison being sprayed into people's faces. The point that Mr. Powell is attempting to make is that business owners in our so-called "free democracy" should have the ability to choose their demographic. The technology for air filtration to the utmost level of exonerating the air of carcinogens within each hour has existed for 20 years. Legislation can, and could, be made to take into consideration that business owners have the right to run their businesses as they choose by providing filtration to a level pursuant to health standards chosen and legislated, especially concerning adult-oriented venues, such as nightclubs. However, the reality is that an agenda has been decided by a minority who has found and utilized an effective way to push that agenda. I am in support of legislation that allows business owners to choose their demographic and how to best suit the needs of their patrons whilst still providing a healthy environment for their employees. This compromise exists, Ms. Casey, yet "self-centered" people such as yourself choose to continue to impose your own belief systems on the rest of your community. How many times, I wonder, have you frequented any nightclub in Austin within the last year? Bottom line is that business owners understand their patrons' needs and shouldn't have to conform to an agenda of people who have no intention of ever patronizing such an establishment. Kudos to the Chronicle for printing a free thinker's viewpoint such as Mr. Powell's!
Lauren Mueller
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