Smoking Petition

9 years 6 months 1 week ago July 09, 2007 Jul 9, 2007 Monday, July 09 2007 Monday, July 09, 2007 6:11:29 AM CDT in News

Sunday, a group of business owners took the petition to the public. This petition would essentially repeal the smoking ban.

The city doesn't have a nickel invested. But the business owners do have millions invested," said Russell Davis, a mortgage broker and says he has one friend who lost her business and her home as a result of the smoking ban.

He had heard about the petition - but never had a chance to sign it. Until he literally drove by it.

Providence and Broadway is one of the busiest intersections in Columbia and has seen countless protests over the years. With just 400 signatures to go, this group is hoping to convince enough people to pull over.

Otto's owner, Joel Thiel says he's seen more than a 30 percent drop in business since the ban took effect.

"A lot of our old clientele, we used to see them three four times a week. Now we see them maybe once a week. They don't stay as long because it's an inconvenience to get up, go outside," said Thiel.

Like Thiel's customers, Davis changed his habits.

"We now drive out of the county, we know people who drive out of the city, to buy our food and to go to night clubs because of this silly rule," said Davis.

If it gets the required signatures it will go to the city council for a vote. If the council votes against the petition it would go to the public for a city-wide vote. The petition's sponsors say the city council may have a different opinion after seeing the ban's effect. The city council passed the smoking ban by a vote of four to three last october. Thiel says they have about 70 signatures from their efforts on Sunday.

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