Columbia Smoking Debate Smolders
The public packed City Council chambers to give the board an earful. Doug Brady has tended bar for four years in Columbia.
"McGinty's is favorably known as kind of like the Cheers-type kind of neighborhood where every body kind of knows everybody," he said. "It's a close-knit group, especially in the afternoon and through happy hour."
But, the City Council is considering a law that might keep away some customers.
"I honestly feel like we would end up having to close," Brady added. "This is fundamentally the most un-American thing I have ever heard of. None of the people that proposed this and, with all due respect, none of the people on this council have ever set foot in our bar."
But, that's only one side of the issue.
"We pride ourselves on being a healthy, progressive community," said Kim Dude, assistant director of MU's Wellness Center. "And yet, we allow smoking in our bars and restaurants? It doesn't make logical sense."
Another supporter of the proposed ban said, "New York, Minnesota, California, all of these places have banned smoking. It has been universal that, in bars, restaurants and activities, that the patronage has actually gone up 20%-30%."
If the City Council passes the smoking ban, many bar owners who oppose it said they'll find loopholes so they can still allow smoking.