John Plepel for Forest Park Commissioner

What is your vision for Forest Park? John Plepel is running for Forest Park commissioner and would like to use the site to tell you about where he stands on issues facing our village. However, he also hopes that the public will take this opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and views about the Village of Forest Park. Please join in the conversation.

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Location: Forest Park, Illinois, United States

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Smoking Ban

It is somewhat surprising to me that this issue has more-or-less “flown under the radar.” The decision on whether to impose (or allow the county’s ordinance to impose) smoking restrictions at bar and restaurants will be a delicate balancing act, weighing the obvious health & safety risks to patrons and employees against the rights of patrons to smoke and bar/restaurant owners to run their business as they see fit. Additionally, the potential revenue loss (if any) to bar owners and the village has to be considered to some extent.

What makes this more difficult for me personally is the fact that I am a nonsmoker. My first reaction is to say “yes, ban smoking anywhere that I may go,” because I hate coming home smelling like smoke. As a matter of fact, I think one of the reasons (though probably not the top reason) I don’t go to bars very often any more is because it is irritating to come home and have all my clothes and outerwear smell like an ashtray. That being said, I have to ask myself if it is right to impose my preferences on everyone else?

I have previously pledged to ask myself the following question before voting on any major issues if elected commissioner: “What is best for the Village of Forest Park?”

I believe what would be best would be to hold open meetings regarding the issue prior to voting on a new ordinance to ban or allow smoking. I would imagine that some of the bar and/or restaurant owners would be willing to participate in a panel. Presuming that most of the bar/restaurant owners are against the ban, we may be able to find an expert or activist in favor of smoking bans in order to balance the discussion.

As previously stated, I think that if I were not a candidate for commissioner, I would be in favor of a smoking ban. In the end, however, our elected officials need to be a voice for the people. This would be a topic in which my ultimate vote would be particularly influenced by public comment and research.

So, what do you think about this topic. As someone who believes that the campaign season should be dialog, I am very interested in your thoughts and views.


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