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It's the Law!

unless you threaten to sue, or something.....

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 05, 1996.

The Boulder City Council has now wrested the trophy from the claws of history. It is now, officially, ridiculous.

Despite one third of its members being absent, the Council chose an absurd issue upon which to override a vote of the people, and they opened the floodgates to legal horrors to absorb their time and your money into the future.

To wit, the people voted to outlaw smoking in all public buildings. At the Boulder Dinner Theater, actors smoked on stage during a run of a musical play as ancient, dated, and safe as the usual offering. Some patrons complained about breaking the law, and the city – correctly – forbade smoking. The theater tried to make it a first amendment issue. It was, and is, no such thing.

For an actor to say his inability to use an actual tobacco cigarette as a prop rather than cheaply available alternatives is a violation of artistic freedom holds no more water than saying an inability to use real gunpowder in prop firearms is a similar violation. That’s their business: deception and magic. Further, second hand smoke emerging from the stage is just as dangerous as that wafting over the back of restaurant chair. Third, actors aren’t exempt from the law.

Until, apparently, now. The Council, obviously peopled by those who either smoke or pander to those who do, has now caught itself in the cross-hairs of every advocacy clown possible. No matter how specific, how closely reasoned the amendment reads, the Council has said laws can be reduced in impact – despite public vote – simply by threatening a lawsuit. What lawyer, what smoker, can resist that?

A scary precedent and a dangerous one. The Council is not up to the job, and if the General Fund can’t be used to defend the will of the people, what is it for again?