I bet you didn't know that
That's just one message I'm getting from today's Journal Star article about the start of a campaign to get local government to ban smoking in restaurants and bars
Historically, Peoria has held its own as a rough-and-tumble town.
Prostitution, for instance, was a widely accepted, yet illegal business in the city up into the late '50s, said Bill Adams, a town historian.
"Peoria was known as a wide-open town," Adams said. "This was a place where all the action was: gambling, drinking, prostitution, and all those sorts of things."
Next time I see a lady smoking a cigarette in a bar or restaurant, I think I go up and inform her of what anti-smoking activists think of her.
That's hardly the only insulting thing said in this article. Kathy Drea, director of public policy for the
"The city council or county board will always make a statement that it will never happen (in their town)," Drea said, adding "every single place that we've ever gone now has a smoke-free law."
When I broke this story a month ago, I quoted documents that reveal how closely tied the Peoria City/County Health Department is to this well-organized and not-very grassroots campaign. What restauranteurs are worried about is that even if the Peoria City Council says "no" repeatedly to these people, the allies of "Smoke Free Peoria" in the health department will make sure that any restaurant or bar that allows smoking will fail their health inspections, by taking points off for every ash tray they find that isn't spotless, for example.
Anyone who has owned or managed a restaurant -- or any business for that matter -- knows how arbitrary a health or safety inspection can be.
Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.