Burning Questions About The Smoking Ban (10/17/06)
Last Thursday, Louisville's Metro Council finally passed an anti-smoking law that got rid of all the loopholes and exemptions.
Except one great big one for Churchill Downs.
Am I disappointed? I honestly don't know. I was never all that sure how the track should be treated myself.
Knowing a smoke-free Churchill Downs would have to operate in direct competition with the smoking environment at Caesars and the OTB in Clarksville did make me a little uneasy. Because if there's any institution this community can't afford to lose, it's the home of the Kentucky Derby.
But smoking ban supporters -- including me - have insisted all along this is a health issue. And the smoke at the Downs isn't safer than it is anywhere else.
We've insisted the smoking ban won't hurt business at bars or restaurants as long as they all play by the same rules. But is an exemption for Churchill justified because their primary competition is outside the city where the rules are different? Maybe. Maybe not.
Despite this single exemption, I'm confident the Council did eliminate a lot of health hazards.
Still, I have to wonder if those of us who are willing to accept this double standard are just a little too similar to the lady in the old joke that ends with the line, "Oh, we've already determined what you are. All we're doing now is arguing over the price."
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.