Feb 17, 2005 – Letter to the Editor

Below is the text from a Letter to the Editor from Jeremy Ryan, Chair of Burlington Libertarian Town Committee

(Note: When the letter was written, the City council nearly passed the ban unanimously on Feb. 7th)

Regarding the smoking-ban extension to private clubs: Several of us
citizens at the last council meeting were shocked at the speedy
decision to ban smoking in private clubs. The smoking ban is an
offensive intrusion of property rights — it’s un-American, it’s
unconstitutional. A private club is just that, “private.” When
members are OK with smoking, can’t it be their choice? Can’t the
smokers have some bars? No. After the decision, we informed one of
the private clubs affected. They were disgusted to hear that the
council would decide their fate without inviting them to discuss it
and voice their opinion. Some members even didn’t believe the city
could do this to them.

Whether you’re a smoker or not, a member of a private club or not,
we as citizens of this great country must ensure that everyone’s
rights are protected to ensure that our own will be protected. Some
councilors and the mayor will argue it’s a matter of “public health.”
They are trying to create a “nanny state,” which protects us from
ourselves. We are increasingly prisoners of a hospital-like state.
There are a million things you can do to save more lives. We can
outlaw Big Macs if you want. Maybe that’s next. Lawyers have already
sued McDonald’s for “causing” obesity.

I urge the private clubs to fight it any way they can and I suggest
the City Council do the “honorable” thing and reverse this
unconstitutional ban that destroys the very essence of our freedoms.
Leave these choices to the property owners, business owners and

The writer is Burlington Libertarian Party chairman.

~*~ Vice Chair’s Side Note:
For more information about the ban, please visit:

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