Monday, September 25, 2006

Mayor Street attempts to sabotage smoking ban with worst, most totally clusterfucked implementation scheme imaginable

In the months leading up to the beginning of the New Jersey smoking ban earlier this year (the ban went into effect on April 15, 2006, 90 days after the law was passed), the state ran an organized information campaign on how the new law would affect both consumers and businesses.

We don’t even live in New Jersey (whew) and we heard and saw numerous commercials on the radio and on television informing the public about the upcoming ban.

Contrast that with Mayor Street’s sudden decision to begin enforcing Philadelphia’s new smoking ban today. The administration has not reached out at all to the businesses likely to be most affected by the law, i.e. restaurants and bars, or disclosed all the pertinent information about enforcement to them or consumers.

Why? We have no idea. One would think that our mayor would want to facilitate Philadelphia’s transition to a non-smoking city. But then again, we’re not sure that we’ve ever totally understood anything Mayor Street has done.

And this is only the latest example of Mayor Street displaying just how poor a leader he can be.

The resources offered on either side of the Delaware River:

In Philadelphia, well, there’s a phone number (215.685.7495) and email address (healthdept@phila.gov) for consumers to use to register a complaint.

In New Jersey, there was/is a whole wesbsite, smokfree.nj.gov, with FAQs, brochures, downloadable powerpoint slideshows, smoking cessation information and a whole lot more that addressed consumers AND businesses.

Hopefully, Street’s Health Dept. can copy it or, better yet, frame it into phila.gov.

Meanwhile, restaurant and bar owners in Philadelphia are left totally in the dark and are understandably confused/frustrated:
Mike Driscoll, co-owner of Finnigan's Wake and a past spokesman for tavern owners, said he was surprised by the city's decision to enforce the new law so quickly.

"We certainly want to comply fully and were told to get our act in order by the end of the year," he said. "I think for courtesy's sake, at least the city should let the industry know what they're planning so we can take corrective measures."
And another:
Especially surprised is Stacey who owns [Race Street Cafe]:

“They should at least give us notice. You know what I mean? I'm not against the smoking ban at all. I'm really not. But I mean they should at least give us time to prepare for it and prepare our customers."
We agree.

Related:
No ifs, ands or butts: Mayor Street is not smart [DN]

1 comment:

Steve Ives said...

Aside from the fact that I smoke and by virtue am against the bloody ban, the entire process was a display of Philadelphia politics at its worst. A mayor and councilman, who were never the best of friends, butt heads over what in theory is a simple action. Mayor Street wanted to antagonize Nutter and he did that with his up-to-the-last-minute standoff and sudden spring of the ban on the public. Nothing in this was about "public health" (try image enhancement, it ended up being political posturing.

I'm still voting for Nutter even after having the opportunity to tell him to his face the ban is a bad idea and I'm glad Street's day are numbered. I fear what boneheaded thing he does next.