One of the first responsibilities a local government body has, is to provide for measures that provide a safer environment for the community. To this end, appropriate policing, fire services, and public infrastructure is managed.
Aside from this, a council or governing body might provide for a number of ordinances that also enhance the safety and well being of its citizens. Some will be restrictive, and some might guarantee access to services provided by the local governing authority.
A couple of years ago Traverse City passed a smoking ordinance at “beaches, picnic shelters and playground areas”. And according to a Record Eagle Article Oct 20 2009:
Commissioner Ralph Soffredine said it was a move in the right direction, but wanted a more restrictive measure to ban all tobacco in city parks.
“I think we had an opportunity to take a stand and we failed to do that,” Soffredine said. “It does take us a step further toward handling this health problem.”
Commissioner Jim Carruthers voted against the smoking ban because he thought smokeless tobacco should also have been included, he said.
Commissioner Carruthers voted against the ban because it did not go far enough by controlling a personal choice to use smokeless tobacco.
They both were quite obviously concerned with the health risks associated with tobacco use that the question of limiting a personal lifestyle choice would be easily be answered with further legislation and restrictive enforcement of THEIR WILL over the citizens in the community.
And along with the national anti smoking crowd which also shared the fear that acceptance of tobacco would do damage to our youth, they should be pleased that even Joe Camel, the cartoon advertisement for RJ Reynolds can no longer be used to promote such bad behavior.
Because it is a health issue.
What is interesting however, is the disconnect between concern for that ONE adult behavior, .. and another.
What is curious is the disregard for the health and mental well being of our youth exposed to another dangerous activity.
What is amazing is that the disconnect and disregard are bad enough, but the active promotion of what even the local paper recently called a “lifestyle choice” became codified law here in Traverse City.
The activity that has absolute health risks well documented by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) now carries the protection of law in Traverse City. Not related to its application, but merely by the identity associated with its application.
Abusing such protections offered through anti discrimination to those who are born of a certain color, gender, or are encumbered by handicap, TC Commissioners have taken it upon themselves to put at risk the community they serve.
By elevating an activity based identity, TC Commissioners have actively promoted the idea that such activities are “normal” and generally accepted to be on par with true human equality measures.
And while our kids were watching, commissioners said “its not only OK to be that way, but we will punish anyone who disagrees with us.”
I would encourage voters to consider whether the ordinance questioned in proposal 1 is a legitimate application of law.
I believe it is not.
And when looking at statistics that year after year ( I had included in this as a handout for those interested) demonstrate the risks involved within the parameters of the activity based identity that is being protected, I for one wonder how this commission ever came to the conclusion that it was.
I was disappointed in the lack of critical thinking when it was adopted, and I hope to see this ordinance fall tomorrow.
It sends the wrong message to our youth, and will engage our citizens in a divisive fight for years to come.
Not because there are those of us who would limit the application of adult consensual activities, but because we would just as soon not have our government elevate it.