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March 04, 2005

Cleaner Air Coming to Austin?

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

So Austin may have cleaner air coming to it, in two different forms.

First, the Daily Texan reports on the city council passing a resolution in support of hybrid vehicle incentives. Huzzah to the locals thinking like this when the folks in DC putter around debating the existance of global climate change.

Roger Duncan, general manager for Austin Energy, pointed out the economic, environmental and national security benefits of pushing for hybrid "plug-in" vehicles. Such vehicles would reduce the city's fleet costs and help protect air quality, Duncan said. Nationally, the vehicles would wean the country from its dependency on oil, he said.

These vehicles are different than hybrid vehicles currently on the market, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, Duncan said. The vehicles available for incentives would run on mostly electricity and alternative fuel, such as hydrogen, corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, bio-diesel fuel and electricity, according to the Gas Optional Vehicles Report prepared by Austin Energy.

"It's the electrification of the transportation sector," he said.

Secondly, the Texan also reports that the Smoking Ban Ballot Initiative will indeed be on the ballot May 7.

The current city law permits bars and restaurants with permits to allow smoking. The proposed ordinance prohibits smoking in all bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, billiard halls and live music venues.

Paul Silver, owner of the bar 219 West, is part of a group of entertainment business owners who filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday, questioning the legality of the ordinance's language...

He said all the "funky little places" would definitely close, especially those along South Congress and Red River.

"Small bars aren't sitting around with cash," he said. "Any blip in their sales, and that would be the end of them."

The anti-smoking petition was pushed by Onward Austin, a coalition of health and community organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The next big question here will be where do the city council candidates fall on this issue since they have to deal with it now. I don't see many of them jumping on the smoking ban bandwagon except for maybe Margot Clarke (who just won the Sierra Club endorsement btw), and certainly not Gregg Knaupe for reasons I have already mentioned.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at March 4, 2005 01:49 PM | TrackBack


Fuck the smoking ban.

Secondhand smoke DOES NOT KILL PEOPLE. It is a myth that schoolteachers and other do-gooders have perpetuated in the name of discouraging smoking. Good for them, but for those of us who do smoke, we are harming ourselves and nobody else.

This ban would be a disgusting new restriction of the rights of business owners and smokers. The smoking ban has already hurt Austin businesses, if we can't smoke in bars it'll just be another nail in the coffin. Live Music Capitol no more.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at March 4, 2005 04:14 PM

The same worthless crap was spewed by smokers when the original restaurant ban was passed (after the 'free' market failed to deliver any real non-smoking dining choices for decades despite most diners not being smokers).

The same worthless crap was spewed by smokers when the LA and NY bar bans were passed (after the 'free' market failed to deliver any real non-smoking club choices for decades despite most patrons not being smokers).

Here we go again.

Posted by: M1EK at March 7, 2005 10:55 AM
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