News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Siegelman should be free while appeal is pending
To The Daily: Thank you for your editorial on Don Siegelman. The man should be released from prison until his appeal. He has done no wrong and I am sure that after all the facts, the true facts, are brought out, he will be vindicated.

How is it that Mary Winkler, who killed her husband by shooting him in the back, is freed and Siegelman is still in prison? Does that make any sense at all?

Jan Watson

Law will protect nonsmokers
To The Daily: Decatur will take a bold, progressive step as the new smoking ordinance becomes effective Oct. 1. Few worthwhile things happen without some controversy and apprehension over what change will bring. This ordinance will help to protect those who choose not to smoke from the dangers of smoke exhaled by those who choose to smoke.

Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of toxic or carcinogenic chemicals, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. Annually in the U.S., secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers. Twenty-two states have passed laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Predictions of economic demise and lost business have not been realized.

The Decatur ordinance does not prohibit an individual from smoking. This is a personal choice. It merely ensures that a person who chooses not to smoke is not exposed to secondhand smoke simply because he or she chooses to visit a public area, or to patronize or be employed by a city-licensed business. Secondhand smoke in the workplace — whether an office, restaurant, or bar — creates an employee health risk, and no one should have to choose between job and health.

Thank you to Billy Jackson and David Bolding for their courageous support of this ordinance. Thank you to Joy Rhodes-Watkins (Alabama Department of Public Health), to Debbie Davis (American Cancer Society), and the many Coalition for a Smoke-Free Decatur volunteers for their unyielding pursuit of a smoke-free Decatur.

And finally, thank you to Mayor Don Kyle, who recognized that the overall public good outweighed possible concerns.

Ronny Russell
Decatur City Council

ĎIn its wisdom, the
council knows bestí
To The Daily: Welcome to Berkeley, Ala. How fortunate we citizens of Decatur are to have a City Council that protects us from ourselves by passing a no-smoking ordinance. Never mind that the council session for public input (three speakers for and three speakers against the ordinance, and a three minute time limit per speaker) was a travesty. In its wisdom, the council knows best. Pass a compromise ordinance? No. That would lessen the councilís ability to be (self) righteous on this issue.

In the past, we could choose to patronize a restaurant that allowed smoking or one that did not allow smoking. Now, there will be no choice. Oh, happy people to have such a matriarchal City Council to watch over us. What will come next? Roadside checks to make sure we are using enough sunscreen?

The next elections canít come soon enough.

William Allen

People, not government, responsible for health
To The Daily: I am not a smoker. But I do know hundreds of places I can go that are perfectly safe. I am really baffled by the people demanding the city government ensure their health.

I have also noticed several of the people running the picture ads against smoking are somewhat overweight, which is the leading cause of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

Should the government put a ban on what you eat to ensure your health? No oneís health is assured by anything done by the government, but it is easier to pass the problem to them than to actually take control of your own health issues.

Come on people — take some responsibility for your own health instead of waiting for someone to do it for you.

Bonnie D. Myhan

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