Ban Battle Continues

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

The lunch rush is slower says restaurant owner Joe Klinzing, and he says smoking ban is to blame.

"We've already had lay offs, hours have been cut, we are bringing people in later," tells Klinzing.

He's put signs out front that read, 'The Ban is Bad for Business,' and is selling shirts inside saying 'Ban the Ban' to show his disapproval. Klinzing is not the only one speaking out, referendums are being proposed.

"A referendum will give every single alder the assurance that we are doing the right thing," says Lauren Cnare, the Alder for District 3.

And repeals are being debated.

Ray Allen with the Common Sense Coalition says, "I don't think there are the votes on the council to repeal the ban at this point and time."

Critics of the ban say one of the issues is that smoking is still allowed in surrounding jurisdictions, like the Town of Madison. Some say as long as that exist so will the battle over the smoking ban.

"You can go one stop light down the road, and you are at a number of Monona bars," points out Klinzing.

And because of that he claims liquor and beer sales are down 30% compared with this time last year. Those figures are fueling the fight in which some think a compromise is coming.

Allen says, "I think the end is going to be when the referendum comes up, whenever that vote comes out that will end the conversation because the people will have spoken."

Others are not as optimistic.

"The referendum is a stall tactic. We need to go back the city council, and we need 11 strong council members to stand up and repeal the smoking ban in the city of Madison," states Dane County Tavern League President, Barb Mercer.

A group against the ban is expected to gather to let Madison residents know how the ban is effecting jobs. That rally is scheduled to happen Tuesday night in front of Madison's Municipal Building.

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