June 20, 2006

You know, nothing is ever good enough for extremists, for zealots, for the single- and simple-minded, and any reasonable person would have to conclude those labels apply to Philadelphia Mayor John Street.

As you've heard, the City Council last week passed an extension of the ban on smoking in workplaces to include most restaurants, bars, and taverns in the city, an issue about which Mayor Street has been carping for years, to the neglect of, among other things, all the corruption swirling about him, rampant street violence, and onerous taxes.

So he got what he wanted, right?

No. As of today, Street is saying he's not sure he'll sign the measure.

Why not?

According to KYW News Radio, among other local media outlets, "the mayor says he’s bothered by one key aspect of the plan -- that sidewalk cafes would be exempt from the ban, meaning outdoor diners could light up at will."

The horror!

Says the mayor, “People walking by could have an issue."

Well, yes, they could "have an issue," which might even prove messy, or they could just keep walking.

Mark my words, public parks are next.

[Post-publication addendum (June 21): Clarification: I am not opposed to a reasonable and agreeable expansion of the smoking ban to cover restaurants, bars, and taverns. What I find odd is that the mayor would be willing to veto the measure as passed by the city council because of the outdoor café exemption. Why not take what you can get now and move on from there? I still think public parks are next, and that's another story entirely.]


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