The call for something to be “banned” should be the start of a mature and constructive political debate, and not the end of one. Perhaps the time has come to ban just banning things.
- David Allen Green
So, okay, the Attorney General says there is too much violence on tv and that should stop. But even if you took out all the violent shows, you could still see the news. And so until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there's no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value. Thank you.
- Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) taking the anti-tv censorship position in debate class in "Clueless"
So, okay, I'm guessing you're wondering what the David Allan Green quote and Cher Horowitz's debating skills have to do with the Manhattan Beach City Council.
Well, last Tuesday, Council, on a 4-1 vote, approved a citywide ban on the sale of tobacco products in Manhattan Beach and, needless to say, I'm like totally buggin' Not because I need my smokes - I don't smoke, I'm pretty straight-edge and besides smoking is wack (yes, we're giving props to '90's slang, 24 years after Clueless' debut on the big screen).
But where does it all stop?
What about alcohol? A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that alcoholism afflicts 1 in 8 American adults (not drinkers but all adults), with the authors noting that alcoholism is a significant driver of mortality from a cornucopia of ailments: “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries.”
Red meat? Sugary drinks? Processed foods? Gas appliances in new homes (yep, banned in Berkeley and the idea has even made its way into the conversation in Hermosa's City Council)?
But you gotta love how our City Council members attempt to rationalize the harm an all-out ban on tobacco sales will do to some of our local mom-and-pop retailers, one of whom is prepared to file suit against the city. In the process, their rationalizations of this gross overreach sound like a cross between the rhetorical skills of Clueless heroine Cher and the vacuous Q&A responses of a teenage beauty pageant contestant ("If we would all be a little nicer to each other, we could have world peace").
Some examples, over the course of several Council meetings, and their pageant nominations:
"My intention, I'm not being insensitive to small business owners, I am a small business owner. As Suzanne Hadley would say, I'm a little guy myself. A 25-year business owner....So I'm very careful about banning things."
(Translation: I'm just like you small mom-and-pop retailers, we're comrades, compadres, amigos. Except that a majority of the Council, including me, is about to screw your business, not mine, with a ban on tobacco sales).
Nomination: Miss Congeniality.
"We all know if we looked at the world we want to see, we know that we would want to see a world that's absent smoking."
(Translation: My mandate is not about doing good for Manhattan Beach; it's about fixing the world's problems and feeling good about myself in the process).
Nomination: Miss I-Have-A-Dream.
Steve Napolitano, arguing, with truly stunning insight, that there's no comparison between banning cigarettes and banning another deadly substance, alcohol -
"If alcohol was just like tobacco, though, it would be called tobacco and it isn't."
Nomination: Miss Logic.
"We're not trying to be kings or dictators, we're trying to do what is right for the public health."
Nomination: Nanny-State Czar.
But, at the last City Council meeting on December 17, Councilmember Suzanne Hadley observed that, due to other anti-smoking initiatives previously passed by Manhattan Beach, smoking is down dramatically in Manhattan Beach, which prompted this amazing exchange between her and Mayor Hersman, pictured above -
Hersman: "As far as the cigarette sales, they are actually going up if you read some of the other stuff that's in the research, in other countries around the world cigarette smoking is actually increasing so it is a problem everywhere..."
Hadley (interrupting): "Is that our problem here in Manhattan Beach?"
Hersman: "No, it's not our problem here in Manhattan Beach, it's just a fact."
Hadley (chuckling): "That's not a king or a dictator, that's an emperor."
Wow, Suzanne, better get ready for more lectures from Nancy about Council comity as she assigns you to stay late and clap erasers as punishment. But, in deference to that exchange, we've corrected Nancy's nomination category - Nanny-State Czar Emperor.
But leave it to Suzanne (pictured above), at that same Council meeting, as the only one exhibiting any common sense and not in the grip of Council's epidemic of virtue-signaling when she summed up her position against a tobacco sales ban:
"So, for known costs on a handful of local businesses to achieve extremely uncertain benefits for the miniscule number of smokers left in the South Bay, most of the tobacco sales are going to tourists and visitors anyway, I'm going to vote against the ordinance."
Nomination: Council Voice of Reason.
Meanwhile, Heather Kim (owner of Manhattan Beach Market), Kay Nam (owner of Current Events), and Feraz Adamo (owner of Manhattan Beach Smoke Shop) and their families and all the other local tobacco-selling retailers can all enjoy their stocking stuffer lumps of coal this Christmas season, courtesy of the wise and compassionate grinches on City Council.
“Wise and compassionate.” Yeah. As if.