Smoking Out Scott Walker
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker gets credit for ordering smokers to keep their distance from county-owned building entrances.
It's obnoxious to run the gauntlet of smokers in order to get into a publicly-owned building, and unhealthy, too.
Walker would get more credit if he'd lead locally on a wider smoking ban in businesses that operate with public permits, and would get deeply involved in anti-smoking efforts generally.
This is a bit of a (pardon the pun) "smoke and mirrors" attempt at encouraging county employees, and visitors to county properties, to make healthier lifestyle choices. But I suppose it's a good idea.
I would hope that the city takes a cue from this county policy and considers a similar ban at city properties, focusing primarily on Maier Festival Park (a.k.a. "the Summerfest Grounds"). The number of festival visitors who smoke alarms me; and this applies to the ethnic festivals as much as it does Summerfest. It would make for a healthier, more family-friendly festival experience... and would offer a better image of our city to outsiders than the current "beer in one hand, grit in the other".
You want family-friendly, go to the suburbs. It's a big city but keeps acting like a small-minded Puritanical town. County facilities also include an allegedly international airport, and the Puritans all came here.
You even want to control the outdoors? Work on cutting back exhaust from cars on the freeway overhead at Summerfest grounds.
You really want to do something for Wisconsin's health? Work on the beer in the other hand of the festivalgoer first -- there are far more of them. And far more of them and us being killed or hurt by "secondhand drinking."
I fully agree that there are multiple public health issues that need individual and public solutions. It's not one issue, or the other, to the exclusion of either.
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