|Michael Nutter, Photo from Wikipedia.com, license allows usage
For 14 years, I lived in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. People can say what they want, but I love Philadelphia and feel it’s one of the great cities in America. However, when it comes to Mayor Michael Nutter, I am not a fan. When you compare him to his predecessor, John Street – Nutter may not seem that bad. However when it comes to supporting tobacco rights, Nutter is no friend. On Monday, the signing of an executive order banning smoking at 200 recreational centers not only is another loss for tobacco enthusiasts, but it could be something that needs watching in the city of Philadelphia.
First up, historically Nutter has proven he is no friend of tobacco and is a true member of that virtual organization known as the Pleasure Police. While he served in the City Council, he was largely responsible for the smoking ban in Philadelphia’s restaurants. In typical fashion, if you give an inch, they want a foot. This latest act is a prime example of that – as the recreational centers are now the target starting this July 1st.
But things might not end there. Nutter was asked whether or not he would eventually extend the ban to city parks.
An important facet of this is that this was an executive order and not legislation. As a result, it is considered a policy and not official law. Therefore, this will be more of a guideline and is not a fine-able offense and self-policed. Sound familiar? Well its similar to New York City’s plan to have citizens enforce their outdoor smoking ban – the difference is Bloomberg rammed his plan through the city council and made it law. Still Nutter is proving he is no fan of tobacco. There has not been any say on whether or not designated smoking areas would be a possibility.
One reason for this is being to help decrease tobacco usage by minors. The last I checked, couldn’t things be simplified just to make it illegal for a minor to use tobacco and enforce things that way?
I believe citizens in Philadelphia need to protest and protest loudly this executive order. Otherwise this pattern could turn into dictatorial-like management that Bloomberg has done in New York. There is a fall election in Philadelphia and hopefully tobacco enthusiasts will remember this when they go to the polls. It is also worth noting that Philadelphia has a two term limit for the office of Mayor. With a second term, Nutter could easily expand this executive order without any repercussions.