portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

actions & protests | government

5 Cocktail Liberals

smoke in the park, go to jail
And so it goes
And so it goes
Sometimes politicians find themselves defending something that on the surface may look good, but dig a little deeper and you will see there is something wrong. People who have lived before me have talked about this;

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)
"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." -- Thomas Paine

During the last City Hall meeting, February 11, 2015 there was an item, 168 called "Expand Portland Parks & Recreation smoke and tobacco-free policy" to all City parks, natural areas, recreation areas and any other places where Portland Parks & Recreation park rules apply (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Fritz; amend Code Section 20.12.110) 1 hour requested. This was brought up in the middle of the afternoon when few were in attendance. The big problem with this item is they are going to make it a misdemeanor which could cause a violator 6 months in jail. From their own paper work:
Under "e"
"Following Portland City Council approval, there will be a five-month grace period to educate the public about the policy. Starting July 1, 2015, while any violation of a city code is a misdemeanor which could lead to citation, the primary method of enforcement will be education. Patrons who refuse to comply with the policy may also be subject to a parks exclusion. Enforcement will be administered by PP&R staff and other Park Officer who have the authority to enforce park rules."
 http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=518323

I hate the idea of defending smokers, I don't smoke and think all people should stop smoking ASAP, but that is their choice. I do not want government on any level telling people what they can and cannot do when it comes to a legally sold product that the government has not outlawed. Many of the arguments you will hear are for indoors, even second hand smoke has little effect outdoors and that is where we have told smokers to go, outdoors. We now want to take a place away from them that they seek to stay away from others and have their cigar or cigarettes.

This new ordinance or changing of the rules for smokers also includes:
"... ... ... ..Bidis, cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, clove cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine vaporizers, nicotine liquids, hookahs, kreteks, pipes, chew, snuff, smokeless tobacco, and marijuana. " Please notice they put marijuana last hoping you would not notice that even with the new laws about smoking weed you will not be able to do it in the parks. This is a serious extension of the restriction down at Pioneer Square and Director's Park, where people gather. There are exceptions; if you are on a city golf course you may smoke in permitted areas, golf reps do not seem to like this. City employees can have a place outside to smoke, but not you. This is a draconian ordinance and should be voted down but alas nobody showed up to argue against it save us few, and the 5 Cocktail Liberals will pass it. Maybe we can get the punishment reduced to a violation but for the most part they, those "guardians" of liberty will pass this crap. During the presentation for this doodoo, they brought on the kids, had a group of kids offer their expertise on smoking, cigarette butts, and even setting fires. It was a shame and those who brought in the kids should be ashamed of themselves but no, they will go home at the end of the day thinking they did something noble, ("The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.") This is taking away one of our remaining freedoms, the right to be left alone. There are other concerns you should have:

1. The homeless, houseless as a group smoke; this will be used as another way to hassle them.
2. How are you going to enforce this except by selective enforcement, we do not have enough park rangers to write tickets or arrest people who are smoking or using an e-cigarette.
3. The courts will just be delighted when a bunch of smokers are brought before the judge to enter a plea of looking like they were chewing tobacco.
4. Tournaments at city golf courses will move to private golf courses.
5. They say there will be little cost to implement in the beginning, that is because they will not enforce the new ordinance for months, which is a sham.
6. The Park Rangers should not be the person who decides what punishment you should receive and they will use exclusions at will. Cost a lot of loot to do this and their statement of "Little Cost" is a lie by omission.

So once again congratulations for the clandestine way this was introduced, congratulations to all you activists who did not show up and congratulations to the kids who took the time to come to city hall and lobby the 5 cocktail liberals---"You're doing a heck of a job!"

Individuals For Justice stands for liberty and this violates basic liberty no matter the good intentions of the people who support this change in our parks policy. Stop it/modify it, can your hear us Commission Amanda Fritz?
The 5 Cocktail Liberals will vote on this mess next Wednesday if you don't scream and if you don't yell, enjoy talking to the judge.

homepage: homepage: http://IndividualsForJustice.com