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A retired Clayton resident and cigar smoker thinks it’s OK to pollute the outdoor air wherever he pleases, including city parks, and is venting his displeasure – as well as his cigar – on the City of Clayton for the modest first step it’s taken to curtail such pollution.
Clayton can take comfort from knowing that it’s not alone in trying to make it’s parks healthier places for the public. Americans for Nonsmokers Rights in Berkeley, Ca., lists no less than 478 other cities with such ordinances, two others in Missouri being Kahoka, county seat of Clark County, and Kirksville.
This is a frivolous lawsuit by a cigar smoker with more money than sense. And the attorneys he’s retained, W. Bevis Schock and Hugh A. Eastwood, assisted by Washington University law graduate Russell Anhalt, clearly aren’t ashamed to take his money: it keeps them off the dole.
Below is the text on the KMOV-TV Channel 4 website underneath the TV story, and following that a full transcript prepared by Missouri GASP.
Posted on March 3, 2011 at 3:51 PM
Updated yesterday at 11:08 PM
(KMOV) – A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Clayton for an ordinance recently passed that bans smoking in its city parks and garages. The lawsuit was filed by a Clayton resident.
Arthur Gallagher says the ban is unlawful and denies him his constitutional rights. He is asking the court to declare invalid parts of the ordinance that ban outdoor smoking because they have no rational basis.
Penalties for the ordinance carry up to a $1000 fine and 90 days in jail.
The lawsuit is also filed against Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein, City Manager Craig Owens, Parks Director Patty DeForrest and Police Chief Thomas J. Byrne, each in their official capacities only.
(KMOV) – Anchor Vickie Newton in studio: Well, it’s a case that’s pitting smokers against city government. A lawsuit filed today alleges that the smoking ban in Clayton goes to far. As News 4 Jasmine Huda tells us the big issue has to do with smoking in city parks.Jasmine Huda in the studio: That’s right, and this story is generating a heated discussion on our KMOV facebook page. The question is whether a smoking ban in city parks and other venues violates your rights. One man says that the answer is yes.
Jasmine Huda (off camera): By night, the streets of Clayton were quiet, but earlier today one man was making a lot of noise.“Well, yes, I can smoke on the sidewalk but, you know, why not in the park?”
Reporter Jasmine Huda (off camera, with close up of cigar being held in hand): The answer is clear to this Clayton resident and the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Arthur Gallagher. Gallagher and his attorneys say that smokers should be able to light up in places like Shaw Park.
That’s something that a recently-passed city ordinance bans. (Close-up of ordinance.)
Arthur Gallagher: “There’s a term for that and it’s “a nanny state.” It’s really the nanny state run amok. When they get down to meddling as to where I can smoke a cigar outside; when there is no conceivable secondhand smoke risk to other people.”
Jasmine Huda: Well, the City of Clayton issued this statement criticizing the methods used by the plaintiff’s attorney, noting that the attorney placed an advertisement seeking residents to serve as plaintiffs in this case. But it adds, the main purpose of the ordinance is to protect people and property, an argument that even some smokers buy.
Jasmine Huda, interviewing a smoker: You smoke.
Jasmine Huda: What are your thoughts on smoking in city parks?
Smoker: “I don’t believe you should. There should never be cigarette butts all over the park.” (Showing cigarette butts on ground in park.) Of course, it’s public property but I wouldn’t want to see cigarette butts all over the park.”
Jasmine Huda (off camera): For now, anyone caught smoking in city parks, garages, or other outdoor spots can be fined up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Jasmine Huda, News 4.