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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg told NYT that government shouldn’t be telling people what to do" but now ...

So, soon it will be illegal to light up in Times Square — as well as in parks, beaches and all of New York’s “pedestrian plazas.”

Don’t you feel, um, healthier already?

Mayor Bloomberg, who recently told The New York Times that “government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to do,” is teaming up yet again with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to, well, tell people what to do.

Or, what not to do: smoke.

Two points to be made here:

* Smoking is a mug’s game. Those who play deserve their fate, which is not likely to be pleasant.

* This ban is not so much about public health as it is another heavy-handed behavior-modification scheme cooked up by a fellow who is incapable of minding his own business.

The notion that “second-hand smoke” poses any significant health risk in a park or on a beach is ridiculous.

And, anyway, city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley gave the game away when he proposed the ban last year: “We don’t think children should have to watch someone smoking,” he said.

That is, it’s all about the aesthetics.

It’s the same impulse that animated the transformation of one of the most vibrant spots on Planet Earth, Times Square, into a “pedestrian plaza” — that is, a holding pen for tourists from Topeka.

Soon tourists — and others — who light up in the “pedestrian plaza” will be subject to $50 fines.

At the same time, smoking on adjoining sidewalks will remain legal — an absurd distinction that presents an interesting enforcement issue.

No worries about that, of course: Soon Mike will be moving to outlaw smoking on sidewalks, too.

And then — everywhere.

Mayor Mike means to leave his mark on the city — a giant thumbprint.

It’s hard to imagine New Yorkers putting up with it, but there you go. (Source NY Post)

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