Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Philly to be smoke free?

Mayor Street held a news conference yesterday to discuss his plans for the upcoming year. First among them? What he calls "pretty much a total ban" on smoking in bars and restaurants on Philly. Councilman Nutter proposed something similar to this a while ago, but the local restaurant and bar lobby killed it, on the basis that people would travel to the suburbs so that they can smoke with their drinks. The trouble with that argument is that NYC has passed a similar ban, and at least one study actually showed an increase in business after the ban was passed. And frankly, I really doubt people are going to travel far just to smoke.

Not that I base this on anything, but I bet this passes. And frankly, as a non-smoker, I will not mind having my clothes not smell like smoke after getting a beer, but that is just me.

The Mayor also said that chief among his priorities was to have the law department examine the SEPTA fare structure, calling it "unfair" to city residents. I suspect we will see a city analysis that says Philly residents heavily subsidize suburban SEPTA. He said he will be more visible, which is a very good thing. The reality though, as we get into 2005, is that Street is fast approaching lame duck status. So he better get some things accomplished quickly.

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