Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Smoking ban continues to draw controversy

Despite Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s support of a proposal to ban smoking in Madison taverns, he is in favor of implementing the ban at a later date than preferred by smoking-ban advocates. This has left some proponents of the ban confused by the mayor’s true stance on the smoking ban ordinance.

The current ordinance would allow smoking in establishments where alcohol sales account for over two-thirds of revenues after 2005.

Ald. Steve Holtzman’s, District 19, proposal would implement a ban in all establishments by January 2005.


As a compromise, the mayor may vote to ban smoking in all establishments starting in January 2006.

However, according to Gayathri Vijayakumar, a leader of Students for Smoke Free Madison, Cieslewicz is trying to take credit for something he is not truly supporting.

“The mayor wants to make it seem like this is his idea,” Vijayakumar said. “He doesn’t want to look like the person that is delaying this.”

According to Cieslewicz’s spokesperson, Melanie Conklin, the mayor is very much in support of a smoking ban.

By implementing the ban in January 2006 versus January 2005, businesses would be better able to prepare for the ban, according to Conklin.

“The mayor is looking at the end result,” Conklin said.

Recent legislation has had large effects on Madison businesses, such as a raised minimum wage and State Street development. It is unfair to impose another change on Madison businesses, Conklin said.

Also, Conklin said a larger number of Common Council members would be in support of such a ban if it were moved to a later date.

If the City Council were to vote on an amendment moving the smoking ban ordinance up to January 2005, Cieslewicz would serve cast the tie-breaking vote if needed.

“To me, that sounds like a delay,” Vijayakumar said.

However, for some City Council members, amending the ordinance would have a negative effect on the credibility of the Council’s decisions.

“When we worked out an agreement with them, that, to me, is like giving your word,” said Ald. Linda Bellman, District 1, who is a member of the Madison Public Health Commission.

From a public health perspective, Bellman is in favor of moving the ban to 2005. However, since an ordinance is in place, she is unwilling to undermine the decision that is already made.

The public health commission will meet April 14 to discuss the ordinance and give a recommendation to the City Council.

“I’m just not persuaded that it makes sense to move it up a year,” Bellman said.

A City Council public hearing will be held April 20 at which the Council will vote on Ald. Holtzman’s proposal.

The decision the Council makes on the issue is still up in the air and many members are stumped as to which direction the Council will vote.

“Usually you can have a sense, but with this I’m not sure,” Bellman said.

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