God Bless E.W. Cromartie

Say what you will about the guy — and we’ve had a few things to say about him on the editorial pages of The State — but he just saved a lot of lives by switching his vote on Columbia’s smoking ban. By this change, he now forms a majority for a total ban, which is the only rational and moral approach:

Councilman to switch vote on smoking ban
    City Councilman E. W. Cromartie said this morning he is now supporting a total smoking ban for Columbia, all but ensuring the a ban that includes bars will pass when council votes next week.
    Cromartie, the most senior member of council whose district includes the bars and restaurants of the Vista, announced his decision during a public hearing today on the smoking ordinance.
    “As the capitol city, we are leaders. We have to lead,” Cromartie said.
    Opponents of the ordinance like Tony Snell, who owns Club Fusion in the Vista, are not giving up.
    Cromartie has agreed to meet with Snell next week.
    Snell meanwhile is mounting a campaign to have Mayor Bob Coble recuse himself from the vote, since his law firm Nexsen Pruett represents tobacco companies
    “If the mayor recuses himself, it becomes a split vote and it is defeated,” Snell said.
    Discussion of a banning smoking in bars reignited recently after Cromartie said he might reconsider his vote. A ban in public places, including restaurants, was passed in 2006. Bars, defined as businesses that make 85 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales, were excluded at that time.
    Cromartie and council members Daniel Rickenmann, Kirkman Finlay and Sam Davis voted for a compromise plan to exclude bars.
    Coble, Anne Sinclair and Tameika Isaac Devine voted against the compromise.

— Adam Beam

So God bless him for that. If he never does another good thing as councilman, he’ll deserve credit for this one…

Now we just need Richland and Lexington counties and other governments in our politically fragmented community to go along. But this is a start.

16 thoughts on “God Bless E.W. Cromartie

  1. Chuck

    I have never had much good to say about E W but he has defiantly done the right thing.
    As a bar patron,I have got up and left when someone has fired one up next to me.There is one particular restaurant that has a low lying cloud when you enter-I have not been back.
    I just visited a lady who has COPD from second hand smoke and have watched family and friends die from smoking related disease.
    I hope Lexington County is soon to follow.
    Make it illegal to smoke with in 50 feet of the door as well.
    If one likes smoke, let them join the fire dept.

  2. Gracie

    Chuck, since you like to put out cigarette smoke….YOU join the Fire department……POOOF!!!

  3. Bill C.

    Has Crowmartie paid the property taxes on his slumlord dwellings yet? Is E. W. still parking in handicapped parking spots, even though he’s not handicapped? I’m for the smoking ban, but I have nothing good to say about E.W. Crowmartie.

  4. Matt

    Kudos to E.W. Cromartie for supporting a full ban on smoking and to Tony Snell, one of the reasons I don’t frequent your bar is BECAUSE of the cigarette smoke. The sooner we get those cancer sticks out of the faces of the non-smoking majority, the better.

  5. penultimo mcfarland

    Cromartie just saved a lot of lives by protecting people from voluntarily exposing themselves to second-hand smoke in bars?
    No, he just caved to a bunch of hoity-toity dipsey-do’s who think they should be able to control everybody’s behavior because they think they know best about everything, but have the stomach for nothing.
    The next step is to ban smoking in crack houses and at games of Russian roulette.
    Letting bar owners choose smoke-free or smoking with a mandatory sign at every entrance explaining which might make sense. Forcing people to kill their brain cells in a smoke-free environment — making sure the iffy of lung have easier access to social liquor — will probably cause more death than second-hand smoke ever could.
    But there will be one beneficial side effect. Columbia will depress fewer people, because those who have a choice will find a better place to go.

  6. James D McCallister

    Here’s the argument smokers are making against a ban:
    Hello, I’m an alcoholic. What’s that? You don’t drink? Well, too bad–here, let me pour a shot of this here Jack Daniels down your throat. What’s that? I don’t have the right to do so? Sure I do–we’re in a public place of business.
    As for concerned business owners like my friend and 5 Points colleague Scott Linaberry, I’ve been to quite a few places around the country where smoking is no longer allowed indoors, and I can tell you that bars and restaurants are all still in business. I see miserable looking people standing outside shivering and indulging their drug addiction, and when they’re done, they go back inside and order another drink.
    I’ve got lots of libertarian leanings and I understand full well that argument against this type of legislation, but this is a public health issue. Smoking kills–show me some scientific evidence that it doesn’t. (One thing I don’t need is a study demonstrating that secondhand smoke is dangerous–that’s merely common sense. Smoke is smoke is smoke is smoke, in your lungs or mine.)
    Look, I used to merrily puff away (quit nearly 20 years ago this year), and I know from experience that when you’re in the grip of drug addiction like that, you’re not objective. I would mock people who appeared annoyed at my smoking in their personal space. But I finally made a sane decision and put the damn things into the trash–in many ways the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Hell of a detox. The cravings finally went away after, oh, maybe a decade or so. I did it for me, yes, but also for my spouse and other loved ones like my grandmother, who’d had a heart attack because of smoking and had quit. (She went on to live for 25 years following her bypass surgery.)
    This smoking ban is one of the most progressive actions I’ve ever heard proposed here in SC. I support it and encourage City Council to pass the ordinance.

  7. Wally Altman

    This is great news. Here’s hoping Richland and Lexington counties will follow suit.

  8. penultimo mcfarland

    Yes, here in the age of tolerance, who would expect the government would give business owners and customers a choice, something that could be done in more than one way without exposing non-smokers to smoke.
    Come to think of it, to prevent the spread of airborne diseases, why don’t we ban exhaling in public?
    One thing is for sure, though: Mr. Warthen’s assertion — that a total smoking ban is “the only rational and moral approach” — makes absolutely no sense at all.
    If we continue to adapt our society to the needs of the weak, we will eventually breed the strong out of existence.
    Nature has culls. Humanity has entitlements.
    God gave man free will, but government takes it away while the press applauds.

  9. Bill C.

    Poor, poor Penultimo… just sits in his house puffing away on his cigarettes because nobody now enjoys breathing in his second hand smoke or will go home from a night out smelling like a used ashtray. It must be tough when a little white stick of tobacco controls your life.

  10. Richard L. Wolfe

    It beats the hell out of a acid headed socialist running your life. At least the cigarette knows it’s a butt!

  11. penultimo mcfarland

    A “little white stick of tobacco” doesn’t control my life, Bill. I’m not one who “sits in his house puffing away on his cigarettes because nobody now enjoys breathing in his second-hand smoke.”
    I don’t smoke at home. And I’m not poor, much less “poor, poor.”
    Yes, once upon a time, I supported Bob Dole.
    But you think what you want to think, even if you are old enough to remember who Bob Dole was. If some bar-owner doesn’t buy the vote that saves his business from the self-righteous lungless who won’t bother to frequent his business if they get their smoke-free law passed, I’ll be surprised.

  12. Lee Muller

    Every dollar not spent on smoking is a dollar available for purchases from Cromaties liquor stores.

  13. Chris T.

    I find it so funny that Mr. Snell doesn’t want Mayor Bob to vote. Mr. Snell is paid Thousands of dollars by Camel Cigarettes to host parties at his club. Shame on you.

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