Letter to the editor-Picior

LTE- Chris Picior

I’m on the initiative petition committee that filed the Mesquite Citizens Initiative for Clean Indoor Air and I need to address the continued misinformation that has appeared in this newspaper.

When we decided to move forward with filing an initiative petition, we knew we should expect some opposition and we expected a robust debate. The initiative was never the route we wanted to take or thought should be taken to protect all workers and others from deadly tobacco smoke. However, after trying to get City Council to address this public health problem, we knew taking this to the voters was the only chance. Many of the city council members recommended this approach.

We have been unprepared for the vitriol: challenging coalition members who’ve volunteered their time to collect signatures to protect our residents; making unfounded claims; and spreading misinformation.

For the last 7 years, the Citizens for Clean Indoor Air was funded with grants through the Southern Nevada Health District and Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. Those funds have supported an education and advocacy coalition and have helped pay for the paid media you’ve seen in the newspapers and on billboards, the website that was developed, and the efforts we, and our partners from health agencies, have undertaken to educate the general public and decision makers. The goal of that effort was always to encourage action to protect public health and decrease death and disease. We firmly believed then and now that the council should do their job and pass a comprehensive ordinance to protect Mesquite residents from secondhand smoke exposure. We were always transparent with these efforts and none of these funds have been used for lobbying in any form.

When the Mesquite City Council decided this spring, following the presentation of the UNLV economic research study by the Southern Nevada Health District, that they would not even allow this to be publicly debated, as we requested, a small group of Mesquite residents needed to find a different way if we were going to protect public health.

This new effort is called the Mesquite Citizens Initiative for Clean Indoor Air, separate from the coalition. This initiative effort has been grassroots driven, with Mesquite residents collecting signatures on their own time, as volunteers. This is how committed we are to saving lives. We’ve received informal free advice from many health groups but otherwise this has been a volunteer effort. To suggest that these efforts are illegal in some way is at best disingenuous and at worse shameful.

We have openly sought advice from the Mesquite City Clerk, the Clark County Registrar of Voters, the Nevada Secretary of State, the Clark County Clerk’s office, and a number of other agencies to get this right. We have never attempted to mislead voters or subvert laws or hide anything, but in an attempt to discredit this entire process, this paper has continued to publish articles questioning the integrity of our efforts.

It’s time to clear the air in more ways than one.

As it appeared in the MLN:

I’m on the initiative petition committee that filed the Mesquite Citizens Initiative for Clean Indoor Air and I need to address the continued misinformation that has appeared in this newspaper.

For the last 7 years, the Citizens for Clean Indoor Air was funded with grants through the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. Those funds have supported an education and advocacy coalition and have helped pay for paid media you’ve seen in newspapers and on billboards, a website that was developed, and the efforts the coalition, and our partners from health agencies, have undertaken to educate the public and decision makers. The goal of that effort was always to encourage action to protect public health and decrease death and disease. We firmly believed then and now that the council should do their job and pass a comprehensive ordinance to protect Mesquite residents from secondhand smoke exposure.

When the Mesquite City Council decided this spring, following the presentation of the UNLV economic research study by SNHD, that they would not even allow a public debate, a small group of Mesquite residents looked for a new way.

This new effort is called the Mesquite Citizens Initiative for Clean Indoor Air, separate from the coalition. This initiative effort has been grassroots driven, with Mesquite residents collecting signatures on their own time, as volunteers. This is how committed we are to saving lives. We’ve received informal free advice from many health groups but otherwise this has been a volunteer effort. To suggest that these efforts are illegal in some way is at best disingenuous and at worse shameful.

In an attempt to discredit this entire process, this paper has continued to publish articles questioning the integrity of our efforts.

It’s time to clear the air in more ways than one.

 

Comments

  1. Madalena Wilcox says:

    It’s about time the citizens hear the truth. Thank you Christine. I’m dismayed that the MLS is extremely biased and did not print a letter I wrote a month ago providing more information to the readers. It’s obvious there is a lot going on behind the scenes to misinform the public.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      I’m sorry, the only email I’ve ever received from you is about the Sunrise Rotary receiving a donation from Washington Federal. We hold no bias for LTEs, we’d be happy to publish your letter of 300 words or less, can you please resend it?
      Thank you,
      Teri

    • Lisa Jenereaul says:

      Oh Maddy W. Please!!!!!!! You bummed a couple ciggs off me before at the General Store when did you become so high and mighty? You have a couple of skeletons in your closet too.

  2. JAY V HOLLIDAY says:

    While I Appreciate the efforts that you are going through Chris,i am still in favor of the business decision route that allows them to make the determination whether to allow smoking or not in their business,Not your grass roots political committee and one sided petition.if my business model allowed smoking,and some group came to take that right away,then I would fight it tooth and nail,which is what I hope they do.Its not about the smoking(I dont care for it) and if I enter casinos I know the health risks,just like the employees who agreed to work there knowing the evironment they work in,,it is about the rights of our freedoms being taken away from business,because some group dosnt like it(supposedly for the good of the people they say).A good comparison for you to see is to look up Supreme Court decision on Masterpiece Cake shop a few weeks ago.

  3. Amy Marshall says:

    I appreciate your information. However, you must realize that some of your committee has been trying to get signatures in Las Vegas, according to someone from here that was actually approached. Surely you understand that those signatures cannot be counted on a Mesquite petition. I think that looking at every single signature on your 13 1/2 page petition should be checked and verified. Also, I think you should consider sticking to what the petition actually is, instead of all of the tangents it goes off on. Your average citizen needs to be able to read it and as it stands now, half of the signers have no clue to the extent this petition goes to.

  4. Carol McIntosh says:

    Thank you for this information! I am 100% behind your efforts. I do not believe the numerous scare tactics hurled by so many, including the mayor, or that Mesquite will lose business with a smoking ban in the casinos. It has worked in other areas without damage to those economies. Isn’t the health of the casino employees important enough? Apparently many feel the answer is NO. I for one avoid going into the casinos because of the smoke and odor caused by it. Good luck with your continued efforts.

  5. Steve Clutterham says:

    Would somebody please show mw proof than ANY GAMING CITY in America banned smoking and did not suffer a financial loss? My brother in law and I WERE approached to sign the petition in Las Vegas. The funny part about this is that I just found out through him that he and my mother both already signed the petition at their home when a “volunteer” came canvasing door to door in their neighborhood a month ago. Guess what, the person never explained to them that it meant anything more than banning smoking in casinos, so they signed it. The real problem here is that they never asked them if they were registered voters, which they are not and never have been. Of course that didn’t matter to the “volunteer”, all that mattered was getting those signatures, Once again, I personally challenge the validity if EVERY signature on the petition.

    And again I ask, has anyone asked the 2000 or so casino employees about how they feel about the proposed smoking ban? Has anybody asked them where they plan to work, if and when the casinos close down? I am sick of hearing from uninformed locals saying “there won’t be any revenue loss to the casinos” or “if anything they will gain revenue by catering to the 80% of people who don’t smoke”. If there was ANY chance it would increase revenues, casinos would have voluntarily made the change years ago.

    I believe the true citizens of Mesquite will see through this ridiculous smoke screen the Clean Air people are polluting our city with and soundly defeat this imitative Once again I will say, going smoke free is a good idea and is needed, However our tiny little town does not need to be the guinea pig. It needs to be done at the state level to give every casino involved a fair and level playing field. Trust me, we all know that if this manages to pass in Mesquite, that the clean air people are headed to other parts of Nevada next to try and get Las Vegas to knuckle under eventually. You aren’t fooling anybody people.

    • David Petrillo says:

      Once again the doom and gloom crowd is up in arms. Mesquite has a chance to make headlines in all the national networks and newspapers. Being a leader is a great honor. 60 minutes would feature us in a big story this Fall. It would give Mesquite so much positive press to offset the Bundy’s and the Vegas shooter. We need positive publicity. Being the first in Nevada to go smoke free would give us millions of dollars in free publicity. People from all over the country would be looking at Mesquite as a great place to live or retire.

      However, with backward people like Steve, Mesquite will continue to be a rustic town with little or no alternative industries. I firmly believe that the local casinos do not want other industries to come to Mesquite as it would drive up the labor costs. The labor costs are why the Oasis license has not gone to Vegas. First of all, Vegas has too many casinos, especially locals casinos. Secondly, Mesquite gaming does not have the funds to open a casino on the strip. The old Oasis license is just gathering dust. The local casinos are not going to shut down.

      We have a chance to put Mesquite on the map. Being the first in Nevada will give us great positive publicity that will pay dividends down the road. Smoke free Casinos will come to entire state in the next 10 years. Why not be a leader instead of a lazy follower.

      • Amy Marshall says:

        You know what, Mr. Petrillo? We did just fine here before this group came along. And again, calling people ‘backwards’, among other things and insults you’ve hurled in the past, doesn’t make your cause more credible. The group was offered a non-smoking area in one casino, but you want to have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. See what I did there? I disagreed with you and managed to do it without calling names or being mean. Stop calling us ‘lazy’ and ‘backwards’, simply because we disagree.

      • Steve Clutterham says:

        David, you lost. You lost big time. Despite all of the deceptive practices, illegal signatures both in Mesquite and elsewhere, you lost. Now please tuck your tail between your legs and scoot off to save the great state of Michigan.

        • Lisa Jenereaul says:

          Of that is funny!! Great comeback Steve! Yes, David P. Dearborn and Hamtramick are waiting for you so leave your Smoke signal trail home in “Sun is expensive city” and you’ll really see your doom and gloom and maybe you can get on your 60 minutes that you want so bad. Most of your letters really don’t make any sense coming from a 73 year old man but I think you write them for the “shock value” That’s narcissistic behavior David, and then you turn around and soften your words to an Authority writer such as Teri just to keep your letters published. Yes, it’s over because of the illegal way this “blue man group” tried to obtained signatures and their proposals for this ban and it won’t fly in 2020 either.

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