Let’s get a few things straight up front about the proposed Initiative Petition for the Mesquite Clean Indoor Air Ordinance of 2018.
First, it goes far beyond ‘indoor’ air at casinos as you’ve been repeatedly told.
Second, it’s not just about secondhand smoke and how that affects casino employees as the petition supporters would have you believe.
Third, it will cost you, the taxpayer, money even if the casinos don’t lose a dime in revenues should it become city law.
I’m not going to argue the merits of smoking or the effects of secondhand smoke in casinos. That, with every pun intended, is nothing more than a smoke screen put up by the supporters of this draconian proposal.
I am going to point out several aspects of the proposed law that the initiative proponents won’t tell you about and that make the law go far beyond the casino doors and right into your backyard.
And by the way, even if you agree with parts of the law and disagree with other parts, you as a voter won’t get to pick and choose. If the initiative makes it to the November ballot, it will pass or fail in its entirety.
Let me start at the end of the proposed law with this statement from page 14: “This Chapter shall be liberally construed so as to further its purposes.”
That statement alone should scare every one of us to death. Any law that can be ‘liberally construed’ turns you and I into either the hunter or the hunted. No law should ever be passed that anyone can construe according to their own terms simply to ‘further its purposes.’
Here’s what pages 11 and 12 say about compliance and enforcement:
–The Health Authority and/or the City of Mesquite or its designee shall ensure compliance … and shall issue citations for violations of this Chapter.
–Any citizen who desires to register a complaint under this Chapter may initiate compliance and enforcement…
–An owner, manager, operator, or landlord of a multi-unit housing facility where smoking is prohibited by this Chapter shall direct a person who is smoking in violation… to extinguish the product being smoked. If the person in violation refuses to proceed to an area where smoking is permitted, the owner, manager, operator or landlord shall contact a law enforcement agency and report the violation.
–Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, a private citizen, an employee, or a resident of a multi-unit housing facility, may bring legal action to enforce this Chapter.
The proposed law says on page 6, “dwelling unit means physical portion of a multi-unit housing facility designated for separate residential ownership or occupancy and includes any accessory spaces and areas, such as garage space, storage space, balcony, porch, deck, terrace or patio. Dwelling unit includes, without limitation, an apartment, condominium, townhouse, or duplex.”
So, here’s just how far someone can ‘liberally construe’ the law ‘to further its purposes’ and make all of us into the hunter or hunted.
I own my townhouse with a garage, patio, backyard, and connected inner wall with the adjoining unit. The adjoining unit is a rental. I choose to smoke cigarettes in my backyard and on my patio, both of which are within 25 feet of the adjoining unit.
Under the law, if I smoke a cigarette in those areas which I own outright, and if my neighbor gets irritated at me because he doesn’t like my cat, he can register a complaint with the HOA manager or even the police who will be bound to investigate and possibly issue a citation. So what does my cat have to do with my smoking? Nothing. But it gives my neighbor a legal way to retaliate under the law.
The Mesquite municipal judge will then haul me into court for a hearing and possibly fine me $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $1,000 for each additional violation within one year.
And to think there wasn’t a single casino employee in my backyard suffering from secondhand smoke.
So how does that affect you, as a taxpayer even if you or your neighbor don’t smoke?
Should the police be called to investigate, that takes them away from more important duties. And if they are called, they are required to investigate. They won’t have discretion under the law. Your tax dollars pay for the police.
Should the case go to municipal court, the judge and court employees will spend their time and your tax money processing the case when they have far more important things to worry about than me smoking in my backyard. But, they won’t have discretion under the law to not process the misdemeanor case.
The City of Mesquite will be required to ensure compliance and enforcement of the law. That means, you will pay for a city employee whose responsibility will go far beyond the casino doors and potentially into every garage space, storage space, balcony, porch, deck, terrace or patio, without limitation, in every apartment, condominium, townhouse, or duplex in the city.
Is that what you think is the most important way to spend your taxpayer dollars?
By the way, if you live in a single-family home, you’re out of luck if you don’t like your neighbor smoking outside within 25 feet of your structure. The law exempts anyone living in single family homes from coverage.
And one more thing about the proponents of this initiative or the political action committee (PAC) or whoever is paying for all the billboards and advertisements. If they are so firm in their beliefs that this is exactly what you and I need to be able to exist just one more day, then show us the money. Tell us exactly where every dollar is coming from and going to rather than just giving us generalities.
Someone associated with this effort has an obligation to file a formal report with the Nevada Secretary of State, under penalty of law, and give us every detail that we deserve to know before we sign a petition or cast a vote. Anything less is devious, deceiving, and disingenuous.
Let’s call this potential law anything but “Mesquite Clean Indoor Air Ordinance of 2018.”
In other words, this initiative is really the “Mesquite Hunter vs Hunted Law of 2018.”
For a full copy of the proposed initiative and potential law click here: https://mesquitelocalnews.com/?p=35131&preview=true