Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

September 25, 2013

An urgent appeal to undesirables: Repent!

As a smoker, I could not resist responding to Lisa Taylor’s letter (“Smoking downtown’s most undesirable problem,” Sept. 18 Times-News).

I agree with many points she makes in her courageous declaration of confronting “problems” in the downtown area. She is a strong, pro-active lady.

However, the contradictions in her reasoning astound my rather meager intelligence. She writes that the so-called “undesirables” are not a big problem, nor are the planters nor the “restrictive nature of new fences.”

Downtown is beautiful except for “poorly thought out trees” that drop berries on the mall. Thus, “dining is unpleasant.”

I’ve eaten at various restaurants scores of times and never had one berry drop in my salad or hot dog. Should we cut down the “poorly thought out trees” because of the berries? Would doing so make downtown less beautiful?

She complains about the “volumes of smokers” polluting the air she is breathing. Where is this “volume of smokers”?

I visit downtown several times a day; I see no “volume” of anybody, let alone smokers. I might see one or two people huddled in a doorway puffing away, but no “volume” of anything except pigeons! (Let’s ban them, too!)

Nevertheless, I take her at her word, and shall continue my search for this elusive “volume” of demonic smokers. She also complains of cigarette butts on the bricked mall. True, but hardly enough to count.

I’m too busy to notice butts “sandwiched between the bricks.” Is the general public offended by this grievous assault on the bricks? Heaven help the street sweepers “paid by our tax” dollars!

Well, ask any smoker about the taxes we pay on cigarettes. Small wonder West Virginia smiles at Marylanders — laughing all the way to the bank as Marylanders stream across the state line as  Taylor would have us do — so much for local businesses.

Taylor complains about the “second-hand smoke” in the open air of the mall — a public space. Ban smoking on the mall? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a public mall, would it?

How would this ban be enforced? What would the penalty be? She offers no advice. Perhaps, a scarlet “C” on the forehead would be appropriate for the offender.

How does someone smoking a block away affect her breathing? What pseudo-science proves that? How does smoking in my parked car on North Centre Street offend anyone except a person who doesn’t have a life?

Her myopic obsession with banning “undesirables” leads obviously to the infamous “slippery slope”dilemma. She should take a cursory course in American history.

The Volstead Act (Prohibition) backfired when “clean living” citizens of Taylor’s ilk banned liquor, making Al Capone a rich man. During Prohibition, the problem of alcohol consumption was exacerbated, not resolved.

If smoking is banned, shouldn’t we ban any business that sells tobacco? A rhetorical question!

Of course. Logic dictates — goodbye, several more businesses in Cumberland. Why not ban everything that offends — trees that shed, berries, undesirables, pool rooms, casinos, medical marijuana, soldiers smoking in trenches, big cars that consume too much gas, coal trucks, school buses? Where will the madness end?

The only time I see “volumes” of people downtown is Friday after Five. The few smokers I see keep a respectful distance from the crowd, including me.

Taylor says taking action will have an immediate impact. As a former businessman, I disagree. The action she proposes is impractical and commercially foolish. Why drive potential customers away? It’s financial suicides.

She urges community leaders to take a first step. I say it’s a false step. The first step is to revitalize downtown business. The real “undesirable problem” is not berry-bearing trees or “volumes” of non-existent smokers; it’s the number of empty buildings, not a few cigarette butts.

James Zamagias

Cumberland

 

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014