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Up in smoke

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-02-18


If you went out for a smoke break, you would have missed it. On Tuesday, February 12, a packed house of bar and restaurant owners, smokers and health advocates expected a heated debate over proposed revisions to the City of Fort Wayneís sweeping smoking ban.

A bill drafted by Councilman Marty Bender (R-At-Large) would restore smoking in bars, pool halls, private clubs, bowling alleys and other specific venues. Proponents showed up to council chambers in support of the changes while smoking cessation advocates were prepared to argue against Benderís bill.

However, any debate or discussion was quickly snuffed out when the bill failed to win enough votes for introduction. Council members Tom Smith (R-1), Tim Pape! (D-5) and Liz Brown (R-At-Large) voted against hearing the bill. Although they were outnumbered by Karen Goldner (D-2), Tom Didier (D-3), Mitch Harper (R-4) and Bender, who voted in favor of hearing the bill, the four proponents were one vote shy of the necessary five votes to introduce the bill. The crowd immediately, and somewhat grumpily, filed out of council chambers - some not so quietly. Their craving for a resolution to the issue would remain unsatisfied.

The bill isnít dead - Bender can reintroduce it at anytime. However, unless he is assured of having at least five votes, the result would be the same. Look for Bender to appeal to two council members who were absent from the Feb. 12th vote: Glynn Hines (D-6) and John Shoaff (R-At-Large).

GIAQUINTA SEEKS 2ND TERM
State Representative Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) has announced he will seek re-election to Indiana House District 80. GiaQuinta succeeded his father, Ben GiaQuinta, when he handily defeated perennial GOP candidate Kevin Howell.

CITY BUYER TO RUN FOR COUNTY POST
City of Fort Wayne purchasing director Jim Howard has announced plans to run for an at-large seat on the Allen County Council. The U.S. Air Force Academy grad served as an associate city attorney before being selected to head the cityís purchasing department in 2003. Howard is well-respected as a fiscal conservative credited with saving millions of dollars during his stint as purchasing chief.

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