Bar owner fights smoking ordinance

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

Wanda Bush, owner of the bar Warren’s, is mad. She thinks the city may shut her business down.

Bush is referring to the city’s proposed smoking ordinance, which prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants, among other places.

If it is passed, “it will eventually shut me down,” she said.

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Bush, also a smoker, said her customers are aware that it’s a smoking establishment and that’s one reason people come to her bar.

The other is safety. The last time a police report mentioned the bar was when a fistfight broke out in the parking lot of the dry cleaners two doors down. The incident was settled without injury or charges being filed.

Bush said she feels the ordinance unfairly punishes her club and others like it, and that the city has enough problems to deal with.

“There’s not another totally no smoking city in the state of Alabama,” Bush said. “We’re (Selma) known for too much already, we don’t need any more notoriety.”

The ordinance was originally introduced over the summer. Eventually, the issue was carried over to the new council, which took office in October. The council agreed to hold public forum’s regarding the issue then.

According to the ordinance, smoking would be banned in almost every business and enclosed public place in the city.

Exceptions include private social clubs, private residences, tobacco stores, private nursing home rooms, designated hotel rooms, individual private offices, individual private vehicles, and any space used for private functions; like weddings or banquets.

No public restaurants or bars, like Warren’s, are excepted from the proposed ordinance.

Bush is not totally opposed to a smoking ordinance, she just wants some sort of choice in the matter.

She attended the first of the two public forums and hopes to have more business owners at the second.

“If they don’t have any more input, they’re going to pass it,” Bush said. “It may get ugly before it’s over with.”

The second public forum will be held Monday, at 7 p.m., in the City Council Chambers. The Council urges every interested citizen to attend, especially business owners.