The unresolved controversy regarding the Troy City Council’s Ordinance #1 — the proposed smoking ban in parks — is both instructive and revealing. At present the ordinance sits on Mayor Lou Rosamilia’s desk after being passed illegally by a 5-4 majority, despite the city Charter clearly stating any ordinance needs to be passed by a six vote margin, and despite the insistence of Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman immediately following the vote that the passage of the ordinance was perfectly legal.
In the interest of the rule of law, however, Rosamilia will have to veto Ordinance #1. The status of the ordinance after the veto is another controversy. The city Charter states that a six vote majority is required to overturn the mayor’s veto. Councilwoman Nina Nichols — the person who introduced Ordinance #1 — as well as Silverman, apparently believe that if an ordinance is voted on twice by a simple majority of five votes, then it passes. If this is correct, then it only takes five votes instead of the city Charter mandated six votes to overturn the veto of Rosamilia. The result will be a weakening of the office of the mayor. This cannot be allowed to happen.
St. Augustine condemned the “Libido Dominandi” or “the lust for power” or more literally the “lust to dominate” that drives politicians. That people who take pleasure in controlling other people would seek to be in government is no surprise. Like any other addict, those inflicted with the Libido Dominandi will lie and, as detailed above, apparently break the law to get their way.
The public comments portion of the city Council meeting revealed The Big Lies regarding Ordinance #1. First, among the state-paid lobbyists, sycophantic anti-smoking zealots, coerced schoolchildren, and exploiters of the infirm speaking in favor of the ordinance, was a man who praised Nichols for getting the ordinance introduced although it did not ban smoking “curb to curb” as originally intended — it was a good start. For those insisting that the partial ban isn’t a slippery slope, this man’s comments completely contradict that.
The second Big Lie was that the ordinance centered completely on the dangers of second hand smoke. The final ordinance as written included any tobacco product, which would include chewing tobacco or any other smokeless product. If I use chewing tobacco, does this harm any innocent bystander? Is the concern about second hand spit? Apparently for Councilman Kevin McGrath there was, he defended the ban on chaw calling it disgusting.
A third Big Lie is that the no smoking signage would be free. The signage isn’t free but is rather from the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition which is funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health, as is their taxpayer-paid lobbyist Theresa Zubretsky, whose job is apparently to get this sort of thing put into law.
There are people in every government that wish they could have total control over the lives of other people. Throughout history, every government turns totalitarian without vigorous opposition by the citizenry. There has never been an exception. Act immediately to put the runaway city Council in check before they act upon their Libido Dominandi and introduce more nanny state legislation. Call Mayor Rosamilia to ensure he vetoes the illegal Ordinance #1 and rebuke the following Council people who supported this overreach of city government: Nina Nichols, Kevin McGrath, Lynn Kopka, Ken Zalewski, and Gary Galuski.