Thank you for printing Ben Joravsky’s article regarding the complete and total blundering of the smoking ban by Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council [The Works, December 30]. It was one of the few clear and no-nonsense views of the debate. As a bartender, I fought hard for the support of the full ban. With all the health benefits of enacting a smoking ban which the Chicago aldermen cited in the smoking-ban ordinance, it would make anyone wonder how the aldermen and the mayor could wait two and half years to enact a full ban. The answer is easy for anyone who has sat through a Chicago City Council meeting, as I did several times while pushing for the ban. While seated in the great City Council chambers I was equally shocked, mystified, and entertained by the comments sputtered from the mouths of our elected officials. Alderman Beavers questioned the need to ban anything harmful, since anything, including bullets and bacon, could be considered harmful. Alderman Natarus said that he did not want to ban smoking so that visitors to Chicago would not have to look at smokers standing outside establishments smoking. In other words, he wants to continue to hide our ignorance. Another alderman went on to say we, as restaurant and bar employees, knew the risks involved when we took our jobs, just as police officers know the risks of their jobs. To suggest the work we do is on par with the heroic work of the men and women who serve Chicago is an insult to every police officer. It is clear to see why the City Council handed us a poor excuse for a smoking ban: we have a poor excuse for a City Council.

Peter Vestinos