Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 23, 2004

Smoking ban infringes on smokers' rights

Jennifer Kursman is partially right in her article "Statewide smoking ban" when she says: "However, when one's choices infringe on the well-being of other citizens, a line must be drawn between what is permissible and what is prohibited." Smoking is indeed a potentially lethal habit that not only causes lung cancer, but heart disease. These two ailments comprise the first and second spots, respectively, for the most common causes of death. Second-hand smoke is potentially even more lethal than the direct inhalation of smoke. The problem is that democracy's intention is to please everyone, while offending no one. A famous politician once said, "My right to swing my fists ends at the tip of your nose." An individual's right to smoke is compromised by this bill. Granted, if no other solution existed, public health would have to be considered over personal liberty. But waiters and waitresses, as Tim Belshe said, can find other jobs. I'm not sure what the smoking demographics are in this country, but at least a few smokers must work at any randomly chosen bar. Create a separate room or separate ventilation for people who want to smoke, and have the servers who do smoke wait on those areas. Smokers don't have to sit at the bar; servers can take their orders and the bartenders can make their drinks. That way, the lungs of bartenders can still have "4 percent better capacity," nonsmoking employees don't have to develop lung cancer from working in a bar, nonsmoking patrons can enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere, and the right of a smoker to frequent a bar will be preserved.

Every individual has the right to destroy or preserve his health as he chooses. With such an easy compromise in existence, this seems more like a moral issue than a practical one. It doesn't matter, though, if you like or dislike smoking. As long as it's not affecting you, you have no right to push your morality on others. Ms. Kursman is right when she says that nowhere in the Constitution does it say that individuals are allowed to kill each other for personal happiness. But it seems like smokers realize where the tip of the nose of nonsmokers begins, and Rep. Lopez and Ms. Kursman don't. We need to swing our fists less, and compromise by installing separate rooms with separate ventilation systems.

J. Bryan Cooper
molecular and cellular biology freshman

University art collections not 'useless expenditures'

In Wednesday's Wildcat, Josh Epstein exposes the university for its frivolous spending on plasma screens in the union. While excess spending on the screens is unacceptable, comparing this to providing funds for public art is ridiculous.

Epstein calls the desert garden, giant sculptures and art galleries "useless expenditures." Maybe it's because I'm an old alumnus, but I remember that the cactus garden was a pretty hot topic a few years back. Alumni wanted the space for a plaza and the students came out in numbers and said, "Hell no."

While public art is always controversial, we should be proud that our university and all of Tucson fully embrace the arts. Where else can you walk through a rattlesnake to cross over a major surface street? The beauty of public art is that it is there for all to enjoy. Without it, nitwits like Epstein would have to do the unthinkable and patronize a museum to get their art fix.

Epstein's biggest whopper is calling art galleries on campus useless. Perhaps Epstein should enter one of the galleries or museums on campus prior to saying such blasphemy. A lot of the art on campus is student or professor art; the art faculty puts on one hell of an exhibit annually. Now, a lot of the other art on campus was collected by wealthy alumni who love their alma mater so dearly that they decide to donate their collections. Pretty nice of them, don't you think, Josh? Now if Epstein had ever been in the art museum, he would notice that on many of the labels by the work, it says, "donated by ... ." The university didn't pay for those.

An art education is the one thing lacking in many students. It's what makes so many people look, talk and act like clones. Let's not disregard the art we have, and let's always be looking to acquire more.

Brian Danker
UA alumnus

Activity fee would revive excitement of college life

I want to commend Sen. Sara Birnbaum for her student activity fee proposal. Schools all around the country have such a fee to fund programs on campus that are good for the students and the campus community as a whole.

The UA community needs to offer students safe alternatives to weekend parties. Students will have healthier opportunities for social interaction with the acceptance of this new proposal. With the local police cracking down on underage drinking and the lack of a safe alternative nightlife, students are finding it harder to get the "college experience." College is not just a place to study hard; it is also a place to develop friendships and enjoy our youth.

ASUA needs to take a stance supporting this new proposal. The leadership of ASUA can find ways to ensure that the money is well-spent in ways that will strengthen the campus community, while giving the students of this great institution positive activities that will help them grow. As students, we should support this more than the outrageous tuition hikes. If passed, this proposal will improve our campus, as well as our college experience.

Vern Johnson
agricultural engineering and political science junior

Kerry only good choice for college students

Wednesday's Wildcat included a rash of columnists opining about the presidential contest among Democrats. Asked whom they supported, the columnists mentioned every candidate but the one that is most qualified and most distinguished, John Kerry. Ms. Kursman and Noble wallowed in the "pro-student" antics of Dean and Kucinich, both of whom are left-wing wackos. Columnists Poreda and Scarpinato relished Edwards' second place finish in Iowa. The reality is that John Kerry is the only real candidate for the Democratic Party. He is a veteran of Vietnam, a true war hero who went on to speak out against the war. His is the legacy of John F. Kennedy, whom he emulated by captaining a small patrol boat in Vietnam the way Kennedy had in World War II. John Kerry is also a moderate who supported the Iraq war while fighting not to waste American money on Bush's boondoggle in awarding the Iraq contracts. The students and the faculty of the UA should get behind this very realistic candidate who is everything that Edwards and Dean are not - which is to say he is presidential, while they are short and crazy.

Seth J. Frantzman
UA alumnus