You'd think educated copy editors would have a grasp of the basics of liberty and private property ownership.
Apparently not so with Bee copy editor Reed Parsell (pictured at left). Parsell authored a piece in today's Bee complaining about how awful it is to live next door to people who smoke.
I kid you not. Apparently the burden of living next door to chain smokers was so great that he actually called city government to ask if his neighbor is allowed to smoke on his own front porch.
They are chain smokers, and they always do the dirty deed on their front or back porches. At almost any hour, a vile stench of carcinogenic gases from their filthy cigarettes can slither and slime its way through bug screens into our home, often into the nursery where one month ago, we welcomed a newborn. What had been an irritation before our daughter's birth has become a life-threatening problem. Secondhand smoke kills, something that even global- warming deniers and "birthers" could not sincerely contest...
Notice gratuitous slam on "birthers" and global-warming deniers... can't this guy make a point without resorting to a political dig??
Personally, I believe smokers in general, and our neighbors in particular, would react poorly to any conversation – no matter how delicately initiated – about their cigarette addiction. Asking a smoker to curtail or stop lighting up is akin to asking a National Rifle Association member if he would give away his guns.
OK, here is the gratuitous slam on NRA. Looks like he forgot to include the standard Palin slam.
Sacramento's city codes address the issue of smoking, of course, and mince no words about lighted tobacco's ill effects. "Air pollution caused by smoking is an offensive annoyance and irritant," states the introduction in Chapter 8.80. "Smoking results in serious and significant physical discomfort of nonsmokers and constitutes a public nuisance in public places and workplaces."
However, the codes also stipulate that smoking is allowed at "a private residence, including an attached or detached garage, whether or not the residence is utilized for office or other business purposes, except when such residence is operated as a licensed day care facility for children."
A copy editor by trade, I noticed that the codes, as they appear on the city's Web site, do not specify that smoking is permitted outside a private residence but still on the property, such as on a porch. With that slim bit of hope, I phoned the city clerk's hotline and asked whether smokers must stay in their homes, which could help our situation the tiniest bit.
"I'm sure the entire city would have heard if smoking on one's porch were not legal," the worker responded. At least she was sympathetic about our problem, saying, "It's a tough one. Wish I could do something for you."
What can you say about this guy. I could be wrong but I get the idea he is offended that a family of dirty smokers have infested his lefty mid-town enclave. (Thanks to the reader who sent this to me.)