I would like to add my “two-bits” worth concerning the recent village board meeting and results thereof.

Regarding the proposed ban on smoking in public establishments I must say Trustee Diana Carpenter said it best in a very poignant statement, “This is a freedom of choice issue.” Privately-owned businesses have a right to decide on how they want to operate. Many businesses in the entertainment and food service industry choose to cater both smokers and non-smokers because it allows them access to a broad base of clientele. To tell a business they must do it the Oak Park way or hit the highway is not only stepping on the toes of small business, but at the same time moving free enterprise to a socialist economy where the government pulls all the strings.

If you look around Oak Park, there is a majority of businesses that do not allow smoking of any kind. Has anyone been to Borders or Starbucks and seen people lighting up? How about the multitude of shops and stores in town? The answer is no. In fact establishments that do allow smoking are in a minority of businesses that operate in Oak Park. As far as Oak Parkers should be concerned this is such a small issue that it clouds people from looking at larger problems we have. But that too is a socialist tactic to distract the citizens from the larger issues that loom over their land.

If the Oak Park Board of Health is looking for something to do, may I recommend the following bans to pursue:

Processed Food Ban: It’s a known fact that fast food and much of the processed food we buy in stores and are given to our children in school lunches contain extraordinary amounts of fat which lead to heart disease, obesity and other ailments.

Automobile Ban: Automobiles known to be used for recreation and transportation clog our air with massive amounts of pollution daily and have a worse track record than the combined statistics for firearms and smoking in the death and injury of humans.

Family Stress Ban: Today we literally force our children to adapt the overzealous pace of life we have by forcing them to join activities that fill their schedules so completely they don’t have time to be a part of the family. This combined with parents that are too busy working 10 to 16 hour days creates stress on the entire family that often leads kids into drugs, deviant behavior and many times suicide.

I could continue but I think I’ve made my point. In summary free enterprise means freedom of choice. Like it or not everyone, including businesses have the constitutional right to choose. People of Oak Park need to look at the bigger issues affecting this community. Good place to start is seeing how your elected officials spend your tax dollars and actually demanding 100 percent accountability. Put your energies in the right place and you may still get it right.

Pete Bradshaw
Oak Park

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