Sounds like the owners and smokers in Iowa ain't going down with a fight so to speak. If more folks across the nation were like this, smoking bans wouldn't last for very long.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Clinton bar owners merge efforts to fight smoking ban
CLINTON, Iowa — At times it resembled a political rally, a revival
meeting and a telethon all rolled into one.
But the theme of Thursday's meeting of bar owners from across
was clear: If they hope to defeat the state smoking ban, bar owners
must pool their resources.
The meeting was hosted by the Clinton Organized Bar and Restaurant
Association, or COBRA, but drew about 70 bar owners and patrons from
as far away as Fairfield, Keokuk and Blairsburg.
COBRA President Jon Van Roekel said the purpose of the meeting was to
merge five to seven separate efforts throughout the state into one
organization and raise money to hire an attorney and seek an
injunction to stop the state from enforcing the new smoking ban,
which goes into effect .
The new law bans smoking in bars, restaurants and most
workplaces, with the exception of casino gaming floors and the Iowa
Veterans Home in Marshalltown.
Twyla Peacock, owner of Tillie's Tap in Keosauqua, seemed to sum up
the feeling in the room about the Iowa legislature.
"I have said the F-word more the last few weeks than I have in my
entire life," she said to cheers from the room at the Odeon, a
Clinton tavern. "They're going to drive me out of business, and I'm
not going to stand for it."
Van Roekel said COBRA is merging its efforts with those of Brian
Froelich, owner of Fro's Pub and Grub in Wilton, who is organizing a
group called the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition, or IBOC
Froelich said by passing the law, the legislature violated the rights
of small business owners and put their businesses in jeopardy. He
said he already has heard from some of his customers that they plan
to build bars in their basements if they are not allowed to smoke in
"I don't know about you, but I'm a little scared," he said.
Van Roekel said if every food and liquor-license holder in the state
pledged $200 to the effort, IBOC could raise enough money to fight
the issue all the way to the . Van
Roekel said he wants the issue to go that far so Iowa's law can be a
test case on the issue.
Bar owners took turns at the microphone, criticizing the law and
pledging money to the effort in amounts up to $1,000.
Marty Maynes, owner of The Union in , said he has contacted
several bar owners in and , and said organization
was the key to defeating the law.
"If we all would have banded together like this from the beginning,
this law never would have been passed," Maynes said.
Kat Barrick, co-owner of the Silver Dollar Supper Club in Blairsburg,
said she brought with her the names of 27 other bar owners willing to
donate money, and said her bar is accepting donations for a "slush
fund" to pay the fines of the bar if its patrons are caught smoking.
Nicole Baker, chairwoman of the Clinton County Republican Committee,
also attended the meeting to encourage Iowans to vote out the
legislators who voted for the bill.
That message was echoed by Les Shields of Clinton, who ran
unsuccessfully as a Republican in 2006 against Rep. Polly Bukta, D-
Clinton, who voted in favor of the bill.
Shields said bar owners are smart people who know what is best for
"They don't need government telling them how to run their
businesses," he said.
A meeting for those interested in supporting IBOC's efforts will be
held at at the Knights of Columbus hall at 1111 W. 35th
St. in Davenport.
Steven Martens can be contacted at or
Labels: Clinton bar owners merge efforts to fight smoking ban
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