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Butting In

From: Jessica Jones, Manhattan
I agree with Jay McInerney that the mayor's proposed smoking ban is an attack on our civil liberties ["Gotham: Manhattan Lights," August 26-September 2]. If the health police are successful in attacking smokers, they will move on to other things, like junk food and obesity, and perfume, and anything else they don't like. The restaurant and bar owners should be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to accommodate smokers, and then the public can choose where they want to take their business, and servers and bartenders can choose where they want to work. I don't like it when people talk loudly into their cell phones on the bus, so I don't take the bus anymore. I don't like screaming kids, so I don't go to Disneyland. No one is forcing anti-smoking patrons and servers to go into restaurants that allow smoking.

From: Richard Toes, Manhattan
Would someone please inform Jay that his cigarette habit is really a cigarette addiction? And yes, Jay, maybe it is time for you to seek out another city to live in. I am tired of sucking in the death sentence you would impose on innocent people. And yes, I am that bartender that you have been blowing your smoke at all these years.

From: Dowie Jones, Manhattan
Bravo, Jay. What attracts a large number of tourists to New York is the city's nightlife. Many high-spending Euros will be thinking twice before hopping on a plane to party (and shop and dine) in New York if the new anti-smoking proposal goes through. This isn't L.A.: Our bars and clubs don't have "smoking patios" like their left-coast peers, so this is going to hit businesses in New York much harder than it did when California bars went smokeless. This proposal is another assault not just on the rights of smokers but on the livelihood of many, many more beleaguered New Yorkers, who will lose their jobs in bars, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants. Couldn't Bloomberg postpone this at least until the city's economy recovers? In the meantime, couldn't stricter ventilation laws suffice?

From: Deborah Gordon, Sacramento, CA
Yes, Jay, there is an opening for governor in Sacramento, where we've had the good sense to ban public smoking pretty much everywhere. The other day, my little granddaughter saw a cigarette butt on the sidewalk and had to ask my daughter what it was. That's how rare smoking is in our lives. The restrictions helped my husband and my best friend to quit. As for Mr. Bloomberg, if he were on the ballot here, I would vote for him in a New York minute.

From: Ernie DeGraw, Geneva, NY
Here's a compromise: I propose that effective January 2003, all new bars and restaurants be 100 percent smoke-free, but that all existing bars and restaurants be smoker-friendly.

The "China Daddy" Syndrome

From: Adeena Dworkin, Manhattan
Although I feel compassion for Camille Colvin, she is hardly a blameless victim ["The Lost Boy," by Lisa DePaulo, August 26-September 2]. She was the first to kidnap the couple's child, yet it was her ex-husband who was made to suffer the humiliation of supervised visits with his son. Guo Rui requested alimony from his wealthier ex-spouse; it was Ms. Colvin who offered up parental rights to their son as a salable item. Mr. Guo's one seemingly incontrovertible right-the right to be called Daddy by his only son (as opposed to "China Daddy") -- was stripped away by Ms. Colvin without apparent concern for the emotional impact such an action would have on either father or son. It seems to me that Camille Colvin created the "all or nothing" choice forced upon Guo Rui. Not surprisingly, he chose "all."

From: Emily Tan, Manhattan
It would seem that only after Camille Colvin got a taste of her own medicine -- that is, after her husband kidnapped their child and took him to another country-did she stop to ask herself what would be in the best interests of the child, since it's not until the end of the article that she says: "We have to start to think, 'What's right for him?' "

From: Terence Teng, Manhattan
I am Chinese and have lived in New York City for the past twenty years. After reading the article, I mentioned it to two Chinese women who live here now. One thought the mother was very na´ve; the other just laughed. We sympathize with Ms. Colvin's situation, but the only way she could have kept the child was to have severed all ties to China once back in the States. To think that the father would give up the child for $60,000! No Chinese person would believe it.



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