Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, best known to Gothamist as the Assemblyman who wants school kids' weights to be graded, is looking to ban smoking from NYC housing projects. Okay, it's really just a measure to make 50% of housing projects smoke-free, but the goal would be to make housing projects completely smoke-free by 2010. Ortiz's argument is that hotels have smoking and non-smoking rooms, and "housing complexes are not so much different than hotels." Gothamist understands the issues of smoke smells coming from neighboring apartments, and, yes, secondhand smoke is a health issue, but we worry that this would start a trend towards banning, oh, pungent cooking from apartments or slightly loud but not that loud music or the occasional dog barks and arguments. It seems more feasible for smokers to pay a deposit for a filter or deionizer, but how would a smoking ban in a residence even be enforced? The Post interviewed some housing complex tenants, who hate the idea of this bill, saying, "If you don't want people to smoke, then make cigarette sales against the law" (watch what you wish for!) and classic "Stop the drugs out here before you stop the smoking."

Gothamist on the aftermath of the smoking ban: Not too much damage to bar business and more smokers quitting. Ortiz did introduce the bill that holding a cellphone while driving illegal, helping create more demand for headset usage and making Gothamist realize that one person yelling to him/herself on the street might not just be crazy - he/she might be crazy and using a cellphone headset.