Gothamist favorite (and newish HuffPo blogger) Audrey Silk's Smoker's Rights group, NYC C.L.A.S.H. (New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment), is not amused by the rampant smoke-phobia that is ripping through New York State. The group already successfully forced the State to put a hold on an arguably illegitimate smoking ban in state parks—and today they filed suit again to have smoking ban signs that are already up taken down ASAP.
Basically, last May CLASH pointed out that unelected New York State parks officials were enacting a smoking ban without a proper public comment period. So the Parks Department agreed to postpone the implementation of the rule until that was done—only problem? It had already started to put up "no smoking" signs and didn't want to bother taking them down, which gave CLASH something of a rash.
"The intentional use of signage to fool park visitors into thinking that an unofficial policy has the force of law as a coercive tactic to induce compliance with a moral, rather than a legal, dictate cannot be tolerated," Silk explained in a statement today. "Government is taking its war on smokers to the new contemptible level when it determines the rule of law is expendable when it comes 'to those people.' Rogue governance is a threat to all."
And Silk doesn't stop there, she gets downright revolutionary! "When already beleaguered adults who choose to smoke are enjoying their outdoor activities this Independence Day holiday we want them to know that they can take to heart words from the day's founding document that '[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government...' So feel free to assert your independence from tyranny and smoke 'em if ya got 'em because the signs are a lie."
"Regardless of your view on public smoking, one thing is clear: it is wildly inappropriate for unelected personnel to be declaring behavior prohibited, giving the public the false impression of the force of law, when that very behavior is completely legal," attorney Brett Joshpe, who filed the suit for CLASH, explained.
So how is the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation taking the Silk's latest bit of hot air? A spokesperson tells us, "We're not going to comment on this" but "the signs will remain up."