Friday, January 21, 2011

A nasty minded neighbour

My theory is that most of the vehemently anti smoking brigade are indeed ex smokers. Even though they may have quit for many years they still have a craving that won’t go away. They are the ones who are most likely to complain when people smoke anywhere near them. They are the ones most likely to run to the police if they find anyone breaking the new law.

Most people here in Spain are prepared to comply with the new stricter laws about where you can and cannot smoke even if they don’t fully agree. That is not good enough for the anti smokers, now they have the law on their side, they want their pound of flesh.

A bar owner from the Los Angeles district of Alicante thought she was complying with the law when she put up a notice telling people they could no longer smoke inside her bar. Her bar is near to two schools and every morning, mothers would drop off their children and then go for breakfast and a cigar. So she placed a table and two chairs in the porch where they could sit and still enjoy a smoke. Even still, Ester reckons she has lost 50 Euros of trade each day since the law came into effect.

A local resident, who clearly knows all the ins and outs of the new law better than Ester, saw what was happening and denounced her to the local police. The following day an inspector arrived and made a report complete with drawings showing where the smoker was sat. The porch is less than a metre wide, surrounded by two walls and has a glass roof so therefore it is classed as an enclosed space. If the table had been placed at the bottom of the step instead of the top, it would have been a different matter.

So now Ester faces a possible fine of 600 Euros which she can’t afford. She says she will have to contest it. If common sense had prevailed, either the inspector or the police would have advised the lady to move the table and chairs to ensure that she complied with a law that, as yet, very few understand fully.

I don’t suppose she will be sending the “friendly neighbour” a Christmas card.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I sincerely hope that a prosecution doesn't ensue. At this stage of a game that's new to everybody, the obvious step is to offer advice and guidance.

If someone is openly and overtly flouting the new regulations then fair enough - prosecute. But right now, when the retailers are being hit hardest, the last thing they need is overbearing enforcement. I'd expect that from a Council Officer, but not the Police.

I hope the community offer her some letters of support for her case.