Dishonoring a Friend
Speakers at the memorial included two of Jeff's brothers, Mayor Vince Gray, Rick Rosendall, Councilmember David Catania, and Jeff's boss, Councilmember Jack Evans. Jeff was the Clerk of the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
Today I learned that Jack Evans introduced a a bill, just days before Jeff died, to weaken our indoor smokefree workplace law. Bill 19-0070 is the "Special Event Exemption Act of 2011." It would allow hotels to once a year host cigar smoking events if they notify the Department of Health and pay a fee of $2,500. For hotel events, that is chump change.
Last year Jack introduced, and got passed, emergency legislation so that his buddies in the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick could have their cigar party. Not outside where it would be legal, not in a cigar bar where it would be legal, but inside a hotel. This creating a hazard not only for the members, but also the staff who had to work at the event and clean the room of the cigar odor. This is a special favor for Jack's friends. It isn't illegal, but it isn't ethical, and it isn't good for D.C.
David Catania spoke about Jeff and lamented his passing of a smoking related illness so young. David noted that the indoor smokefree workplace law, smoking cessation programs, and higher taxes on cigarettes has significantly reduced smoking in D.C. David suggested that some legislation related to reducing smoking or smoking related illness be named for Jeff.
Jack, this is no way to honor Jeff. This is an insult to Jeff. Withdraw the bill now, and never do this again.