Events continued to develop in Minnesota at week’s end.
We have previously noted the trial date of 28 April set for the bar owner first ticketed for holding "Theatre Night." A local newspaper (stored version) adds some detail. We have also noted the failure of threatening tactics to halt the spread of Theatre Night.
All else having failed, on Friday the Minnesota Department of Health resorted to seeking a court injunction, a reprimand and order to cease holding Theatre Nights, targeted specifically at Robert Ripley, the vocally rebellious owner of the Bullseye Saloon. The case for the plaintiff will be represented by the Attorney General’s Office. The Bullseye will be represented by Attorney Mark Benjamin and consultants now being sought.
Notice that in the legal filings the MDH purports itself as sole arbiter of what constitutes an artistically acceptable theatrical production since the law in fact is voiceless on the matter. Mister Ripley and all Theatre Night participants have met the only legal requirement of notifying attendees at theatrical productions that smoking will take place.
Attorney Benjamin notes: "What’s interesting in their paperwork is they use modifiers like ‘legitimate,’ ‘sham,’ ‘real,’ and ‘pretend’ when they describe the theatrical productions in bars. In other words, the MDH and the AG are now in the business of defining Art (something I wrote in my first editorial the government should not be involved in.)"
It will not be fair for a one-man law firm to take on statewide officialdom including the Attorney General’s Office (not to mention all the vast resources that antitobacco will use to support their fanatical cause.) The Theatre Night activists are putting out an urgent call for funds in order adequately to present their case in the courtrooms. Donations can be sent to this address:
Kenn Rocker, President
Tavern League of Minnesota
235 East Roselawn
Maplewood, MN 55117
You should make your check payable to the Tavern League of Minnesota and include the memo "Theatre Night Defense Fund" on the check.
The verdict on the misdemeanor ticket will already be in before the scheduled hearing on the injunction, set for 30 April. Theatre Night grows more interesting all the time and we shall continue following related events closely at FORCES. Note also our previous related article and also watch for updates at the Minnesotan activists’ freedomtoact web site.
As a postscript, the pogrom-loving Minneapolis/Saint Paul Star-Tribune is in a lather (Article) (stored version) over the so-called "smoker shack" provision presently being bandied in the state Legislature, which would allow sties for smoker pigs outside of respectable boozing establishments. Smokers must fight for full restoration of their rights. Promoters of eugenics belong out in the cold. We encourage a total boycott of the Star-Tribune. There is no safe level of vilifying propaganda.