Posts Tagged ‘Benny Vanatta’

(Part 1 – Dear John) I thought you loved me?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I thought you said you loved me?

Dear John,

I am writing to tell you that I am breaking up.  I thought that you said you loved me?  Or more like you loved local rights and standing up for governments closest to the people – but that is what made me fall for you and support you when you ran for office.  That is what you said when you came to my front door.  Remember?  You were running for office.  You even mentioned it  in your campaign materials.

Then, I found out about this letter that you received from someone you have been seeing behind my back.  Someone who says “…control of those items that are for the greater good of citizens.”  Isn’t returning local rights regarding smoke-free for the greater good?

But I was heartbroken and really rather furious to hear them refer to me as “…whims of local citizenry.”  I was hurt.  I asked you about it and you told me that, I was not capable of making these kind of decisions and neither were my city council or my mayor.

I’m thinking that Sunday’s Tulsa World is right and that this “love fest” needs to end.  25 years is too long.  I WANT local rights returned.  Just like you promised me when you ran for office.  You can’t have it both ways.  You need to choose who elected you or who keeps sending you letters, giving you contributions and taking you to dinner.  I mean – they don’t even live in your district.

- Oklahoma Voter

PS – The Tulsa World also published excerpts of other letters:


“Our record in defeating state smoking restrictions has been reasonably good. Unfortunately, our record with respect to local measures…has been somewhat less encouraging.” – Raymond Pritchard, Brown and Williamson, US Tobacco & Candy Journal, July 17, 1986.

“But above all, we intend to resist, at all costs, any attempt by anti-tobacco forces to repeal the state’s preemption of local smoking regulation.” – Memorandum from Stan Bowman, Tobacco Institute, regarding “Oklahoma 1991 Legislative program,” Nov. 18, 1990.

“We could never win at the local level … So the Tobacco Institute and tobacco companies’ first priority has always been to preempt the field…” – Victor L. Crawford, former Tobacco Institute lobbyist, Journal of the American Medical Association, July 19, 1995.



Who’s this guy and why is he speaking to the House Public Health Committee?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This gentleman didn’t just stumble into the House Public Health Committee yesterday (Tuesday, February 21, 2012).  He spoke on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association against HB2267/Restore Local Rights.  But he isn’t JUST representing ORA.  He didn’t mention to all of the members of the House Public Health Committee that he is also a registered Tobacco Lobbyist.  Because – why would a Tobacco Lobbyist speak at a House Pubic Health Committee?

This gentleman is Benny Vanatta – he is both a registered lobbyist for the ORA and Swisher.  But when he speaks against Restoring Local Rights  – is he speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association OR Swisher?

It is common practice for tobacco companies to use  both the National Restaurant Association and State Restaurant Associations [like here in Oklahoma] ( in some states – not all.  Click here and see map) as a front to work against smoke-free policies.

“Since the 1970’s, tobacco companies have worked persistently to influence the policy positions of key hospitality trade associations for the purpose of using these third parties as front groups to undermine smokefree policies. Even though all legitimate economic studies show that smokefree air has no negative impact on business, tobacco industry strategists were successful in both buying off the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and convincing it that smokefree ordinances are bad for business.” - American for Nonsmoker’s Rights

When they say it is bad for business.  It isn’t!

When they say communities are not capable of making wise decisions.  It isn’t true!

When WE go to the Capitol and when WE speak to our legislators – we go as ourselves.
We use credible facts from ANR and the American Cancer Society.
We have nothing to hide – or another organization to hide behind.
We come as ourselves and will continue to do so until local rights are restored.

Oklahoma’s race to the bottom of bad health is NOT the race I want to win.

Find out how YOU can help.  Follow us on facebook and twitter.  Call and/or email your legislators and tell them that “You don’t want to get a job someplace else!   You want your city to be able to become smoke-free!”  Ask them to support HB2267/Restore Local Rights!

And don’t take NO for an answer!

-Paula