One hot topic in Charlotte lately is the city seeking the ability to ban smoking in all public places. This wouldn’t seem so bad if they were not including privately owned bars and restaurants as ‘public places’. I have no doubt they will succeed in getting this passed… the question will then be one of enforcement. There are some real (and growing) crime problems in charlotte and yet there will be people assigned to enforce the latest ‘tidy town’ rules of the week of which the smoking ban is just the latest. Recently we have also had to endure new ordinances on flag flying, limits on the se of your own property and where you can park your car (on April 1.. how appropriate), orcing buskers to audition and obtain permits, and even limits on beggars. At the same time… the city thinks nothing of spending huge amounts of public money on budget-busting transit projects that won’t accomplish any of the stated goals.. nd giving free money to billionaires and other successful businesses to build sports venues. We even have a preview of the blackhole that transit will become in the downtown trolley line.. with an estimated tax subsidy of about 90% for each ticket purchased. The $2 it would cost you to ride to southend and back for lunch ends up costing the tax payers about $20. You would think with all these freebies the city has money to burn… but no.. they are also abut to raise property taxes by about 9% on the heels of a recent revaluation.. and they have already decided to make the city less attractive to visitors by raising the hotel/motel tax. Combine that with the billion plus state deficit and you start to wonder if these elected officials are evil or just incompetent.