Posted May 14, 2009 in News



Dear IE Weekly,


After having read your story titled “Wacky Tobacky” (Issue 4) by David Silva, I’m inclined to think that the author’s position against taxing tobacco is unjustified. The author claims that smoke shops are not really hurt by the tax increase. Nor, according to his sources, are the lower-income smokers. The smoker (if poor) just switches to a cheaper brand of drug. The author also notes that California is not among the harshest states in terms of tobacco taxation.

If the “smoke shops” (i.e., drug shops) are not hurt by the tax increase, nor are the drug users—then I think the obvious conclusion is to further increase tobacco taxation. California should set a precedent in increasing taxation for drugs. The goal should be to tax the drug user and those who sell the drugs. Why? Simple: It is an immoral business. It is a community-based detriment to human health. 

Low income citizens need to quit smoking, not switch to a cheaper cigarette. The lower income brackets are the most “at risk” members of the community in terms of social diseases, such as drugs and alcohol. The current state of affairs is not helping the poor make better life decisions. And keeping “smoke-shops” in business is detrimental to the community’s health and well-being. Riverside would be better off without “smoke shops.” 

Conclusion: The author needs to make a better case defending his anti-tax position. And he should address opposing views, such as mine.



Dr. Baiamonte




Regarding the article on Pomona’s tow companies meeting with city reps [Issue 50’s “Tow Away For Bigger Pay”], I’d like to know about the follow up results.

In respect to all tow truck drivers—a profession that’s overlooked, yet deserves recognition—it’s true they are doing their job. 

—Maria Ybarra


The Big Three of Pomona’s tow business oligopoly—S & J Towing Service, Bill & Wags Towing and Pomona Valley Towing—got only half of what they were fussin’ for: The city council this month awarded them all three-year, non-exclusive franchises . . . but did not approve increasing the rates companies charge hapless motorists. That’s one for Big Tow, one for the little guy—if by “little guy” you mean the poor saps caught by Pomona’s notorious DUI checkpoints—AND get their car impounded by these same towing companies. There’s no business like tow business.


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