[Bloomberg on Evoting, see second item]


Ognibene to take on smoking ban





May 20, 2005, 7:33 PM EDT


In his run for mayor, Republican Tom Ognibene is planning the first and possibly only press event of its kind: a vow to re-visit the anti-smoking law imposed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's urging.


The former Middle Village councilman is preparing to explain early next week why he thinks the city should revert to the former indoor smoking act passed during the Giuliani administration.


Bloomberg has been taking victory laps as a leading public health advocate since the new law was enacted early in his four-year term, which began in 2002.


The Conservative Party is expected to endorse Ognibene for the fall regardless of whether he succeeds in his dream of snatching the GOP nomination from Bloomberg. That organization has opposed the smoking measure as an incursion on the freedoms of businesses and adults.


Ognibene is expected to try to make clear that he is not actually advocating smoking but supporting individual liberties.




Bloomberg on his weekly WABC radio show Friday took a position that departs from his opponents' -- and it may mean that he's more bullish on computer technology than anyone else in the field.


In discussing the need to replace antiquated voting machines, the mayor spurned the widely-made argument that any new system should be backed up by a "paper trail" to help ensure that it cannot be rigged.


"I would do it, personally, without a paper trail," the mayor said. "If you are worried about honesty in computers and their reliability, don't get in an airplane because you'd never get off the ground.


"You're never going to have a set of voting machines that's 100 percent reliable," he said. "But you could come pretty close in terms of protections for the public and making sure nobody can tamper with it."


That's at odds with what Democrats in the race -- and some election experts -- have been saying. But then, Bloomberg also takes a "worry-not" stance on removing conductors from subway trains in favor of automation.


Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.



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