When it comes to the District's smoking ban, the only folks who seem to be able to skirt the issue appear to be members of "boys clubs."
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty signed legislation to lift the smoking ban last week so the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick could puff away at their 82nd Annual Dinner on Wednesday night at the Capitol Hilton. It was only the second time the ban has been lifted that we know of, and both times have benefited all-male events.
"As far as I am aware," said Dena Iberson of the Dept. of Health, "they are the only two events that I can think of off the top of my end."
And the Mayor's office "doesn't see any other events" listed as having the ban revoked, Monique Waters in the Office of Communications told us Tuesday.
Hotel catering director Michael Schneider confirmed: "The ban will be lifted for cigars just this one day a year."
When reached on Sunday, Council Member Jack Evans said, “The smoking issue was overblown."
Longtime organization member Bill Edwards was mum on the ban, but did offer some insight into the Friendly Sons. Membership is limited to 200, and new members are selected only when a member leaves.
For this dinner, each member can invite two guests.
“You do the math,” Edwards said. “Members are from all walks of like and include doctors, dentists and bankers."