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Public vs. Private Space





Afaceinthematrix
I have a simple question that will lead to a deeper discussion (that I will bring up once I get a reasonable amount of input). What is the difference between public and private space? To me, the definition should be (although it's not and that's what this is leading to), that public spaces are spaces that are funded by tax dollars and private spaces are not funded by tax dollars (i.e. owned by a owner or group of owners).

The actual legal definition is quite different in the U.S. and many other places around the world. The definition that we have is that public spaces are spaces in which the public can visit. This would include restaurants, hotels, bars, etc. To me, this is wrong. These are not public places. They are private spaces.

What this is eventually going to lead to is a situation in where the government makes unnecessary laws governing what can be done in these private spaces on the basis of them being "public" spaces. To me, this is a complete invasion of property (but more to come later).
Ankhanu
You and I have different views on government involvement and regulatory power... I actually like a certain level of regulation, as I don't trust the general public or corporations to act for the good of others without it (generally). It's this difference in ideology and opinion of public that is kind of at the heart of the general idea of this topic/debate (as I know you know... I'm just stating anyway Wink )

Personally, I'm generally comfortable with the current definition of public space. It may be privately owned, but the intent is that the public would use it... making it public. If you're inviting the public in, it's a space for the public, and the general rights of people and a general regard for them should be respected, imo.

Private spaces are more regulated in nature; there isn't an invitation to the general public, only to consenting, invited individuals. They're private Smile

From my perspective (and apparently that of my and your governments), it is the intent of the space more than the ownership that determines public vs. private.
ocalhoun
Why does there need to be a dichotomy?

It seems to me that -- while fitting them into two categories is difficult -- it could be broken down quite handily into four categories:
1- Restricted Government Space (paid for by taxes, owned by state, not open to public without invitation)
2- Government Space (paid for by taxes, owned by state, et cetera, open to public)
3- Public Space (not paid for or owned by state, yet open to public without invitation)
4- Private Space (not paid for or owned by state, not open to public without invitation)

And various rules and laws would of course be different for all four.

Examples of the categories:
1: Military bases, government back offices, security zones, preservation areas
2: Roads, public parks, government front offices
3: Stores, business-places
4: Private homes, factories and other non-public commercial property
deanhills
For me the key would be an application for a license of any kind. Once a license has been allocated, then the Government indirectly has right of scrutiny and the space becomes public from a legal point of view. For example, if the restaurant wants to sell liquor, then it would need to apply for a liquor license and there are liquor laws that would be applicable and treat the space as public for that purpose. Ditto a license to operate as a restaurant as there are various restaurant laws that would involve inspections from a health point of view, and no doubt anti-tobacco laws etc.

I think I know where you are going with this, and instead of fighting it, I'd far rather recreate something as a private club. So that you don't have to apply for any licenses and be as free in operating your "business" as you want to. You can even call it the Smokers' Club. Twisted Evil
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
I think I know where you are going with this, and instead of fighting it, I'd far rather recreate something as a private club. So that you don't have to apply for any licenses and be as free in operating your "business" as you want to. You can even call it the Smokers' Club. Twisted Evil


Not in Canada Razz
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:

3- Public Space (not paid for or owned by state, yet open to public without invitation)


That's really where I am getting at. Those places, to me, are private spaces because they are not paid for by taxes. The point that I am going to make has to do with certain laws (including a new law in my area - Los Angeles, CA) that the government is passing that are just too far overboard.

Recently Los Angeles banned smoking in outdoor restaurant areas! So for weeks I had to hear stupid commercials about how we can now enjoy our outdoor meals and food (unless you're a smoker)! They went on talking about how smoking is banned in public places! But these places are not public and so the government has no right to regulate rather or not the owner of a place allows people to smoke in their building. I completely agree that smoking should be banned in places like libraries, schools, etc. - places that are funded by tax dollars and that are truly public.

But now they are going to tell me that if I own a bar, that I cannot smoke in my own bar! I also cannot let my friends or customers smoke in MY bar! What arbitrarily gives them a right to tell me that I cannot do, or let other people do, a perfectly legal activity on my property? They can piss off as far as I'm concerned.

When I was telling someone this recently, he responded with, "How would you like it if you were trying to sit there and enjoy your meal and someone near you was smoking?" First off, I'm not a tobacco smoker but the secondhand smoke doesn't bother me too much. But theoretically, even if it did bother me, I would simply leave that restaurant and go somewhere else. They would lose my business. So most places probably wouldn't allow smoking so that they do not lose customers. But my point is that it should be completely up to the owner of the building as to rather or not they will allow people to do something completely legal in that building. If you don't like it - then go somewhere else.

Of course it doesn't stop here.... Now the government is trying to tell you what food you're allowed to sell in your own restaurant. Pretty soon they're going to tell us when we can go and take a piss... That's the end of my rant there. I basically wanted people's opinion on public and private spaces. I think in private spaces smoking should be allowed but if my tax dollars are paying for a library, then I should be able to study with clean air...
handfleisch
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

3- Public Space (not paid for or owned by state, yet open to public without invitation)


That's really where I am getting at. Those places, to me, are private spaces because they are not paid for by taxes. The point that I am going to make has to do with certain laws (including a new law in my area - Los Angeles, CA) that the government is passing that are just too far overboard.

Recently Los Angeles banned smoking in outdoor restaurant areas! So for weeks I had to hear stupid commercials about how we can now enjoy our outdoor meals and food (unless you're a smoker)! They went on talking about how smoking is banned in public places! But these places are not public and so the government has no right to regulate rather or not the owner of a place allows people to smoke in their building. I completely agree that smoking should be banned in places like libraries, schools, etc. - places that are funded by tax dollars and that are truly public.

But now they are going to tell me that if I own a bar, that I cannot smoke in my own bar! I also cannot let my friends or customers smoke in MY bar! What arbitrarily gives them a right to tell me that I cannot do, or let other people do, a perfectly legal activity on my property? They can piss off as far as I'm concerned.

When I was telling someone this recently, he responded with, "How would you like it if you were trying to sit there and enjoy your meal and someone near you was smoking?" First off, I'm not a tobacco smoker but the secondhand smoke doesn't bother me too much. But theoretically, even if it did bother me, I would simply leave that restaurant and go somewhere else. They would lose my business. So most places probably wouldn't allow smoking so that they do not lose customers. But my point is that it should be completely up to the owner of the building as to rather or not they will allow people to do something completely legal in that building. If you don't like it - then go somewhere else.

Of course it doesn't stop here.... Now the government is trying to tell you what food you're allowed to sell in your own restaurant. Pretty soon they're going to tell us when we can go and take a piss... That's the end of my rant there. I basically wanted people's opinion on public and private spaces. I think in private spaces smoking should be allowed but if my tax dollars are paying for a library, then I should be able to study with clean air...


Your views are interesting but they conflict with human progress of the last couple hundred years. You can wish that your definition of public was the accepted definition but it is not. The civilized world has generally decided that if your restaurant is open the public, it must conform to some minimum accepted norms. Those minimum standards apply to things like hygiene, food that is not toxic and now to secondhand smoke. You are against the regulation of all these things, which as I said is interesting.

I know some third world countries where you'd feel very free. You are free to eat in a place so full of smoke that you'll develop breathing problems within a year of eating there daily, you are free to easily get food poisoning and be served by a waiter who didn't wash after using the toilet. It's just that most of us don't think of that as freedom.

You say "Pretty soon they're going to tell us when we can go and take a piss." Actually "they" already tell you that. You can go and take a piss when you aren't walking down the street in a urban or residential area, for example. Again, it's a form of so-called freedom that most of us support the prohibition of, since it conflicts with our freedom to not have to see, watch or smell you while you're doing it.
Afaceinthematrix
handfleisch wrote:
Your views are interesting but they conflict with human progress of the last couple hundred years. You can wish that your definition of public was the accepted definition but it is not. The civilized world has generally decided that if your restaurant is open the public, it must conform to some minimum accepted norms. Those minimum standards apply to things like hygiene, food that is not toxic and now to secondhand smoke. You are against the regulation of all these things, which as I said is interesting.


I am against regulation of freedom. I believe that restaurants should be required to be completely honest with that they sell. So theoretically, if a restaurant wanted to put cyanide on their menu with warning labels and disclosure signings then shit, if you want to commit suicide, then go ahead.

Smoking as long been accepted as a legal activity. If I smoked tobacco, I could light up right now at my computer. This is my property. So if a restaurant is my property, then I should be allowed to smoke in it and allow my customers to smoke in it. If you say no, then you're really just being a bossy little jerk and telling me what I can or cannot allow in my building - it's not like I am allowing anything illegal. And with these "crack downs" on trans-fats, people are also arbitrarily giving themselves the rights to boss me around and tell me what kind of food I can sell. I have no problem requiring restaurants to provide nutrition facts - that way people can decide if they really want to eat there or not. Similarly, I would have no problem requiring restaurants to post signs that they are a "smoking restaurant" - that way people can decide if they even want to go in. If they don't then that restaurant has lost business. That's why most probably wouldn't allow smoking.

I believe in freedom - I am a libertarian. I should be able to do anything legal in my property (and actually, far more should be legal but the fact that banning prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc. is a complete restriction of freedom is for another topic). That is why I hate Obama so much anyways.
handfleisch
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
Your views are interesting but they conflict with human progress of the last couple hundred years. You can wish that your definition of public was the accepted definition but it is not. The civilized world has generally decided that if your restaurant is open the public, it must conform to some minimum accepted norms. Those minimum standards apply to things like hygiene, food that is not toxic and now to secondhand smoke. You are against the regulation of all these things, which as I said is interesting.


I am against regulation of freedom. I believe that restaurants should be required to be completely honest with that they sell. So theoretically, if a restaurant wanted to put cyanide on their menu with warning labels and disclosure signings then shit, if you want to commit suicide, then go ahead.

Smoking as long been accepted as a legal activity. If I smoked tobacco, I could light up right now at my computer. This is my property. So if a restaurant is my property, then I should be allowed to smoke in it and allow my customers to smoke in it. If you say no, then you're really just being a bossy little jerk and telling me what I can or cannot allow in my building - it's not like I am allowing anything illegal. And with these "crack downs" on trans-fats, people are also arbitrarily giving themselves the rights to boss me around and tell me what kind of food I can sell. I have no problem requiring restaurants to provide nutrition facts - that way people can decide if they really want to eat there or not. Similarly, I would have no problem requiring restaurants to post signs that they are a "smoking restaurant" - that way people can decide if they even want to go in. If they don't then that restaurant has lost business. That's why most probably wouldn't allow smoking.

I believe in freedom - I am a libertarian. I should be able to do anything legal in my property (and actually, far more should be legal but the fact that banning prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc. is a complete restriction of freedom is for another topic). That is why I hate Obama so much anyways.


Wait -- you support regulation that would require a restaurant to list every ingredient they sell? You're against my freedom to not have to do this, and what a complicated and impossible regulation it would be. See how it works? Now you're the "bossy little jerk" in the scenario.

Suffice to say, there's always a grey area between various overlapping freedoms. You happen to draw that line very far from where most of us have generally agreed to draw it, which is why your so-called libertarianism is considered extremist and dysfunctional by most people.

What the heck this has to do with Obama and your hatred of him is unclear, and makes it sound like you are motivated by irrational emotions, not political ideas.
ocalhoun
Ah, now there's a classic argument.
(To be fair, Afaceinthematrix, if you were on the winning side of this argument, businesses would still be allowed to have separate 'white' and 'colored' amenities, or be able to entirely refuse service based on race.)


While I think it is within the government's purview to regulate the goings-on within privately owned public places*, the government's exercise of this should be kept to a minimum whenever possible, and where necessary, it should be done with the lightest touch possible.


(ie, for this example, a law that said "All smokers must either stop smoking or go somewhere else when asked to do so in public places" rather than a law that simply banned it in all public places... The difference between the two is that the universal ban forces a change in behavior even when the behavior is not hurting anyone, while the one I suggest only forces a change in behavior when there is an actual 'victim'.)


*To varying degrees, it is the government's job to regulate things in all four categories. While you may be free to smoke in your own home, you are not free to, say, build firearms without a license in your own home.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Ah, now there's a classic argument.
(To be fair, Afaceinthematrix, if you were on the winning side of this argument, businesses would still be allowed to have separate 'white' and 'colored' amenities, or be able to entirely refuse service based on race.)


To be fair, I think that only an ass would be a racist and discriminate. However, I do not think it should be illegal. If I don't like "white" people (I am choosing that example because I am "white"), then why should I be forced to host them in my building?


Quote:
While I think it is within the government's purview to regulate the goings-on within privately owned public places*, the government's exercise of this should be kept to a minimum whenever possible, and where necessary, it should be done with the lightest touch possible.


(ie, for this example, a law that said "All smokers must either stop smoking or go somewhere else when asked to do so in public places" rather than a law that simply banned it in all public places... The difference between the two is that the universal ban forces a change in behavior even when the behavior is not hurting anyone, while the one I suggest only forces a change in behavior when there is an actual 'victim'.)


They shouldn't have to leave if the owner of the building allows smoking. If the nonsmoker doesn't like it, then they can leave and give someone else their business. In the case of truly public places (my tax dollars pay for it), then the owner is the public and it is public interest to not have smokers in the building.


*To varying degrees, it is the government's job to regulate things in all four categories. While you may be free to smoke in your own home, you are not free to, say, build firearms without a license in your own home.[/quote]

-------------------




handfleisch wrote:

Wait -- you support regulation that would require a restaurant to list every ingredient they sell? You're against my freedom to not have to do this, and what a complicated and impossible regulation it would be. See how it works? Now you're the "bossy little jerk" in the scenario.


I should have to right to know what I am buying or else it's false advertisement. You cannot tell me that you're serving me a sirloin steak (is that a good steak - I don't eat meat so I don't really know?) and then give me horse meat. In the same way, I cannot purposely misrepresent what I am selling to my customers (I am a tool salesman).

Quote:
Suffice to say, there's always a grey area between various overlapping freedoms. You happen to draw that line very far from where most of us have generally agreed to draw it, which is why your so-called libertarianism is considered extremist and dysfunctional by most people.


Dysfunctional to most people? I believe that something should be illegal if and only if it is restricting someone else's freedom. I already said that I am not a tobacco smoker. But I do smoke marijuana occasionally and I also smoke salvia relatively frequently. I cannot think of a single reason why me smoking marijuana is dysfunctional to our society. It hurts absolutely no one besides myself and I cannot think of a single valid reason why it should be illegal. Salvia is currently legal but certain groups are trying to make it illegal... Even though I usually smoke it on my couch and am hurting absolutely no one... Prostitution was another thing that I brought up. That is a victimless "crime" and, like I said, there's no reason why two consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to engage in an activity with money transactions involved... That goes back to smoking in places. I don't want to inhale too much smoke. I said it doesn't bother me too much. But that's because I am in that situation very rarely. Overall, I would simply not go to those restaurants and they would lose my business...

Quote:
What the heck this has to do with Obama and your hatred of him is unclear, and makes it sound like you are motivated by irrational emotions, not political ideas.


I just brought that up because that is the reason why I hate Obama. He believes that things, such as marijuana, should be illegal.
Ankhanu
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
To be fair, I think that only an ass would be a racist and discriminate.


To be fair, most people are asses. They're not all racist, but almost all of them are asses (yes, I'm included).
jmi256
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I have a simple question that will lead to a deeper discussion (that I will bring up once I get a reasonable amount of input). What is the difference between public and private space? To me, the definition should be (although it's not and that's what this is leading to), that public spaces are spaces that are funded by tax dollars and private spaces are not funded by tax dollars (i.e. owned by a owner or group of owners).

The actual legal definition is quite different in the U.S. and many other places around the world. The definition that we have is that public spaces are spaces in which the public can visit. This would include restaurants, hotels, bars, etc. To me, this is wrong. These are not public places. They are private spaces.

What this is eventually going to lead to is a situation in where the government makes unnecessary laws governing what can be done in these private spaces on the basis of them being "public" spaces. To me, this is a complete invasion of property (but more to come later).


Just because a space is available to the public (i.e. restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc), doesn’t mean they are “public spaces” in terms of ownership. “Public spaces” as defined from a legal standpoint usually mean spaces owned by federal, state or local governments, such as parks, government buildings, etc. The rest are owned by private individuals, yet there are still some laws that are enforced within those areas. For example, someone couldn’t make the argument that because they own land X the law does not apply on that land and they can therefore murder people as they want.

Many local governments (this may apply to state and/or federal too, but I’m not sure) maintain zoning laws that dictate any “special” regulations on spaces that are privately held, yet open for public use. So for example, an area zoned as “food services” (the exact term may vary), would have some regulations associated with that zoning (i.e. need to have a toilet, running water, adequate fire suppression, etc). Unfortunately, zoning laws and issues, just as most regulation, tend to become a tool for incumbent businesses to keep new entrants out of an area and minimize competition. For example, an existing Italian restaurant may petition a zoning board to deny a request from a new Italian restaurant opening in the area for a myriad of reasons, such as lack of controls and egress that could result from increased traffic in the area, increased use of the water supply, etc. Sadly, they use their control of the politicians to force these types of decisions under the guise of “what’s good for the public” to effectively keep competition out and ensure their own profits. However, the incumbent business is simply using the tools provided by a system that puts too much power in politicians’ hands to achieve its goals.
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