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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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June 10, 2004

A bucket of water for the BBQ ban

The Washington State Building Code Council has gotten itself into the news by proposing to forbid apartment and condo dwellers from barbecuing on their balconies. The ban is part of an international fire code that the council is set to adopt tomorrow, June 11, at a meeting in Spokane.

The word of the ban has gotten out, and the Council is under pressure to back off from the ban.

Good. Grilling hot dogs, burgers and chicken is something people can handle. It involves a risk, I guess, but life involves risk, and there comes a point at which reducing risk is not worth it. If charcoal cooking is such a hazard, maybe the law can require that barbecuers have a bucket of water handy -- though how government would enforce that, I donít know.

Another thing. The proposed barbecue ban isn't even a law. It's a regulation. The Legislature apparently delegated its authority to this unelected committee called the Building Code Council. Well, it shouldn't have. Banning a popular activity like this should be an issue for legislators who will have to face the voters, and not be delegated to some unelected council that the public has never heard of.

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at June 10, 2004 11:44 AM



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