Monthly Archives: August 2009

Columnist Bill McClellan on tobacco lobbyist John Britton, aka “Mayor of Jefferson City”

John Britton in his Jefferson City office (Photograph courtesy & copyright: Parker Eshelman)

John Britton in his Jefferson City office (Photograph courtesy & copyright: Parker Eshelman)

I came across the following story recently in my file on the tobacco lobby in Jefferson City which I hadn’t viewed in years. It reminded me again why, after over a decade lobbying for a statewide smoke-free air bill, I had concluded that damage control was our main role in the state capitol and Missouri GASP’s focus should be on promoting strong local ordinances.

It also brought back vividly an early encounter with John Britton, lobbyist for both The Tobacco Institute and Anheuser Busch in Jefferson City. It was during a February 1986 public hearing before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, chaired appropriately by the late pipe-smoking Senator J.B. “Jet” Banks, as shown in this old newspaper photo.

sen-j-b-jet-banks-hires

Sen. J. B. “Jet” Banks

Following testimony from supporters of a fairly weak bill, John Britton rose and started talking about the court of King Arthur and the days of chivalry. What this had to do with secondhand smoke I don’t recall but I do remember thinking his testimony was so garbled the bill was certain to be voted out of committee.

Instead it died in committee.

A similar bill was only voted out – and promptly – a couple of years later once it had been fatally altered with an amendment insisted on by Britton, the so-called preemption amendment, to make the proposed weak state law the strongest allowed in the state. I hope to write more in a subsequent blog but for now please read Bill McClellan’s insightful piece below, published March 11, 1990.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, Bill McClellan, March 11, 1990

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, Bill McClellan, March 11, 1990

Smoke-free air bill: Charlie Dooley’s signing statement & Barbara Fraser’s Press Release

Dan Martin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dan Martin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I received the following news release from County Executive Charlie Dooley’s office at 5:00 pm, Friday, August 28, 2009. It confirmed information I had received earlier today from Mr. Darin Cline, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, St. Louis County Government, that Mr. Dooley had decided to sign the bill but he would have preferred a stronger piece of legislation.

Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, who led this effort, issued a press release later, appended below.

Missouri GASP has made very clear before St. Louis County Council during recent weeks that our current goal is legislation providing comprehensive protection so that no employee has to endure secondhand smoke as part of their job description.

However, we recognize that this legislation can provide a springboard for that goal. We can point to the fact that not only has a fairly comprehensive smoke-free air bill been approved by a majority of the county council, but it also received the support of the County Executive, which has never happened before.

This could be the key to getting really strong protection not only in St. Louis County but in the entire state of Missouri. It just needs leadership and a willingness to work together towards that goal.

Charlie Dooley signing bill

Charlie Dooley signing bill

Note: Image from ksdk.com. For more from TV News Channel 5 please click here.

News from CHARLIE A. DOOLEY
Saint Louis County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 28, 2009
Contact: Mac Scott
(314) 615-4654

DOOLEY SIGNS BILL FOR SMOKING BAN VOTE

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley gave his approval to the St. Louis County Council’s legislation calling for an election to decide on a smoking ban in St. Louis County. Circuit Judge John Ross subsequently ordered the measure to be placed on the November 3, 2009 ballot. The measure will be called Proposition N.

“I believe St. Louis County has a responsibility to lead by example and this measure puts us on a course to address this important public health issue, which, in the end, could help us get a more effective statewide smoking ban. In addition, I strongly believe St. Louis County voters deserve the opportunity to have their voices heard and to decide the fate of this indoor smoking ban,” Dooley said.

The proposed smoking ban legislation can be viewed on St. Louis County’s web page, www.stlouisco.com.
——————————————–
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: St. Louis County Councilwoman
Barbara Fraser
Telephone: 314-615-5441
Email: bfraser@stlouisco.com

August 28, 2009

St. Louis County Executive Dooley Signs Smoking Ban Measure
Bipartisan measure will be on the November ballot

St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley signed a bill today that will let voters decide on November 3 to ban smoking in nearly all indoor public places. County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser (D-5th District) sponsored the bill. In addition to Fraser, voting in support were Colleen Wasinger (R-3rd District), Steve Stenger (D-6th District) and Greg Quinn (R-7th District).
“I am pleased that the County Executive has chosen to let the voters decide their position on this critical health issue,” said Fraser. “My simple objective has been to protect the health of county residents. I am proud of the bipartisan effort that was made to create an effective bill,” added Fraser. Councilman Stenger agreed with Fraser. “This bill was about doing the right thing at the right time for the citizens of this county,” said Stenger.
The bill, which the County Council passed by a vote of four to three Tuesday night, provides protections from secondhand smoke in nearly all public places in St. Louis County. The United States Surgeon General determined that second hand smoke is dangerous and harmful to human health. Lung cancer, heart disease, SIDS, and asthma among others have all been linked to exposure to second hand smoke.

Joint statement by ACS, ALA, AHA, & Tobacco Free Missouri on St. Louis County smoke-free airbill

The major voluntary health agencies and Tobacco Free Missouri have just aired ads on KMOX Radio in opposition to the smoke-free air bill which was approved on August 25. The aim is to persuade St. Louis County Executive, Charlie Dooley, to veto it and push for a stronger bill with no significant exemptions. Below is their press release.

For more information contact:

April Dzubic, American Cancer Society
W: 314-286-8187, C: 314-488-4120
april.dzubic@cancer.org

Michelle Bernth, American Lung Association
W: 314-645-5505, ext 1001
mbernth@breathehealthy.org

JOINT STATEMENT
COUNTY COUNCIL ACTION ON SMOKE-FREE PROPOSAL

The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, and Tobacco Free Missouri are extremely disappointed that the St. Louis County Council has voted to send a confusing and badly flawed smoke-free proposal to the ballot. We oppose the proposal because it does not fully protect the public’s right to breathe smoke-free air, makes enforcement unworkable, and unfairly pits business against business. We now call on County Executive Dooley to reject this ordinance in its current form and to ask the Council to start over with a more deliberative process that yields meaningful health protection for St. Louis County.

We hoped the Council would send an ordinance to the people that would do what it was intended to do – truly protect workers and patrons from secondhand smoke, in a way that is easy for people to understand and easy to enforce. We thank the many residents who voiced their support for a strong and comprehensive measure that covers all workplaces, including bars and restaurants and urge everyone to continue the fight for smoke-free air.

Instead, the Council has passed a proposal that compromises the health of those employees and patrons most exposed to secondhand smoke. Smoke-free ordinances are intended to protect employees and customers of all businesses, not just some. Under this proposal, bars will be able to obtain a license from the county to allow smoking. In effect, this will give bars a county-issued license to harm the health of its employees and customers.

Additionally, the proposal contains ten loopholes and many flaws in the language. And as we have seen in many other communities, this leads to confusion and can create expensive enforcement issues and potential legal challenges.

The evidence is clear: In the end, a weak ordinance ends up compromising the health of workers and the public, offers false reassurance, and stands in the way of future efforts. With the abundant science about the dangers of secondhand smoke, exemptions for certain workplaces are no longer acceptable.

In issuing a groundbreaking report on secondhand smoke in 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease.” Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma.

Aug. 25: St. Louis County smoke-free air bill gets 4:3 vote; next stop may be County Exec.

I attended the St. Louis County Council meeting which started at 6 pm on Tuesday, August 25. Councilwoman Barbara Fraser’s bill evidently still contained exemptions for small bars, the gaming floor of casinos, and Lambert Airport’s smoking rooms, plus some other exemptions.

Councilman Fraser: Channel 5 interview just prior to council meeting

Councilman Fraser: Fox 2 News interview just prior to council meeting


Before the meeting Councilwoman Fraser was good enough to give me some of her time after being interviewed at the County Government Center by Channel 5 and Fox 2 News. During the latter interview she said:

“If we want to get started on this endeavor compromise is necessary.”

She reiterated to me that she had tried to get a stronger bill passed with none of the above exemptions but she was one short of the three other votes she needed, adding that she had worked hard for three months to get the support she needed.

She felt that this bill was still a strong bill, noting that the small bar exemption would apply to only 60 of the 1,000 bars with a liquor license in the county.

Missouri GASP has sought a smoke-free Lambert Airport for well over a decade and when asked if she could remove that exemption Councilwoman Fraser demurred. Our conversation ended amicably but with our differences unreconciled.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby was also willing to meet briefly before the meeting and provided a further reason for her earlier objection to the bill: the exemption for smoking in nursing homes. She intimated that this evening’s vote didn’t mean that the bill would move forward. However, a TV news report I read later in the evening on ksdk.com indicated otherwise:

“KSDK – The St. Louis County Council voted in favor of a proposed smoking ban Tuesday night.

The measure will go before County Executive Charlie Dooley and wind up on the November ballot. However, Dooley could still veto the bill. If voters pass the legislation in November, the law would go into effect in 2011.”

I was the first to be called to speak during the PUBLIC FORUM (please see my testimony below) and made detailed notes of those following me who spoke for and against, as well as during the discussion and vote on the bill itself. I’ve attached those notes below following my testimony.

GASP logo color
Testimony during Public Forum of St. Louis County Council Meeting, Tuesday, August 25, 2009, by Martin Pion, President, Missouri GASP

Madam Chairman, Members of the County Council, and County Executive:

I admit to being conflicted on this bill. I don’t typically visit small bars or casinos, so the major exemptions, other than the smoking rooms at Lambert Airport, don’t affect me personally.

However, Missouri GASP’s goal is to provide 100% protection for everyone, both members of the public and private employees. How do you, in good conscience, omit some individuals from this bill and say their lives aren’t worth protecting?

Those working in casinos and bars are among those most exposed to secondhand smoke, yet you’re telling them this is a good bill?

Martin Pion testifying (image from Fox 2 News at http://tinyurl.com/mm46ky)

Martin Pion testifying (image from Fox 2 News at http://tinyurl.com/mm46ky)

Agreed Councilwoman Fraser’s bill makes many places smoke-free, but exemptions send a mixed message: that secondhand smoke isn’t really that dangerous because we’re arbitrarily allowing it in some places.  Exemptions also invite charges of discrimination. 

Another major objection is putting it on the ballot, instead of the county council enacting it and putting it into effect promptly. A ballot measure will involve enormous amounts of time, energy and money with a very uncertain outcome. How can you justify ducking your responsibility by doing that?

The effective date can be delayed for existing businesses to give them time to adapt to the new rules and for the economy to improve but the bill must protect the health and welfare of all workers and all patrons through a 100% smoke-free policy.

State Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford just wrote to you committing to work for a comprehensive statewide smoke-free air bill but, she added, that required the impetus of a strong countywide bill

Those living and working in the county are yearning for leadership on this issue.

Now is the time for you to provide it.

Remainder of PUBLIC FORUM and vote on Bill# 228:

Dr. David Esher, physician – No one should smoke, but they’re entitled to make their own decision. I remember a girl sitting in the back seat of a car with smoking adults, making her eyes burn and causing her to cough. This bill gives me the opportunity to take my children to smoke-free environments. A child doesn’t have the choice when they go to a restaurant and sees someone smoking. And they may have asthma. Think about your own children.

David Kunemann – [MP: Retired chemist] Bill bans electronic cigarettes, which contain glycol and nicotine and what’s wrong with that? They won’t hurt anyone else in those environments.
The ban is to protect nonsmokers. If that is purpose you should prohibit radon.
If we want safe air lets not just discriminate against smokers.
80-90% of SHS can be kept out of areas by ventilation.
This is just class warfare against smokers

John Stein – Family physician in Chesterfield, member of many societies and all these organizations support that SHS should be eliminated. It’s a preventable disease. We can join other states.
All or nothing is ideal but we don’t live in an ideal world and I believe this is the best ord. we can achieve now.
Suppose you had 20 people drowning out at sea but only save 15 you’d save those you could and come back later. [MP: If we’re talking about employees on the gaming floor of a casino it may be too late to come back later. There is no knowing when you may be able to come back and provide them protection.]
Allow the public to vote for smoke-free air.

Bill Hannegan (KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE!) – Papers are predicted effect of a smoking ban in city and county, up to 63% of restaurants would see a loss and 80% in bars
1.1% decline in employment.
County will be unable to compete with city if you pass this.
Stenger’s district has over 40 bars so looks very much like the city, unlike west county, for example.

Joe Toenges, Kirkwood – Thanked Burkett, Erby, and O’Mara for opposing bill.
If you give them an inch they’ll take a mile. Ask them what happened in Ohio where they came back and extended the smoking ban after getting it passed.
These people are zealots. They say: We’ll keep doing this until it passes. Only thing they want to do is shove their agenda down our throats in a sad and bullying way. Mr. Dooley, veto this bill, which is nonsense.

Walter Sumner – Faculty member of Wash U., Remind you again about the small particles in tobacco smoke. E-cigarettes are fine, as are smokeless tobacco. I would like a society governed by Libertarian principles but when people are injured by small particles in cig. smoke and society bears those costs, thinks it’s appropriate for the vote

Ald. Fred Meyland-Smith

Ald. Fred Meyland-Smith

Ald. Phil Behnen

Ald. Phil Behnen

Ald. Lynn Wright

Ald. Lynn Wright


Town & Country Ald. Fred Meyland-Smith & Phil Behnen – As elected officials we understand the issues you face when considering a smoking ban. We strongly want you to proceed with the bill but it should be a uniform prohibition. Our board recently approved a resolution supporting your action. You have as your core responsibility protecting the health and welfare of your constituents.
(Note: Ald. Lynn Wright, who was to have joined her two colleagues, was delayed but arrived later.)

Sharon Hall – Can’t imagine why people would put money before health. My mother has had numerous surgeries, and still can’t sit on the toilet as a result of numerous leg amputations. Is 77 years old and weighs 67 lbs and just brought her home. [MP: I concluded mother is a smoker but wasn’t clear.]
Some of these people smoking in casinos and bars – whose going to take care of them?

Barber xxx – Generally when these smoking bills start they have good intentions, but there’s compromises, make unlikely bedfellows in the political process. Quinn gave us a sermon last week but voted against it 3 years ago. Barbara is running for higher office. Stenger has the casino.

Mayor Harold Diehlmann City of Creve Coeur – We were one of the 5 cities that started the ball rolling and I endorse the bill, even though it’s not perfect. When the state passes a bill that will make a level playing field .

Julie Stone, Libertarian Party, St. Louis – Unfair, and causes an undue economic burden on businesses. Suggested at least let businesses post a sign so patrons can make an informed opinion before they enter the bar. [MP: This kind of signage only approach is straight out of the tobacco lobby’s playbook.]

Marty Ginsburg – KMOX Radio was saying this is going to pass 4:3 as I was driving here so I almost turned around. In 2006 the Health Dept. was going to be given the same responsibility but said where are we going to get the money? What blows my mind is why are Creve Coeur and Town & Country coming here instead of doing it themselves? I’m tired of hearing parents with children coming here saying we can’t come into your bar.
See that Fraser took out 25% requirement for bars from the bill. Quinn & Stenger are attorneys: if this were black people you’d behave differently.

Jeff Gerhman, Independent Tavern Association – I applaud what you’re doing despite what I expect to happen tonight. I think this will have a devastating effect on small bars. The bill doesn’t represent a diversity of views and will clearly pit the city against the county. Casinos are exempt. There was an opportunity to permit air filtration to take out SHS instead of moving it elsewhere. Dooley we ask that you veto this bill.

Matthew Brown – Live in city but they’ve said numerous times that they’re waiting for the county to take the lead. I believe that eventually we’ll get a bill. Supports a partial bill.
We save a lot of time if our elected reps. look into the issue and come to a conclusion.
Believe citizens deserve to breathe clean air.

Public Comments portion ended at 6:42 pm

County Exec. said this county is moving forward on smoking in a holistic way.

Bill #228 introduced by Council member Fraser; Second Quinn

Erby – No
Burkett, No. Same as 4 years ago. I don’t see a smoking ban working in SLCty unless it’s statewide. Plus why is it exempting certain things. I’ve never been in favor of a smoking ban. My job has been cut in half by the economy and I do believe that this will effect businesses.
Wasinger – Yes. It’s a controversial issue. I do listen to each of you. My motive is to give the voters the opportunity to decide if most people in the county want smoke-free air. This isn’t perfect but it’s worth supporting.
O’Mara – No
Fraser – Yes. If this bill passes St Louis County voters will have the opportunity to vote on bill which provides for s/free air in most places. If we’d past this bill in 2005 how many people would not be alive today.
Stenger – Yes

Councilman Quinn: Exemptions may cover 5% of the buildings in St. Louis County

Councilman Quinn (left) commenting before voting, with Councilwoman Wasinger looking on


Quinn – Yes. “Some people have said there are a lot of exemptions in the bill, but my belief is that the exemptions may cover 5% of the buildings in St. Louis County.” There is an exemption for bars, but there are very few exemptions and I think it’s good to allow voters to decide.
4 Ayes
3 Noes
Bill finally passed.

Blowing smoke on secondhand smoke

While I frequently read Bill McClellan’s column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and generally find them insightful, on the subject of secondhand smoke I’ve found him to be reliably ill-informed, and showing a Libertarian bias, i.e. small government is better than good government.

Today’s column was no exception, but the title is apt, because it’s Bill who’s blowing smoke on this one.

He makes the same mistake as other opponents of smoke-free air, using the “slippery slope” argument of “where will it all end?”

He notes that the bill has many exemptions and writes:

“Of course, the supporters of the ban would argue that this is just a start.
To me, that’s frightening.”

Frightening because he suggests that once we succeed in getting protection from secondhand smoke we’ll go on to prohibit his favorite unhealthy food. Not only is Bill confused but he’s misinformed.

Speaking personally, and I suspect for many others seeking smokefree air, my only goal is protection from secondhand smoke, which has had a major negative impact on both my work life and social life for decades. That is particularly true since I emigrated to the U.S. in early 1977 where workplace smoking has been far more prevalent than in England.

In St. Louis I worked at McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. for over 11 years, starting in 1980, most of that time managing a laser diode fabrication lab., and I avoided any meetings I could for much of that time because of pervasive smoking. I also spoke out against workplace smoking. Neither of those things helped my career.

My wife stopped taking me on trips because my attempts to avoid secondhand smoke when I was with her, or complaints about it, were like a ball and chain around her ankle. If we ever go out together now it has to be to a guaranteed smoke-free venue.

These are issues about which Bill McClellan, who is evidently not susceptible to secondhand smoke, is totally unaware and unconcerned. Too bad, because I think he could be influential in a positive way, instead of pouring scorn on those for whom it’s a major issue.

Bill McClellan

Bill McClellan


Blowing smoke on secondhand smoke

Bill McClellan
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/21/2009

Although I know I should eat healthy foods, I found myself in front of the vending machine in the newsroom the other day. The animal crackers looked good. Plus, there was a notice on the package — “Only 1.5 grams of fat per serving.” Truth be told, the notice could have said, “Only 30 grams of fat per serving.” I would have been just as impressed.

Who knows about grams of fat? People never used to worry about such things.

My grandmother lived with us when I was small. My mother worked, and so my grandmother was in charge of lunch. She was not much of a cook, so usually I made myself a sandwich. My favorite was mayonnaise and mustard on white bread. Of course, white bread. In those happy times, whole wheat bread was considered something primitive. It is what cave people used to eat. Then society advanced and scientists developed white bread. It tasted better and so it replaced whole wheat bread. The only people who still ate whole wheat bread wore animal skins. If you wore clothes, you ate white bread.

Sometimes my grandmother gave me some change and let me go to the nearby bakery on Halsted Street to get lunch. I always bought the same thing. Two long johns. If there was anything richer than white bread, this was it. Grams of fat per serving? No one would have thought to ask.

This was in the days before pizza. That is not entirely true. There was a pizza joint near the bakery. I remember when it opened. The sign said, “Pizza Pie.” My mother commented on the sign. She thought it spoke well of the Italians that they could laugh at themselves. She thought they were calling their place “Pizza Pie” to mimic the way they spoke. As in, “I’ll have a pizza that cherry pie.”

In fact, my mother went in to the pizza joint one day to get a pie, and was astonished to learn that they didn’t have cherry pies or apple pies, but instead had sausage pies and anchovy pies. It was hard to believe that the people who had given the world such staples as spaghetti and macaroni had suddenly gone exotic. My mother had no interest in buying a sausage or anchovy pie and her feelings had nothing to do with grams of fat.

In addition to being happily oblivious to grams of fat, we didn’t worry about secondhand smoke. In fact, no one had heard of secondhand smoke. It was just plain old smoke, the sort that wafted around in our kitchen when dad smoked at dinner. He smoked the way people used to, which is to say guilt-free. In the kitchen. Or in the living room. Or in the car. Nobody thought anything about it.

I am not a smoker myself, but I sometimes feel a pang of envy when I watch old movies and see the people smoking with no self-consciousness at all. They’re not trying to act cool or rebellious, and they are not mindful about where the smoke goes. Why should they be? It’s just smoke. That is the way people used to feel.

No longer, of course. Those of us who live in St. Louis County are going to have a chance to vote this November on a plan to limit smoking. The plan would ban smoking in many so-called public places. I say so-called because the ban would impact restaurants which are owned by private individuals. I have a hard time thinking of them as public places.

To me, privately owned means privately owned. If the owner wants to cater to non-smokers — and we’re the majority — he or she can ban smoking.

Bear in mind, too, that the ban is not absolute. If food is less than 25 percent of an establishment’s gross income, the establishment can apply for an exemption. Also, casinos are exempt. Also, private clubs are exempt.

These exemptions would seem to put the lie to the notion that we are attempting to do this for the sake of the employees who would otherwise be exposed to secondhand smoke. Why should the employees of a casino be any less deserving of our protection than the employees of a restaurant? What about employees at private clubs?

Of course, the supporters of the ban would argue that this is just a start.

To me, that’s frightening.

Right now, we’re going after second-hand smoke. But what about grams of fat? Admittedly, you are not risking injury if you sit next to somebody eating a high-fat snack, but if we start talking about the overall cost to society of obesity and the Greater Good and all that, well, it’s easy to see where this could lead.

After all, the crusade against cigarettes started with warning labels. I thought about that when I saw the notice on the animal crackers.

By the way, the machine didn’t take my dollar. Not to worry. I went home and had a pizza cherry pie. That’s still legal.

Bar owners are on the spot with St. Louis County smoking bill

A front page story with the above headline appeared in the Community section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday (August 19, 2009). Assuming Councilwoman Barbara Fraser’s smoke-free air bill passes and is approved by the voters in November, how will it be enforced in bars and elsewhere, especially given the added twist of an exemption for some bars?

That was part of the thrust of this story. The other was the reaction from those bar owners directly affected by the legislation, and the concern they had of losing customers to nearby exempted locations, including casinos.

I understand the reporters talking to bars owners. They’re an easy (and vocal) group to identify. But I’d like to also see them investigating the other side of the story. What about asthmatics and others who are extremely smoke-sensitive and whose lives are consequently severely restricted? And when they do try to lead something like a normal life are frequently sickened by secondhand smoke exposure in public venues.

A prime example is Don Young, a former smoker and laryngectomy survivor, who’s health is fragile and who is now extremely smoke-sensitive. You can read his story on-line here.

Don Young after cancer surgery to remove larynx

Don Young after cancer surgery to remove larynx

They are part of the unseen and unheard majority. Their story should be told too!

By the way if you click on the link to the on-line story, as of 1:27 pm on Thursday, August 20, it had attracted no less than 171 comments! The first one, from “firsties,” likens supporters of smoke-free air to Commies. I suppose that’s an improvement over Nazis!

firsties August 18, 2009 9:24PM CST
I will never accept the results of a public election. What kind of country do we live in that allows the public to decide to ban smoking. This must be commie Russia or something. Whats next allowing a measure to ban smoking even at bars and having the people decide.

Bar owners are on the spot with St. Louis County smoking bill
By Phil Sutin and Paul Hampel
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/19/2009

If St. Louis County voters decide on Nov. 3 to ban smoking in indoor public places, county officials would take the word of bar owners who apply for an exemption.

An election bill exempts casino floors and “drinking establishments” whose income from food is 25 percent or less of gross income. Exemption applicants would certify they meet the measure’s requirements. An earlier version of the smoking ban bill would have required them to submit receipts and data about their expenses and income relating to food and alcohol sales to support their applications.

On Tuesday night, the St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 at its regular meeting to move the bill toward final passage next week.

The agency that would implement the measure, the licensing section of the county’s revenue department, has only three employees and soon will be down to two as a staff member is transferring to another county job.

Eugene Leung, director of the revenue department, said Monday that he could not add another employee to handle applications because of a hiring freeze.

Some bar owners, meanwhile, are unhappy about the prospect of a smoking ban.

“It’s looking like I’m going to get the shaft no matter what,” Kevin Gallagher, owner of the Sports Attic in Brentwood, said.

Leung said his department’s licensing section would handle the bar exemption in a way similar to processing applications for Sunday liquor licenses. Those licenses require establishments to have at least 50 percent of gross sales from food or sales of $200,000 a year. The county’s Sunday liquor application form does not make applicants provide documentation to back up the monthly breakdown of sales of food and liquor that they put on their form.

Applications for a Sunday liquor license must be notarized, and so would the form for a smoking ban exemption. Putting incorrect information on a notarized form could get applicants in legal trouble, Leung said.

The county agency, which also handles a variety of other licenses, is set up to process applications, not investigate them, Leung said.

County liquor applicants also must obtain a state license. The state will verify information in Sunday license applications if its agents doubt their accuracy, Mike O’Connell, spokesman for the division of alcohol and tobacco, said Friday. The agents can require applicants to show such items as food guest checks, cash register tapes and food and liquor invoices.

The bill sets a $35 application fee for the smoking ban exemption.

It also says the county health department or its designee would enforce the ban.

Gallagher said a smoking ban would put his Sports Attic in a precarious situation.

“My business is about 50/50 food and alcohol,” Gallagher said. “But I would estimate that at least half of my customers are smokers, and if this passes, they will not be happy campers. They will go down to the other bars where they can drink and smoke and watch sports.”

Gallagher said, “What I’m trying to figure out now is whether it would make financial sense for me to cut back on my menu choices in order to boost liquor sales to 75 percent. That way, I’d keep my smoking customers. But if I fall below 51 percent on food sales, then I lose my Sunday license and can’t open for football games.”

One of the venues that Gallagher said might grab his smoking customers in the event of a ban is the Sideline Bar, just two blocks west of the Sports Attic on Manchester Road.

Joyce Trokey, the Sideline Bar manager, said food accounts for less than 25 percent of her business. That would put her in a position to benefit from the business of smokers who would stop going to bars where their habit is forbidden.

“Sure, we could use the extra business,” she said. “But as a non-smoker myself, I say bring on a total ban, in every municipality. That would be the only fair way to do it,” she said.

The bar and restaurant in the well-known Yacovelli’s restaurant in Florissant are physically separate. “I’m not against a smoking ban,” owner Jack Yacovelli said. “But I know without a doubt we’ll lose our smokers to nearby bars where they will still be allowed to light up,” he said.

“That is just blatantly unjust. It’s got to be all or nothing. And what really irks me is that (the County Council) will exempt the (casinos). I think they’re favoring them because they’re a big tax cash cow.”

County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University City, who introduced the bill, has declined to discuss the compromises she made to get the support she needs. She has said she prefers a clean-air bill without the casino floor and bar exemptions but she said “this bill is a critical bill. This bill will help.”

By the time the final vote on the measure takes place on Tuesday, the deadline will have passed for putting the issue on the November ballot. So if the smoking ban is approved by the council, a court order will be required before it can go before voters on Nov. 3.

“Report for airport says smoking lounges work” …. NOT!

The headline of Post-Disptach reporter Phil Sutin’s POLITICAL FIX blog practically made my blood boil. Yet another study commissioned by Lambert Airport officials designed to fool legislators considering making the airport smoke-free into believing it should be exempted.

This is Lambert Airport’s modus operandi every time it fears it may be forced to go smoke-free, whether by the City of St. Louis or St. Louis County, both of which have jurisdiction.

The airport as usual got an industrial hygienist to do an invalid study to show the smoking rooms work and aren’t a problem. Invalid because the study uses a federal standard for nicotine vapor from tobacco in cigarette manufacturing plants and applies that to nicotine generated when you burn tobacco in a cigarette.

This is like suggesting that sniffing on an unlit cigarette is as risky as inhaling the toxins and carcinogens produced by a burning cigarette that lead to lung cancer and heart disease.

The most compelling part of these “studies” is a visual smoke test showing simulated smoke from a puffer being pulled into the open doorway of a smoking room at the airport. Such tests are routinely used by HVAC [Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning] engineers as a rough way to verify airflow at exhaust vents. To the lay person this visual is compelling evidence: after all, seeing is believing.

The first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report dealing with the subject of secondhand smoke, published in 1986, explains why that doesn’t apply. On page 137, in a section titled “Number and Size Distribution of Particles in Environmental Tobacco Smoke,” it notes that most secondhand smoke is invisible, being in the size range of approximately 0.2 microns to 0.4 microns. (For comparison, a human hair is typically about 4 thousandths of an inch, or 100 microns, in diameter, or 250 to 500 times larger.)

The report notes:

“ETS particles are in the diffusion-controlled regime for particle removal and therefore will tend to follow stream lines, remain airborne for long periods of time, and rapidly disperse through open volumes.”

In fact, from my knowledge of diffusion when I worked in a semiconductor lab. making laser diodes, particles this small move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration, even in the presence of a countervailing force, such as provided by an exhaust fan connected to a ceiling vent like those provided in airport smoking rooms.

I’m not just speculating on this effect. Missouri GASP has proved it repeatedly, and the results for the airport smoking rooms can be found in the peer-reviewed study “Airport smoking rooms don’t work,” published in March, 2004 in the international journal, Tobacco Control, published by the BMJ [British Medical Journal]. You can find the study instantly on-line by Googling on the title: Airport smoking rooms don’t work.

I referred the reporter to James Repace, an international expert on secondhand smoke who lives in Bowie, MD, to provide a response which you can read in the article appended below. But oh, that headline still bugs me!

08.14.2009 3:23 pm
Report for airport says smoking lounges work
By Phil Sutin
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Smoking lounges at Lambert Airport succeed in keeping smoke in the lounges and out of the concourses where they are located, a recent report says.

Golder Associates Inc., the environmental consultant to the airport, said “smoking lounges are effective at preventing nicotine, respirable suspended particulates and gaseous contaminants from migrating from the lounges into the adjacent airport corridors/hallways.”

St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University, has introduced a bill to ask voters to ban smoking in indoor public areas. At the request of Lambert officials, smoking lounges at the airport are one of the exemptions in her proposal.

The company from St. Charles gave the lounges a favorable opinion in late June. A subcontractor, Professional Environmental Engineers Inc. of St. Louis, in mid-May tested the air in and near all but one of the smoking lounges in seven of the eight lounges in concourses. The untested lounge is in a concourse the airport closed. The tests occurred in the daytime of weekdays May 8, 11, 12 and 14.

The study cost no more than $15,000, Jeff Lea, an airport spokesman, said Thursday. About once a year, the airport tests the effectiveness of the lounges, he said.

Smoking lounges come in varying sizes. They have an open door to concourses. The airport uses negative air pressure and air handling systems keep the smoking material in the lounges.

Professional Environmental Engineers tested each concourses for:

> Nicotine in the air.

> Airborne fine particles.

> Airborne microscopic particles.

> Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature and relative humidity in the lounges.

> Airborne smoke tests.

Generally, the Professional Environmental Engineers put testing equipment at one or more places inside the lounges, at the doorway and 10 feet to 25 feet away from the doorway.

The results showed that the items being tested were in larger concentrations inside the lounges than outside with the exception of airborne microscopic particles at the C concourse lounge and carbon monoxide at the E concourse lounge.

Opponents of the smoking lounges questioned the study. “I don’t think the study has any validity,” said James Repace of Repace Associates Inc. of Bowie, Md. He is a biophysist who is a consultant on the handling of second-hand smoke. He spoke to the county council against the lounges when the council was considering a smoking ban in 2005 and 2006.

The nicotine standards cited in the Lambert study are for workers exposed to nicotine vapors at tobacco processing factories, not for nicotine for second-hand smoke, he said. The study did not take into account air turbulence that lets some tobacco smoke out when people leave smoking lounges, he said.

The only way for smoking lounges to keep second-hand smoke out of concourses is to have an airlock at entrances, Repace said.

Incremental isn’t enough with public smoking ban

A letter I submitted on behalf of Missouri GASP with the above title appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 08/15/2009 (on-line here).

I submitted it before Councilwoman Barbara Fraser’s latest bill was introduced on Tuesday, Aug 11, which contained the additional surprise of the exemption for Lambert Airport’s smoking rooms. Given that Missouri GASP has been seeking a smoke-free Lambert Airport for at least 16 years, and the tobacco industry has been working hard to prevent that from happening, this was unwelcome news to say the least.

Certainly, it’s all the more reason to oppose this bill which is too flawed to fly. Much better to strip out all the undesirable exemptions for a clean bill or start over. Councilwoman Fraser’s heart is in the right place but her initiative has unfortunately gone awry. Here’s my published letter:

The headline “Smoking ban gets boost in council” (Aug. 5) belies the reality.
A good bill with some minor blemishes but no major exemptions was defeated in favor of a bill exempting small bars and casinos, which are major omissions. Additionally, even if the bill eventually is approved by the County Council, that only puts it on the November ballot, involving a costly fight and leaving plenty of room for deceptive opposition tactics.

If this were an impending flu epidemic, such action would be considered criminal negligence. Can we really compare this to an epidemic? Absolutely. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on secondhand smoke estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and tens of thousands of deaths because of heart disease every year among exposed nonsmokers in the United States.

The New York City health department estimated 1,000 residents were dying annually from secondhand smoke prior to its comprehensive Smoke Free Air Act, which went into effect in March 2003.

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services’ latest data for 2007 reveals that only 18.6 percent of adults in St. Louis County smoke. That greatly undermines the fear-mongering economic arguments opponents make.

Missouri GASP previously believed that the goal of smoke-free air could only be achieved incrementally, which has proved both slow and uncertain. Clayton’s approach, demonstrating how an informed council can act decisively and enact a strong comprehensive ordinance, is clearly better.

Even tobacco states are leading the way. I attended a conference in mid-July 2007, in Louisville, Ky., and was surprised to find all the restaurants and bars had gone smoke-free just two weeks earlier.

What’s stopping the St. Louis County Council?

Martin Pion — St. Louis County
President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.

St. Louis County smoke-free air bill introduced Aug. 4, 2009. Substitute 2 unacceptable to MOGASP

Packed council chamber before start of meeting, August 4, 2009

Ald. Jane Suozzi, Ballwin (red jacket, front row); second row from right: Dan Duncan, NCADA; Farzad Faramarzi, The Thyme Table and Savoy Banquet Center, Ferguson; & Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher


The St. Louis County Council chamber was packed for the anticipated introduction of Councilwoman Barbara Fraser’s smoke-free air bill. The stated intention is to put it on the November ballot for a public vote.

Rally organized by ACS, ALA, AHA and March of Dimes

Rally organized by ACS, ALA, AHA and March of Dimes

Beforehand, a Press Conference at 4:30 pm and rally in support of smoke-free air took place outside the County Government Center in Clayton, alongside the TV transmission vans of Channels 4 and 5. I was told by Misty Snodgrass, Legislative/Government Relations Director – Missouri, based in Jefferson City, that she organized the event in concert with the other major voluntary health agencies: American Lung Association and American Heart Association, plus the March of Dimes.

Misty Snodgrass, ACS (L), with Madelyn Alexander, AHA, at rally

(L) Misty Snodgrass, ACS and Madelyn Alexander, AHA

The public forum preceded consideration of the bill and there were so many people lined up to speak that even though comments were limited to 2 minutes, it still took about two hours. Unlike the previous council meeting, this time the proceedings went with no shouted floor interruptions from the public and with those addressing the council being generally courteous.

Councilwoman Fraser being interviewed after meeting

Councilwoman Fraser being interviewed following the council meeting

Immediately before Councilwoman Fraser introduced Substitute 1 for Bill No. 189, which aimed to put a smoke-free air bill on the November ballot, Councilman Mike O’Mara suggested instead having the issue referred to the Council’s Justice and Health Committee for consideration. The idea was seconded by the Chair, Hazel Erby, who echoed the view that the council had not had adequate time to review the various versions of the bill being circulated, but this motion was defeated on a roll call vote.

Councilman Fraser then offered Substitute 1 which had some exemptions, and language which could be improved, but would have been acceptable in principle to Missouri GASP. That failed on the following roll call vote:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA, STENGER

In explaining her “No” vote, Chair Erby said that she would like to have some time to work on it, stating that she approves of a bill with no exceptions and noting that this bill does have some exemptions.

Councilwoman Burkett, in explaining why she was voting “No,” echoed some of those views. She said she had received many emails urging the Council to pass a strong, comprehensive, and simple smoke-free ordinance with “no exemptions for anything,” and that this bill does not meet that test.

Councilwoman Wasinger stated that the issue is obviously a very controversial one, adding that she does not take her vote lightly. She added that this is an issue that she has continually heard about from constituents. She was supporting it on the November ballot and was voting “Yes.”

Councilwoman Fraser, the bill’s sponsor, stated that she was voting “Yes,” noting that the scientific evidence is indisputable that second-hand smoke is very harmful to our health. Councilwoman Fraser stated, “The basic duty of government is to protect public health. Smoke free laws are disease prevention measures.”

Councilman Stenger gave no recorded reason for voting “No” but he subsequently told me that there were numerous small standup bars in his District in South St. Louis County which were concerned about significant loss of business if they were not exempted.

After the defeat of Substitute 1 Councilwoman Fraser immediately offered Substitute 2 with an exemption for casinos and small bars. That bill was approved on a roll call vote as follows:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, STENGER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA

There was some debate about whether Substitute 2 could be legally approved after Substitute 1 had already been defeated, and in fact it is now anticipated that this bill will be introduced afresh at the council meeting on Tuesday, August 11, to avoid such concerns.

This new bill contains even more exceptions than Substitute 2, e.g. the smoking rooms in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport are now also being exempted. Missouri GASP fought against the construction of airport smoking lounges, arguing that they would not work. Once constructed we sought to have them closed after independent tests showed that they leaked secondhand smoke into adjoining “No Smoking” designated areas. [Please see the peer-reviewed paper Airport smoking rooms don’t work, published in Tobacco Control, March 2004.] A formal complaint we filed with the U.S. DOT was finally rejected after an appeal and seven years of effort.

Here is the list of Exceptions in the version to be introduced on August 11:

a. Private residences, not serving as enclosed places of employment or enclosed public places;

b. Private clubs;

c. Performers on stage in a theatrical production, where smoking is required as part of the production;

d. Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the residents of which are all smokers and have all requested the management of the facility to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted;

e. Retail establishments in which food is not prepared on the premises and where more than 60% of the volume of trade or business carried on is the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products;

f. Permanently designated smoking rooms, not to exceed twenty percent;

g. Cigar bars, provided such entity is in operation on or before the effective date of this chapter and provided that smoke does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is otherwise prohibited;

h. Casino gaming areas;

i. Drinking establishments which are in operation on or before the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that no smoke infiltrates into areas where smoking is otherwise prohibited, and further provided that each such drinking establishment has posted in a place visible to the public from its exterior a certificate of exemption issued by the Department of Revenue pursuant to Section 605.076;

j. Areas designated and posted as smoking areas by the Airport Authority of Lambert St.Louis International Airport pursuant to Section 721.045, Title VII SLCRO 1974 as amended.

Americans for Nonsmokers Rights updated its Model Ordinance in May 2009. This no longer allows smoking in Private Clubs, or enclosed residential facilities, i.e. all private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes. Smoking is not allowed in Cigar Bars or in retail tobacco stores. Performers in stage productions may also no longer smoke tobacco products but there are non-toxic substitutes they can use to simulate tobacco smoke. It does allow smoking in no more than 20% of hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests. The complete text of the Model Ordinance can be viewed on-line and downloaded here.

Pasted below are the complete comments from the Public Forum relating to this issue as recorded in the Journal of St. Louis County Council posted on-line on their web site. That is followed by a copy of the PERFECTION OF BILLS section dealing with the discussion and vote on the two substitute versions of Bill # 189.

JOURNAL OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI

Tuesday August 4, 2009 6:00 P.M.

The County Council of St. Louis County, Missouri, met on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at 6:00 P.M., in the St. Louis County Council Chamber, pursuant to adjournment with Chair Erby presiding.
On roll call, the following Council Members were present:
Hazel M. Erby
Kathleen Kelly Burkett
Colleen M. Wasinger
Michael E. O’Mara
Barbara Fraser
Steven V. Stenger
Gregory F. Quinn

A quorum being present, Chair Erby declared the County Council in session for the transaction of Business.
Also present were the Honorable Charlie A. Dooley, County Executive, Patricia Redington, County Counselor, and Genevieve M. Frank, Administrative Director.
PUBLIC FORUM

Chair Erby called upon those persons who had signed cards to speak at the Public Forum.

The following individuals addressed the County Council and stated their opposition to a smoking ban in St. Louis County (Relates to Bill No. 189, 2009, pending on the Perfection Order of Business):

Ms. Brooke Palermo, 9105 Kathlyn Dr., Woodson Terrace, MO, 63134, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, suggested St. Louis County wait “until this becomes a statewide issue”, that if a smoking ban is enacted, her customers would go do business in St. Charles County and other counties without a smoking ban and that St. Charles County and St. Louis City will benefit if a smoking ban is approved;

Ms. Melissa Bauman, 6 Mullanphy Court, Florissant, MO, 63031, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, related her concerns that passage of a smoking ban would jeopardize her job and the jobs of hundreds of her coworkers at Harrah’s St. Louis, and stated if a smoking ban is enacted customers of Harrah’s would go across the river to St. Charles County;

Ms. Tiffany Gruettemeyer, 3426 Wright Ave., St. Ann, MO, 63074, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, stated her opinion as to the negative impact a smoking ban would have on her employment and the jobs of hundreds of her coworkers;

Ms. Gloria Alexander, 434 Georgia Ave., Ferguson, MO, 63135, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, stated her opinion as to the negative impact a smoking ban would have on her job and that customers would patronize Ameristar instead of Harrah’s if a smoking ban is enacted in St. Louis County;

Ms. Crystine Carmack, 1200 Lindsay Lane, Florissant, MO, 63031, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, stated her concerns related to the possible loss of her job if a smoking ban was passed in St. Louis County and asked that the Council Members vote against this ban and protect her job;

Mr. Dung Do, 225 Earlsfield Lane, St. Louis, MO, 63125, an employee of Harrah’s St. Louis, stated his concerns about the proposed smoking ban, the impact a ban could have on his job, and that that in other parts of the Country where smoking bans have been enacted revenues have declined and job loss has followed;

(L) Hon. Mike Moeller, Mayor of Maryland Heights, with Michael St. Pierre, General Manager of Harrah’s Casino, Maryland Heights

(L) Mayor Mike Moeller of Maryland Heights, with Michael St. Pierre, General Manager of Harrah’s Casino, Maryland Heights


Mr. Michael St. Pierre, 777 Casino Center Dr., Maryland Heights, MO, 63043, General Manager of Harrah’s in Maryland Heights, stated that Harrah’s “will lose a substantial portion of our revenues, we will lay off employees as a result of this, the City of Maryland Heights will lose substantial benefits as will the State of Missouri with regard to tax receipts”, that this ban would not affect St. Charles County and Harrah’s patrons would go there instead if a smoking ban is enacted in St. Louis County; and he urged the Council to vote “No” on this proposal and preserve their jobs, preserve their livelihood and preserve the benefits to the municipality and to the State;

The Honorable Mike Moeller, Mayor of the City of Maryland Heights, 11923 Wooded Valley, Maryland Heights, MO, 63043, expressed his concern about the job losses that may occur as a ramification of a smoking ban as well as the loss of revenues that benefit everyone in St. Louis County, and reviewed the revenues that have been spent for road improvements in recent years in this area of St. Louis County;

Ms. Karen Krispin, 2087 King Arthur Court, St. Louis, MO (residence), Executive Director of the Maryland Heights Convention and Visitors Bureau, 543 West Port Plaza, St. Louis, MO, 63146, representing 21 hotels, 3,500 hotel rooms, over 75 restaurants and unique attractions including the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Harrah’s Casino, Dave & Busters and Westport Plaza, stated Maryland Heights annually hosts over 10 million visitors, establishing the area as one of economic impact and a hospitality center for the region, reviewed measures taken to ensure a safe and healthy environment for those who work and play in our community, and encouraged the Council Members to not support this proposal because “a proposed smoking ban in only St. Louis County would put our businesses at a substantial competitive disadvantage”;

Ms. Patti Patterson, #5 Midland, Maryland Heights, MO, 63043, owner of Nuts Neighborhood Bar and Grille, stated her previous assumption that a future smoking ban “would be a State thing”, and that a local ban would have a great impact on her business, and questioned the exemption for food sales regarding the proposed St. Louis County smoking ban;

Mr. Chris Seib, 5 Daybreak Estates, Sunset Hills, MO, 63128, owner of two facilities in Unincorporated St. Louis County named The Pink Galleon, Billiards and Games, questioned information contained in Substitute Bill No. 2 for Bill No. 189 with regard to rescinding exemptions for drinking establishments in St. Louis County if the City of St. Louis decided to eliminate smoking in drinking establishments, and stated he did not understand why the City of St. Louis is involved in decisions concerning St. Louis County drinking establishments;

Ms. Julie Stone, 269 Habecking Dr., St. Louis, MO, representing the St. Louis County Libertarian Party, stated they perceive this as a “properties rights issue”, and that they want the businesses that provide employment and income for the County to have the right to decide what is best for their business and individuals to have a choice and the option to select patronizing smoking and/or non-smoking establishments;

Mr. Joe Toenjes, 329 Rose Lane, Kirkwood, MO, 63122, representing Choose St. Louis – Informed Health Choice Proposal, questioned spending time and tax dollars on a ban for a special interest group;

Mr. Jake Smith, 11765 Penmar Dr., Maryland Heights, MO, 63043; a non-smoker who does not own a restaurant or bar, stated he views this matter not as a health issue but as a personal property rights issue, and that the rules established for a business by a business owner should be respected;

Ms. Bev Ehlen, 229 Chesterfield Business Parkway, 63005, commented on “civil governments”, and stated that by sending this vote to the people as members of this Council “you’re abandoning your responsibility as representatives in our representative republic and turning it into a pure democracy which our founding fathers understood as to be a worst form of government”;

Mr. Harold Alcorn, 5441 Casa Royale (residence), owner of two cigar retail stores in St. Louis, one located at 8984 Watson Rd., City of Crestwood, MO, 63119, stated they hold cigar events twice a month, that these events are helpful for depressed individuals and encouraged the Council Members to give his little store some consideration and is “and hoping that my customers will continue to be happy campers”;

Mr. Scott Coleman, 1500 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO, owner of Some Other Place Bar and Grill, questioned what legislation would be considered at tonight’s Council Meeting concerning the smoking ban and requested the right to put a sign on his door so that he can enjoy smoking with his patrons;

Mr. Marty Ginsburg, 13431 Olive St. Rd., Chesterfield, MO, owner of The Sports Page Bar and Grill, stated his concern about “fairness” when considering this bill and the exemptions described in this legislation, questioned how it could be fair to exempt casinos, and proposed that everyone be exempt if it is brought before the voters;

Mr. Chris Melton, 672 Southern Hills Dr., Eureka, MO, 63025, owner of Satchmo’s Bar & Grill in Chesterfield, MO, a non-smoker, stated his concern with the “structure of the bill and the unfairness”, that the restrictions will place businesses like his in peril and will force him to change his business model in such a way that he would immediately lay off three people and close his business on Sundays, his opposition to any exemptions included in this bill and urged if the proposal is placed on the ballot, that it be brought before the voters with no exemptions;

Mr. Ken Breier, 1724 Mason Knoll, Town and Country, a restaurant owner, noted there are over 2,500 restaurants and bars in the area, some have smoking and some are non-smoking, each has an average of about 20 employees per establishment which totals 50,000 people whose investments and incomes will be affected if the smoking ban goes into effect, that these individuals have rights as well and closing restaurants is not the cure for cancer or any other problem, that people make their own choice about where they want to eat and where they do not want to go and it has worked for many years, that anything other than a statewide acceptance, stopping the sale of cigarettes completely, or “grandfathering” is totally unacceptable;

Mr. Ted Krygiel, 11475 Daykin Rd., Creve Coeur, MO, 63146, owner of Olivette Bowling Lanes and President of the St. Louis Bowling Proprietors Association, stated his concerns with regard to the potential loss of business if a smoking ban is passed, asked that businesses be able to control what businesses need to do to keep their businesses running and prosperous, pointed out that bowling centers have learned to manage their places to sell to the people what they want to buy, noted they do a lot of business with children and have a lot of “smoke-free time” in this regard and they have some smoke-free time all the time, stated he believes most businesses and places are learning to govern themselves and he doesn’t believe government needs to make those rules for businesses;

Mr. Gerard Ezvan, 7026 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63130, owner of Frieddan Klinge Cigar Co., D/B/A Jon’s Pipe Shop founded in 1926, stated his opposition to a government-imposed smoking ban as he came to this country from his home country of France because there is more freedom here, his belief that freedom is essential and that there would be a noticeable economic impact in the sales from restaurants, bars, casinos and hotels if a smoking ban is passed, that everyone goes to a restaurant or casino on their own free will and therefore it is a personal choice to go to a smoking or a non-smoking establishment, and requested that they not damage the freedom in this Country;

Mr. Greg Winchell, owner of Tiffany’s Diner in Maplewood, stated he has seen a huge drop in revenue over the past two to three years, that we do not need anything else that affects the restaurant or bar business, and his belief that we need legislation that builds business and creates a good environment where people have a choice and have positive growth environment rather than stipulations as to what you can and cannot do;

Ms. Sherri Erickson, 11228 St. Shaun, owner of Sherri’s Ashby Inn, requested that the Council reconsider and not place a smoking ban on the November ballot, stated that she has been in the tavern business, serving no food, for the past eight years and if this bill were to pass she fears this would put her and other owners who are already struggling in these bad economic times out of business;

Ms. Elise Kostial, 210 Robins Song Dr., Ellisville, stated she has lost several family members due to smoking related illnesses and that she personally encourages others not to smoke, but does not see it as the government’s role to force them not to smoke as it is an individual choice, pointed out that when she goes to a restaurant she chooses to sit in a non-smoking section and, if there is none available she chooses to go elsewhere, stated when she chooses to enter private property “I consent to the conditions of that property” and “in our Country the right to property is unalienable”, the right to property is the basis of our constitution and our entire legal system, and her belief that passage of this legislation would be an encroachment upon that right;

Mr. Aaron Moate, 1635 Washington Ave., Unit 709, St. Louis, MO, a computer scientist by trade and a former member of the United States Air Force having served in the Global War on Terror in Iraq and in Afghanistan, stated tonight he is appealing for liberties, that he is a non-smoker but that it is his choice to expose himself to second-hand smoke, that publicly funded institutions are protected and should be smoke free but the rights of privately owned and funded restaurants and property should be respected and not intruded upon, that free market economics is the way to deal with this issue either by supporting the restaurants with their patronage or by going elsewhere, and asked that the Council protect the civil liberties that he fought for;

Mr. William Hannegan, 5399 Lindell Blvd, representing Keep St. Louis Free, stated the bar owners of St. Louis County that he has spoken with are very concerned about this issue, that this is a very emotional issue, that he believes it is a function of the County Council to protect the rights of the private property owners and review all the evidence and the information related to infiltration systems and ventilation that the bar owners are saying they can install and encouraged the Council to review information submitted and consider air filtration as an alternative to a smoking ban and still protect public health, and his concern that exemptions for casinos could present a reason to legally challenge this regulation;

Mr. Tim Tucker, 10133 Pebble Beach, Overland, MO, owner of The Locker Room in Florissant, MO, stated his opposition to a smoking ban, that the exemptions would hurt his business and would force him to close given the exemption for the hours of operation, and expressed his support for a statewide smoking ban because everyone has a choice and does not have to go into a bar that has smoking;

Jeff Gershman, Attorney at Law, 7733 Forsyth, Clayton, MO, 63105, representing the Independent Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association of Greater St. Louis, a group he stated is comprised of about 200 bars, taverns, clubs, and cocktail lounges located throughout the metropolitan area with about 120 of these establishments located in St. Louis County, stated this is a very complicated issue for all of the Council Members, there are public health issues, the liberty issues, the serious concerns about economic consequences and the issue about tax revenue for the government. He further stated this is an issue that cries out for a compromise, that “we are not in favor of putting any of the bills on the ballot that you are considering here tonight”, and that tonight’s proposed legislation contains no meaningful exemptions for bars even though it was shown in a 2007 Missouri Department of Health, Senior Services’ comprehensive statewide poll that 70 percent of the citizens polled in St. Louis County thought smoking should be allowed in bars and cocktail lounges. He encouraged the Council not to vote for any of these bills tonight and stated there is a need for additional time and attention to this matter;

Ms. Kelly Owens, St. Louis, MO, stated she is a non-smoker who has worked for the past 12 years in restaurants and smokey bars but noted that she opposes a smoking ban, that she believes it is an issue of freedom to work where she pleases, that business owners have the freedom to choose if their businesses are smoke-free or smoking or have air filtration systems, with customers having the freedom to choose where they patronize, that it is obvious that smoking is not healthy but it is also obvious to her that businesses are private property and it is the Council’s job to protect private property, and if the Council decides to place this issue on the ballot it should be presented with no exemptions;

Mr. David Kuneman, 1015 O’Day Avenue, Rock Hill, MO, Director of Resources for The Citizens’ Freedom Alliance, reviewed 2006 Department of Commerce data on states’ bar and restaurant sales and also total retail sales, noted that the states that had some sort of a smoking ban reflected 7 percent less bar and restaurant revenue relative to total retail revenue in states which do not have a smoking ban, reviewed information from another study concerning its comparison of jurisdictions with smoking bans and jurisdictions without smoking bans in the United States relative to hospital admission rates for major causes of disease, and discussed a report concerning the consequences related to every one percent drop in income. He stated it should be the workers who choose to continue to accept the second-hand smoke risk against the income loss who vote on a smoking ban; and

Mr. Bill Hannegan III, 5399 Lindell Blvd., representing Keep St. Louis Free, stated this is obviously a very complicated, difficult and delicate issue and encouraged the Council Members to review this matter further rather than placing this matter on the ballot for the voting public to decide when questions remain among the Council Members concerning this issue and recommended that St. Louis County delay acting on a smoking ban until the City of St. Louis makes a decision in this regard.

The following individuals addressed the County Council and stated their support for a proposal to place a proposition to prohibit smoking in public places in St. Louis County on the November 3, 2009 Ballot (Relates to Bill No. 189, 2009, pending on the Perfection Order of Business):
Ms. Angela Heigl, 15 Redwood Dr., Florissant, MO, stated that she was recently diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), attributed this condition to her exposure to second-hand smoke and encouraged everyone to worry about their health when they are in an environment that exposes them to second-hand smoke;

Alderwoman Jane Suozzi, City of Ballwin

Alderwoman Jane Suozzi, City of Ballwin

The Honorable Jane Suozzi, Alderman for the City of Ballwin, 164 Lucerne Pl., Ballwin, MO, 63011, stated her support for Clean Air ordinances, reviewed the impact the Ballwin CAO (Clean Air Ordinance) implemented January 2, 2006, has had on the Ballwin community, noted that she encourages other government bodies to consider similar legislation, and disputed allegations that the City of Ballwin is losing businesses due to the implementation of its CAO;

Missouri State Representative, Jeannette Mott Oxford

Missouri State Representative, Jeannette Mott Oxford

The Honorable Jeanette Mott Oxford, Missouri State Representative for District 59, 2910 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63118, stated her support for strong, smoke-free ordinances and she would support legislation on a statewide level in this regard, reviewed information she has found indicating “Missouri is not a leader on tobacco issues”, and encouraged the Council to move forward with good strong legislation and view this as protecting lives;

Dr. Raymond Slavin, St. Louis University

Dr. Raymond Slavin, St. Louis University

Dr. Raymond Slavin, Professor of Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, 631 E. Polo Dr., Clayton, MO, 63105, spoke to the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke and that minimal exposure to second-hand smoke was shown in a recent study to have impacted the lungs of healthy individuals;

Ms. April Dzubic, 9214 Pinto Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63123, asked the Council Members to take that part of their job, as an elected official, to protect people seriously, and support a comprehensive measure for clean indoor air;

Ms. Christina Scott, 7430 Brightwood Dr., Affton, 63123, stated her support for a smoking ban with no exemptions and further stated her opinion that the business owners will gain customers if the smoking ban passes, and that she and her husband often drive further distances to dine in a smoke-free environment;

Ms. Jean Loemker, 973 Box Elder, Kirkwood, MO, 63122, a Medical Social Worker at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, stated she interacts on a daily basis with individuals whose health has been affected by both tobacco use and second-hand smoke, that it is the role of government at the local, state and federal level to protect the public health of its people and encouraged the Council Members to place a Clean Indoor Air Act on the November Ballot;

Mr. Dennis Fuller, 7365 Colgate, University City, MO, 63130, Speech Pathologist at Saint Louis University, requested that the Council Members consider a bill that bans smoking with no exceptions for those constituents who comprise 65% of the population in St. Louis County and are non-smokers;

Dr. Walton (Walt) Sumner, 7 Old Westbury Ln., Webster Groves, MO, President of the St. Louis Academy of Family Physicians and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, noted the dangers small particulates and smoke present to the public each day which “can kill” susceptible people on the day they are exposed while many others are injured, and further stated his support of a Clean Indoor Air Act and an indoor smoking ban for public places;

Ms. Nancy Mueller, 8433 St. Andrews Lane, House Springs, MO, 63051, Chair of Tobacco Free Missouri, the statewide coalition comprised of over 100 individuals and organizations working together to reduce the burden of tobacco in the State through education and policy change, urged the Council Members “to send a comprehensive and simple smoke-free ordinance to the vote of the people”, and stated there is strong support in St. Louis County for a 100 percent smoke-free work place policy, and that St. Louis County is critical in the progression toward a statewide comprehensive smoke-free law regarding this public health issue;

Mr. Nicholas Civello, 2137 Hickory Dr., Chesterfield, MO, 63005, a business owner, citizen and supporter of Smoke-free St. Louis, stated his strong belief that all bars, restaurants, casinos and work places in St. Louis County should be smoke free and that this truly is a public health issue, it is time for a countywide smoke-free policy in St. Louis County and his opinion concerning the seriousness of second-hand smoke;

Ms. Sherry Blough, 640 Bluffs View Ct., Eureka, MO, Adult Sponsor for Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), discussed her observation of the number of young adults working in a restaurant where she recently dined and commented on the effects second-hand smoke may have on these individuals;

Mr. Barry Freedman, 8002 Walinca Dr., Clayton, MO, 63105, encouraged the County Council to enact a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance with no exemptions or to place the issue on the ballot for the voters to decide. He stated smoke-free laws have been enacted in 30 states and many cities throughout the Country including several Missouri cities, and these laws protect the public health without any negative economic impact;

Mr. Farzad Faramarzi, 819 Moundale Dr., 63135, owner of Thyme Table Café, stated his restaurant has been smoke-free since 1988 and they started with seating for 35 and now seat 120 along with a banquet center that seats 300, his restaurant is very busy, and he believes in freedom of choice and that this issue should go to the vote of the people;

Ms. Sarah Moreland Russell, 9101 Coral Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63123, stated her support for a “comprehensive smoke-free air ordinance”, she conducts public health research and is a doctorate student in public policy, that as a new mother she is concerned about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke on her eight-month-old son, and encouraged the Council Members to give her “the opportunity to vote for a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance and a safer environment for my son”;

Ms. Reese Forbes, 680 W. Washington Ave., Kirkwood, MO, 63122, stated his support for a smoke-free ordinance for St. Louis County, relating that he has heard support for a countywide smoke free ordinance for the past five years, stating that 80% of the voting public are non-smoking;

Mr. Ernest Wolf, 301 Tanglewood Dr., 63124, stated his support for a smoke-free ordinance and his belief that the business community would be helped by passage of this ordinance, his opinion that if the number of smokers were reduced there would be a more productive work force and fewer empty buildings, and he encouraged the Council Members to review the medical and scientific information available to them concerning this issue;

Ms. Sarah Schell, 7118 Tulane, University City, MO, stated her support for passage of a smoking ban, noted her concerns related to second-hand smoke, acknowledged support for passage of a smoking ban on a State level but encouraged the Council Members to pass a comprehensive smoking ban for the vote of the people in St. Louis County and protect our health;

Ms. Laura Piper, 834 A Pennsylvania Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63130, stated support for a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance, she has done cessation counseling and understands the difficulty smokers encounter in their attempts to stop smoking, and a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance with no exemptions could be beneficial for all individuals, smokers and non-smokers alike;

Mr. Robert Blaine, 706 Linwood Blvd., Kirkwood, MO, representing Washington University, Office of Government and Community Relations, noted, on behalf of the University, the University’s wish to applaud the Council for tackling this important public health issue of clean indoor air and the University’s recognition of the dangers posed by second-hand smoke. He reviewed the steps Washington University has taken, as an employer, to eliminate tobacco and smoking on the University campuses, pointed out all University campuses and managed properties will be smoke-free by 2010, discussed the number of smoke-related illnesses treated by the Washington University School of Medicine on a daily basis and the dangers posed by second-hand smoke, and encouraged the Council to place a comprehensive smoking ban on the November ballot;

Ms. Leann Chilton, 6805 Kimmswick Ct., St. Louis, MO, 63129, Director of Government Relations for BJC HealthCare, stated BJC is the largest employer in the region with four of its thirteen hospitals located in St. Louis County, each of these hospitals and the campus grounds are smoke-free. She further stated it was not an easy decision to go smoke-free but, faced with the irrefutable evidence of the impact of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke on health, BJC determined that prohibiting smoking was the right thing to do, and expressed BJC’s support for the Council to enact a ban on indoor smoking in the best interests of health or to approve the ordinance that would bring this proposal to a vote of the people;

The Honorable Brian Fletcher, Mayor of the City of Ferguson, 202 S. Elizabeth, Ferguson, MO, 63135, stated his support for letting the citizens decide on the smoking ban issue and encouraged the Council Members to approve legislation in this regard and place this issue on the ballot and give the people the choice on this issue;

Mr. Dan Duncan, 1324 Holling, Calverton Park, MO, 63135, Director of Community Services for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, stated he and his organization support a smoking ban ordinance with no exemptions, this is a serious public health issue, the most fair and equitable way to handle this matter is to let the people of St. Louis County decide what they want, and expressed the importance of considering what is best for the children of St. Louis County and allowing the people to decide in this regard;

Ms. Susannah Fuchs, 75 Arundel Place, Clayton, MO, 63105,expressed support for passage of an ordinance like the one just passed by the City of Clayton, noted she supports passage of a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance because it is her belief that everyone deserves the right to breathe air free from second-hand smoke and that nobody should have to choose between their health and their job. She stated her opposition to an ordinance that exempts any bars or restaurants because it makes enforcement unworkable, unfairly pits business against business and it doesn’t protect the employees’ health;

Ms. Carol Becker, 845 Sugar Hill, Manchester, MO, a lung cancer survivor, stated her support for passage of a comprehensive smoking ban. She further stated this legislation is important to saving thousands of lives and people want this smoking ban and clean air;

Ms. Deborah Kersting, Executive Director, Missouri March of Dimes. Former St. Louis County Councilwoman.

Ms. Deb Kersting, 2502 Christopher Lake Court, St. Louis, MO, 63129, Executive Director for the March of Dimes of Missouri, stated smoking is a leading cause of pre-term birth among the 12,000 babies born each year in St. Louis County and the 81,000 babies born statewide each year, noted one in eight babies is born too soon because of the smoking epidemic, stated the March of Dimes urges women to stop smoking in its effort to prevent birth defects, prematurity and low birth weight and recommends women take every effort to minimize smoking and inhalation of second-hand smoke, identified medical issues for babies exposed to smoke and/or second-hand smoke and medical issues facing parents who smoke and/or are exposed to second-hand smoke and encouraged the County Council to consider this information when making a decision on this issue;

Ms. Nia Safaa, 8078 Orlando Dr., representing the youth group of the March of Dimes, Chain Reaction, expressed support for smoke-free restaurants and public areas for children and noted a smoking ban in St. Louis County would protect the people who don’t have a voice and need consideration;

Mr. Bob Johnson, 8613 Oriole Ave., St. Louis, MO, expressed his support for a strong, comprehensive smoke-free law, encouraged the Council Members to do the right thing and save lives in St. Louis County and ultimately save lives across the State by letting people in the 91 St. Louis County municipalities vote on a comprehensive bill that will protect workers in this regard, noted it is his belief the State lawmakers will not move forward with a statewide smoke-free law until a critical mass of smoke-free cities “creates a tipping point that would propel them into action” and “the 91 municipalities of St. Louis County is that tipping point”;

Mr. Gary Steps, 427 South Park, Webster Groves, MO (residence), owner of Butterfly Energy Works, LLC, 146 W. Lockwood and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council professional organization, stated his support for the City of Clayton’s smoking ban, discussed today’s mandatory construction requirements for “green” buildings related to smoke-free environments, and related how second-hand smoke has impacted his health and encouraged everyone to think about those individuals who don’t have a choice in this matter and who should not be exposed to second-hand smoke;

Anthony J. Scalzo, M.D., 5014 Amberway Dr., a physician at St. Louis University, asked that the County Council vote for the children he has worked with through the past 14 years in order to prevent them from ever smoking in the first place;

Ms. Martha Bhattacharya, 7053 Stanford Avenue, University City, MO, expressed her support for placing the smoking ban on the ballot, and stated restaurants and bars should consider the customers they will gain if a smoking ban is passed and smoke free restaurants and bars will have a positive impact on individuals when considering locating to this area;

Mr. Dennis Trask, 6121 Coronodo, St. Louis, MO, 63116, a school counselor, expressed his personal support for a comprehensive smoking ban, and stated his grandfather died from a smoke related illness within two years of his retirement, his belief that the scientific evidence indicating that smoking and second-hand smoke is very compelling supports the need for a comprehensive ban, and being a positive role model for our children is also very important. He further stated he respects the right to protect individual liberties but also encourages responsible action and support for a comprehensive ban on smoking in St. Louis; and

Ms. Karen McKay, 27 New Hope Ct., Florissant, MO, a member of the First Congressional District for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a member of the Florissant City Council and a business owner in the City of Florissant for the past 30 years, expressed her support for a comprehensive smoking ban and stated it is a fact that tobacco related diseases cost our nation more than $167 billion in costs and productivity loss each year. She asked that the Council Members approve placing a simple, clean, free ordinance on the ballot for the public vote in November that will protect all patrons and workers, stated this is a health issue and encouraged the Council Members to vote in support of this issue.

The following individuals had signed a “Speakers Card” but did not address the County Council at this time:
The Honorable Lyda Krewson, Alderwoman for Ward 28, St. Louis City Board of Aldermen;
Ms. Gloria Nickerson, 7576 Blackberry;
Mr. Ken Grober; and
Ms. Kelly Houston-Allen, 9623 Corregidor.
There being no other persons who wished to speak at the Public Forum, Chair Erby ordered the Public Forum closed and the Council to proceed with the next item on the Order of Business.

PERFECTION OF BILLS

At this time Councilman O’Mara asked to be recognized.

Chair Erby recognized Councilman O’Mara.

Councilman O’Mara pointed out that in previous years, controversial matters before the Council have been referred to Council committees for review. Councilman O’Mara stated that there were several versions of the bill presented today and he has not had time to review each bill to have an understanding of what will be brought before the Council for a vote this evening. He then asked that Bill No. 189 be referred to the Council’s Justice and Health Committee.

Chair Erby also commented and expressed her agreement with Councilman O’Mara’s concerns regarding the legislation. She too stated the need to review this matter further and expressed her support for taking this to the voters but only after the Council has had the needed time to adequately review the legislation, noting they have not had ample time to properly prepare for voting on this matter this evening. Chair Erby stated it is unfair to expect the Council Members to vote on this matter this evening. She expressed her support for the State to take action on this issue and acknowledged the need to do something to give the people the opportunity to vote on this matter, but stated the legislation needs to be drafted so it is fair.

COUNCILMAN O’MARA MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN BURKETT, TO HOLD BILL NO. 189 AND REFER IT TO THE JUSTICE AND HEALTH COMMITTEE.

COUNCILMAN ERBY REQUESTED A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION TO HOLD BILL NO. 189, 2009, AND REFER IT TO THE JUSTICE AND HEALTH COMMITTEE.

UPON ROLL CALL, THE VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

YEAS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA
NAYS: WASINGER, FRASER, STENGER, QUINN
ABSENT: NONE

CHAIR ERBY DECLARED THAT THE MOTION TO HOLD BILL NO. 189, 2009, AND REFER IT TO THE JUSTICE AND HEALTH COMMITTEE HAD FAILED.

BILL NO. 189, 2009, INTRODUCED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, ENTITLED:

AN ORDINANCE

CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ON THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2009, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSITION TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC PLACES.

Perfection of Bills – Continued

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, INTRODUCED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, ENTITLED:

AN ORDINANCE

CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ON THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2009, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSITION TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC PLACES.

BILL READ. MOVED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN WASINGER, FOR ADOPTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 289, 2009.

COUNCILMAN ERBY REQUESTED A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION FOR ADOPTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009.

UPON ROLL CALL, THE VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, STENGER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA
ABSENT: NONE

CHAIRMAN ERBY DECLARED SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, ADOPTED.

Councilwoman Fraser noted that this legislation was available for review last Friday.

Prior to the Roll Call vote Councilman Burkett stated that she has never been in favor of a smoking ban. Councilman Burkett then asked Councilwoman Fraser what this bill contained regarding exemptions.

Councilwoman Fraser stated, “It has exemptions that are identical to both the Clayton and the City of St. Louis bill at its first effort”. She noted that it does not exempt casinos nor does it exempt bars or drinking establishments as stated. Councilwoman Fraser pointed out it does exempt private residences, private clubs and the same standard exemptions included in the City of Clayton’s legislation, as listed in Section 605.060 in Exceptions.

During the Roll Call vote Chair Erby stated she was voting “No” based on the fact that we are rushing this through. She pointed out that she would like to see some time to work it out, stating that she approves of a bill with no exceptions, noting that this bill does have some exemptions.

Councilman Burkett stated that she was voting “No” but wanted to inform the citizens of this County that she received numerous, numerous emails urging the Council to pass a strong, comprehensive, and simple smoke-free ordinance. Councilman Burkett further stated that she had heard many of the citizens ask for “no exemptions for anything”, noting that she does not believe that either bill presented offers that and was, therefore, voting “No”.

Councilman Wasinger stated that the issue that brought everyone together tonight is obviously a very controversial one. She noted that, as an elected official, she does not take her vote lightly, pointing out that she believes she is the voice of the Third District in St. Louis County. Councilman Wasinger stated that this is an issue that she has continually and frequently heard about. People want to be heard on this issue, for or against, they want to be heard and they want the issue brought up. Consequently, she stated she was in favor of supporting this on the November ballot and voted “Yes”.

Councilwoman Fraser stated she was voting “Yes”, noting that the scientific evidence is indisputable that second-hand smoke is very harmful to our health. She pointed out that it is not just a mere annoyance but it is in fact a serious health hazard. Councilwoman Fraser stated, “The basic duty of government is to protect public health. Smoke free laws are disease prevention measures”.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, INTRODUCED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, ENTITLED:

AN ORDINANCE

CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ON THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2009, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSITION TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC PLACES.

MOVED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN WASINGER, FOR PERFECTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 289, 2009.

COUNCILMAN ERBY REQUESTED A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION FOR PERFECTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009.

UPON ROLL CALL, THE VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA, STENGER
ABSENT: NONE

CHAIRMAN ERBY DECLARED SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, HAD FAILED.

Perfection of Bills – Continued

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, INTRODUCED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, ENTITLED:

AN ORDINANCE

CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ON THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2009, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSITION TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC PLACES.

BILL READ. MOVED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN QUINN, FOR ADOPTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 289, 2009.

COUNCILMAN ERBY REQUESTED A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION FOR ADOPTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009.

UPON ROLL CALL, THE VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, STENGER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA
ABSENT: NONE

CHAIRMAN ERBY DECLARED SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, ADOPTED.

At the time of the Roll Call vote Councilman O’Mara questioned what was the addition to this bill.

Councilman Quinn responded that this legislation has an exemption for drinking establishments and for casinos, noting that drinking establishments were defined as having food sales of 25 percent or less and alcohol sales of 75 percent or more. He noted these were the only additional exemptions other than the ones that were included in the previous substitute.

Councilman O’Mara, County Counselor Pat Redington, Councilman Quinn, Councilwoman Fraser and Chair Erby then discussed the procedural rules regarding the introduction of Substitute Bill No. 2 for Bill No. 189, 2009, after the motion to adopt Substitute Bill No. 1 for Bill No. 189, 2009, had failed.

Perfection of Bills – Continued

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, INTRODUCED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, ENTITLED:

AN ORDINANCE

CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ON THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2009, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSITION TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC PLACES.

MOVED BY COUNCILWOMAN FRASER, SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN WASINGER, FOR PERFECTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 1 FOR BILL NO. 289, 2009.

COUNCILMAN ERBY REQUESTED A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION FOR PERFECTION OF SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009.

UPON ROLL CALL, THE VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

YEAS: WASINGER, FRASER, STENGER, QUINN
NAYS: ERBY, BURKETT, O’MARA
ABSENT: NONE

CHAIRMAN ERBY DECLARED SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. 2 FOR BILL NO. 189, 2009, PERFECTED.

7/28/09: Second St. Louis County Council meeting on smoke-free air bill

The St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday evening, July 28, attracted a lot more public comment than the previous week on Councilwoman Barbara Fraser’s anticipated smoke-free air bill, which still never actually materialized. Those speaking against outnumbered those in favor. The mood was quite raucous, with loud applause after each person finished speaking against the bill, and even interruptions with questions shouted from the floor of the chamber. Instead of calling members of the public to order or threatening to eject them, these individuals, all of whom were in opposition, received answers to their shouted questions. I’ve never seen such behavior tolerated before.

Marty Ginsburg (left) and Scott Coleman celebrate the defeat of the proposed county smoking ban in 2005. (Photo: Laurie Skrivan/P-D)

Marty Ginsburg (left) and Scott Coleman celebrate the defeat of the proposed county smoking ban in 2005. (Photo: Laurie Skrivan/P-D)

One such individual was Marty Ginsburg, owner of The Sports Page Bar and Grill, Chesterfield, seen in the attached 2005 Post-Dispatch photo.

I personally found it increasingly objectionable that opponents were yelling questions or comments from the floor even after they’d had an opportunity to speak and were not stopped but obtained responses. Eventually when Marty Ginsburg shouted out yet another question I lost my cool and yelled out to him: “You’re out of order!” For that, after the meeting ended, I apologized to the Chair, Councilwoman Hazel Erby.

Post-Dispatch reporter Phil Sutin

Post-Dispatch reporter Phil Sutin

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article on the council meeting by reporter Phil Sutin, No action on smoking ban, on Wednesday, July 29. Mr. Sutin wrote that “Two versions of what voters would consider — one that includes exemptions for casino floors and bars and one that does not — were unavailable in writing for council members and public until about 10 minutes after the council meeting started. …

Only drinking establishments whose sale of alcoholic beverages equals 75 percent of gross sales would receive the bar exemption.”

Mr. Sutin reported that “the public forum drew 24 speakers, many of them owners of small bars that allow smoking. These places, one owner said, “are not restaurants where somebody enjoys eating a steak. They are places where people enjoy a cigarette while drinking a beer.” ”

[mogasp: According to the posted minutes, excerpted below, there were 23 speakers, 16 opposed and 7 in favor.]

(L to R) Pat Lindsey, Jean Loemker, Michele McDonald, and Ernie Wolf outside council chamber

(L to R) Pat Lindsey, Jean Loemker, Michele McDonald, and Ernie Wolf outside council chamber

The article had a good quote, attributed to Michele McDonald of Kirkwood (see photo at left):

People have a right to smoke and get cancer, but they don’t have a right to poison the air.

The following is excerpted from the Journal of the County Council St. Louis, Missouri, for Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 6:00 P.M. It was posted on the county’s web site the day after the meeting:

Chair Erby presiding.
On roll call, the following Council Members were present:
Hazel M. Erby
Kathleen Kelly Burkett
Colleen M. Wasinger
Michael E. O’Mara
Barbara Fraser
Steven V. Stenger
Gregory F. Quinn

PUBLIC FORUM

Chair Erby called upon those persons who had signed cards to speak at the Public Forum.

The following individuals addressed the County Council and stated their opposition to a smoking ban in St. Louis County (Relates to Bill No. 189, 2009, pending on the Perfection Order of Business):

Mr. Ken Breier, 1724 Mason Knoll, Town and Country, a restaurant owner;
Ms. Robin Anderson, 2999 Haas Ave., owner of Twisters Lounge in St. Ann;
Mr. Harold H. Hendrick, 6752 Mignon Drive, proposed that casinos not be exempted from the smoking ban proposal;
Mr. Joe Toenjes, 329 Rose Lane, Kirkwood, MO, representing Choose St. Louis – Informed Health Choice Proposal;
Mr. Scott Coleman, 1500 Lemay Ferry Rd., owner of Some Other Place Bar and Grill;
Ms. Bev Ehlen, P.O. Box 274, 229 Chesterfield Business Pkwy, State Director of Concerned Women for America of MO;
Mr. Norm Farber, 13531 Cedar Bridge Road, Chesterfield, MO; questioned the urgency of placing this matter on the ballot at this time;
Mr. Marty Ginsburg, 13431 Olive St. Rd., Chesterfield, MO, owner of The Sports Page Bar and Grill;
Mr. Tom Rolfes, 858 N. Woodlawn, owner of 100 West Bar & Grill, related that his establishment is a “Membership Club” with each patron purchasing a membership whereby they acknowledge that they know his establishment is a smoking establishment;
Mr. Chris Seib, 5 Daybreak Estates, Sunset Hills, MO; owner of two facilities in Unincorporated St. Louis County named The Pink Galleon, Billiards and Games, stated he operates his businesses under an Amusement License and proposed restricting anyone under 21 from smoking establishments;
Ms. Patti Patterson, #5 Midland, Maryland Heights, MO, 63043; owner of Nuts Neighborhood Bar and Grille in Maryland Heights;
Ms. Yvonne Angieri, 7347 Myrtle Ave., Maplewood, MO; Manager of the Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood, related success using air filtration systems and suggested air filtration systems as an alternative to a smoking ban;
Mr. Bill Hannegan, 5399 Lindell Blvd., representing Keep St. Louis Free, proposed an alternative that would include an “over-21 exemption”;
Jeff Gershman, Attorney at Law, 7733 Forsyth, representing the Independent Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association of Greater St. Louis, a group comprised of about 200 bars, taverns, clubs, and lounges located throughout the metropolitan area with about 120 of these establishments located in St. Louis County;
Mr. Dan Volmert, 3333 Ridgeway Dr., founder and principal owner of the Hot Shots Sports Bar & Grills, nine locations in the Greater St. Louis area with five of the facilities located in St. Louis County, representing his “300-plus employees and numerous customers”; and
Ms. Maryann Rober, 14 Blaytonn Lane, Ladue, MO, stating she feels this proposal is very unfair and suggested, instead, that tobacco products be made illegal while questioning the motives for introducing this legislation at this time.

Frequent points made by various aforementioned speakers included that it is a personal choice to patronize establishments that allow smoking in their facilities; people should not be mandated to follow government established regulations that will diminish the success of their businesses and harm their livelihoods; a smoking ban should be considered on a statewide basis; the effects a smoking ban would have on St. Louis County; and their concern that if a smoking ban were to be approved in St. Louis County, smokers would travel to Jefferson County, St. Charles County, Franklin County, and St. Louis City and patronize smoking establishments in these areas.

Councilman O’Mara responded to Mr. Ginsburg’s question related to what information is contained in the proposed legislation, sponsored by Councilwoman Fraser, regarding this issue. Councilman O’Mara pointed out that he just received the information today and has not had time to review the proposed changes in this regard.
Chair Erby responded to Mr. Rolfes stating that she planned to request that Bill No. 189, 2009, be held at tonight’s Council Meeting to afford each Council Member the opportunity to adequately review the proposed legislation.
Councilwoman Fraser also responded to Mr. Rolfes, relating that there is an issue with the timing for passage of this legislation. Councilwoman Fraser also discussed the two substitute bills that she had requested be prepared for tonight’s County Council Meeting.
Chair Erby referred to Pat Redington, County Counselor, and requested that Ms. Redington review the time frames involved for consideration of this legislation relative to placing this issue on the November 2009 Ballot.
Ms. Redington responded that to place this issue on the November 2009 Ballot without the need for a court order, the County Council would need to pass this legislation by August 18, 2009. She pointed out that passage of this legislation after the August 18th date would require a court order.
Chair Erby stated that there would still be adequate time for passage of this legislation even if the bill were to be held this evening. She pointed out that it was her intention to have the bill held this evening to give the Council Members time to review the additional information included in the new proposals.

The following individuals addressed the County Council and stated their support for a proposal to place a proposition to prohibit smoking in public places in St. Louis County on the November 3, 2009 Ballot (Relates to Bill No. 189, 2009, pending on the Perfection Order of Business):

Mr. Martin Pion, 6 Manor Ln., Ferguson, MO, President of Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution);
[mogasp: My complete remarks are appended below.]
Mr. Travis Wilson, 4012 Fairview Ave., St. Louis, MO;
Ms. Misty Snodgrass, Jefferson City, MO, American Cancer Society, Director of Legislation/Government Relations for the State of Missouri;
Ms. Diann Bomkamp, RDH, BSDH. Immediate Past President, American Dental Hygienists’ AssociatIon, 612 Fairways Circle, St. Louis, MO, 63141; Immediate Past-President of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association;
Mr. Ernest Wolf, 301 Tanglewood Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63124; related his added expense as a business owner for insuring smokers and smokers absenteeism affecting his business;
Mr. Charles Gatton, 647 Lemonwood, Ballwin, MO, 63021, former Alderman for the City of Ballwin; and
Ms. Michele McDonald, 1041 N. Clay Ave., Kirkwood, MO.

Frequent points made by various aforementioned speakers included citing smoking and second-hand smoke as a health issue that affects everyone; recommended that no exceptions be granted to a countywide smoking ban; and encouraged the Council Members to vote in support of bringing this issue before the voters of St.
Louis County on the November 3, 2009 Ballot.

Prior to the conclusion of the Public Forum Councilman Burkett asked to be recognized.
Chair Erby recognized Councilman Burkett.
At this time Councilman Burkett stated she recognized many of the individuals who spoke tonight, pointing out that those individuals who were here in 2005 and 2006 know that she did not support a smoking ban in St. Louis County then and does not believe she will ever be for a smoking ban, noting that she probably will not support current legislation in this regard. She related how she fought previously against this measure as a Council Member and noted her present concern over the election costs involved in placing this matter on the ballot. Councilman Burkett related that she was gone on vacation last week when this legislation was introduced but that she would have appreciated more notice regarding this legislation. She acknowledged the importance of this matter and proposed that it would have been beneficial for all Council Members to be able to partake “in the drawing up of these ordinances”.

Councilwoman Fraser asked to be recognized.
Chair Erby recognized Councilwoman Fraser.
At this time Councilwoman Fraser stated, “It is, and has been, for a very long time, a very strong passion of mine that smoke-free laws in fact, are in fact, protecting health, protecting workers and in fact are good for business”. She stated that smoke issues are highly passionate issues and responded to the questions tonight concerning why the hurry. Councilwoman Fraser stated that she realized about three weeks ago during her discussions with other Council Members that there was a chance to pass this legislation in order to give the public the opportunity to vote on it, stating this is a public opportunity.
Councilwoman Fraser stated she agreed with the concerns related at tonight’s Council Meeting questioning why the legislation was not available for review when the public arrived this evening, noting that, “as often happens in legislation, we were working on that legislation at the very last minute”. She further stated that
she agrees with Chair Erby that we should hold the bill this week, noting that she would be happy to do that. However, Councilwoman Fraser related, “This is an issue that has a specific time definite point”. She reiterated the time frame involved in meeting the deadline to place this issue on the November 2009 Ballot and encouraged the Council Members to review the proposed legislation this week so the Council can move forward with voting on this matter at next week’s County Council Meeting.
Councilwoman Fraser expressed her appreciation to those who attended tonight’s meeting but noted that there are many others who could not attend tonight’s meeting who have a say on a “clean air act” in St. Louis County. She stated her belief in the importance of bringing this matter to the entire public for an opportunity to
vote on it and hearing from everybody.
Chair Erby clarified that this legislation was first introduced last week.
There being no other persons who wished to speak at the Public Forum, Chair Erby ordered the Public Forum closed and the Council to proceed with the next item on the Order of Business.

Testimony during Public Comments of St. Louis County Council Meeting
Tuesday, July 28, 2009, by Martin Pion, President

Madam Chairman, Members of the County Council, and County Executive:

Last week I provided a short history of secondhand smoke (SHS) legislation in Missouri over the 25 years during which Missouri GASP and I have been actively engaged in promoting smoke-free air. I concluded by saying that the tobacco lobby has a stranglehold on SHS at the state level. So while a weak state law which doesn’t preempt stronger local ordinances was enacted in 1992, almost all the significant progress has been made locally.

The City of Clayton, which has just enacted what will be the strongest and most comprehensive ordinance in metro St. Louis after it goes into full effect next year, is a notable example of recent local achievements, following the lead of Arnold and Ballwin.

Here are the facts: SHS is a major health hazard which causes disease and death among exposed nonsmokers. The risks cannot be eliminated by ventilation or filtration systems but only by requiring smoke-free indoor work environments. The solution can be effected very simply: Require “No Smoking” signs, ashtray removal, and reasonable penalties for violation.

Should certain classes of employees be covered and others left out? Is it acceptable to pick and choose? I don’t think so. Once one has concluded that this is a health issue requiring county government action, ALL affected individuals deserve to be protected.

One cannot in fairness say that office employees should be protected but not casino workers. One cannot include restaurant workers but exclude those who work in bars. Protection must be comprehensive.

James Repace, a leading international secondhand smoke scientist, came to St. Louis at Missouri GASP’s invitation in 2005. At the time, St. Louis County Council was considering smoke-free air legislation. On March 22 he kicked off the public hearing for organizations and representatives of local government before the county council’s Justice & Health Committee and gave a comprehensive half-hour PowerPoint presentation. I recall your attending it, Madam Chairman.

Repace has just sent me a preprint of a peer-reviewed paper he wrote due to be published next month in the American Journal of Public Health titled:

“Secondhand Smoke in Pennsylvania Casinos: A Study of Nonsmokers’ Exposure, Dose, and Risk”

His study concluded: “SHS-induced heart disease and lung cancer will cause an estimated 6 Pennsylvania casino workers’ deaths annually per 10,000 at risk, 5-fold the death rate from Pennsylvania mining disasters. Casinos should not be exempt from smoke-free workplace laws.”

Don’t gamble with the health of employees in St. Louis County.
Please pass comprehensive legislation covering ALL employees.
It’s time.