Monthly Archives: August 2009

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.