More good news from the front lines in the St. Louis metro area with another more comprehensive smoke-free air ordinance being passed, this time in Brentwood. This movement to remove loopholes which the county ordinance contains should ultimately provide the strong protection that everyone deserves, regardless of where they work.
Bill Hannegan’s attempt to derail this effort by trying to sell the council on “air purification” instead of smoke-free air fell flat.
Congratulations to everyone who helped achieve this very positive result!
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Brentwood hops on the no-smoking bandwagon
Move opposed by 3 bars that would’ve been exempted by county
BY MARGARET GILLERMAN firstname.lastname@example.org 314-725-6758 | Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:05 am
BRENTWOOD • A tough ban that will snuff out smoking inside all bars and restaurants here won nearly unanimous approval from the Board of Aldermen on Monday night.
The 7-1 vote followed some strong opposition, including from the owner of the Double D Karaoke Lounge and Bill Hannegan, an area leader in the battle against smoking bans.
Supporters included local representatives of some of the nation’s largest health associations that have been involved in the front lines against secondhand smoke: the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the American Lung Association and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
Kathi Harness, director of government relations for the Lung Association here, called Brentwood’s ordinance “healthy progressive policy.”
“This is a public health issue,” Harness said. “And so far, 35 states and thousands of municipalities have promoted the public health of their citizens by enacting smoke-free laws.”
Before the vote, St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, who introduced and pushed St. Louis County’s indoor clean air act, encouraged the aldermen and mayor to pass the more restrictive smoke-free ordinance.
The countywide ban, which has more exemptions, will take effect Jan. 2, a day after Brentwood’s ban. A smoking ban similar to the county’s takes effect in St. Louis the same day. Bans are already in effect in Clayton, Kirkwood, Arnold and Ballwin and throughout the state of Illinois. A ban in Lake Saint Louis takes effect Oct. 1.
Fraser said that in six months or a year, she hopes to look again at the county ban and see how it can be made stronger.
Fraser said she originally had proposed a comprehensive ordinance like Brentwood’s but that it was defeated by the County Council. Then she proposed the less stringent countywide act that was approved by a 2-1 ratio by St. Louis County voters.
Fraser said the Brentwood ban would promote “a healthier environment for workers and customers” at bars and restaurants. “And that’s what it’s all about.”
Brentwood, like Clayton and Kirkwood, will ban smoking at all bars, restaurants, places of employment and public places, with exemptions for some hotel rooms and for private residences, private vehicles and tobacco shops. Patrons of bars and restaurants would be allowed to smoke outside and on patios.
The Brentwood ban prohibits smoking in three establishments that would have been exempted by the county: Double D Lounge, Sideline Bar and Grill and the American Legion Hall.
The county exempts bars where income from food is 25 percent or less of gross receipts. It also exempts casinos.
City Administrator Chris Seemayer said Brentwood’s ban is modeled after the ordinances in Clayton and Kirkwood, which took effect earlier this year.
Mayor Pat Kelly, who had initiated the push for a stricter ban in Brentwood, said the city’s ban would “level the playing field” by including all bars. Otherwise, he said, “customers could literally walk across the street” to another business to smoke.
But Donna Wideman, owner of Double D and a leader of the fight against Brentwood’s ban, said her business and the two others were being penalized unfairly.
The lone opponent on the board was Alderman Andy Leahy.
“I don’t think it’s fair to penalize these three little businesses,” he said.
Over at the Sideline Bar late Monday, nearly every customer was smoking.
Owner Bob Townsend said: “This will probably kill my business. My customers will leave.”
Harley Lintner, 76, a longtime customer opposed to the ordinance, said: “I don’t smoke, but it doesn’t bother me a bit. Let the dang people smoke. If some people don’t like the joint, they don’t have to come in to the joint.”
Customer Larry Joyce complained: “We don’t have a vote. Eight people are making the decision.”
Bill Hannegan has fought bans across the metro area and has written to elected officials and published statements on his website against Brentwood’s proposal.
“The ‘over 21’ Double D Lounge has spent a great deal of money installing the most effective air purification system of any bar in St. Louis City or County,” Hannegan wrote. “Don’t they deserve an exemption? Sidelines is an old-timer’s bar not bothering anyone. Why bother them? And can’t the war veterans at the American Legion Hall make their own decisions? Why put Brentwood through all this trouble and expense just to restrict three adult establishments?”