I missed the meeting which I’d planned to attend, but it seems I wasn’t the only one. Several principles were also no-shows and the meeting was rather brief. It’s good that there was a representative contingent from St. Charles County but the absence of some important players is disappointing.
BY PAUL HAMPEL • email@example.com > 314-340-8153 | Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 4:45 pm | Comments (63 as of May 17, 2011, 11:29 pm)
CLAYTON • A summit of area leaders on Tuesday to discuss unifying the region’s smoking bans did not quite materialize as planned, as representatives from the city of St. Louis and Jefferson County did not show up.
But those officials who did turn up, from St. Louis and St. Charles counties, pronounced the meeting as promising and vowed to get together again soon.
“It was a good start,” St. Louis County Council Chairman Steve Stenger said after the 15-minute meeting ended at county government headquarters in Clayton.
“Hopefully, the next time we meet the city of St. Louis will attend,” Stenger said.
He said his office had invited St. Louis Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and officials from Jefferson County.
“We’ll get back in touch with them and see what the hangup was. I’m sure we’ll find a mutually agreeable time and date in the near future,” said Stenger, D-Affton.
St. Charles County was represented by three members of its County Council — Chairman Joe Brazil, R-Defiance; Joe Cronin, R-St. Paul; and John White, R-St. Charles County.
White said that the public health should be the primary motivation behind a uniform ban for the region. He said that included casinos, which currently have exemptions from ban in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis.
“Trying to protect the public’s and employees health should not be a matter of competition with other casinos,” White said.
Stenger has said that he intends to try to persuade other counties in the region to remove all exemptions from smoking bans “as quickly as possible.”
In both the city and the county, establishments can continue to allow smoking if their revenue from food does not exceed 25 percent of their combined food-alcohol revenue. The city has an added requirement: A bar must be no larger than 2,000 square feet. The city ordinance ends all exemptions in 2016; the county does not have such a sunset clause.
As of March, 185 bars in St. Louis had applied for exemptions, with 116 granted, 41 denied and 28 pending.
St. Louis County has granted 150 exemptions. Eight have been denied, and five are pending.
A proposal was introduced last week in the St. Charles County Council to set an August 2012 election on a countywide smoking ban that would apply to all restaurants and bars but would exempt the gaming floors at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles.