Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Keep St. Louis Free did against St. Louis smoking bans in 2005 and 2006.

What Keep St. Louis Free did to help stop St. Louis smoking bans:

  • David Kuneman presented the case against a St. Louis smoking ban on behalf of the Missouri Restaurant Association. David Kuneman's arguments made possible a responsible rejection of County Councilman Kurt Odenwald's proposed smoking ban by the St. Louis County Council.

  • Helped collect 10,000 signatures by County residents on a petition against the Kurt Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban.

  • Assembled 168 pages of arguments and studies that form the basis of the Missouri Restaraunt Association's denial of any need for further public smoking restrictions in St. Louis bars and restaurants in order to protect public health. We hand highlighted these studies and arguments, then sent them to all 90 St. Louis County mayors, the St. Louis County Council, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and the main St. Louis newspapers and television stations. Hand highlighting key passages of 20,000 pages of text was crucial to ensuring the studies had maximum effect on busy journalists and public officials.

  • Printed and distributed 60,000 flyers containing the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the St. Louis County Council to all St. Louis County bars and restaurants, as well as all St. Louis City bars. Over 1000 St. Louis establishments received flyers. These flyers were then copied and further distributed by these bars and restaurants.

  • Mailed to all bars and restaurants in specific districts at key times in the smoking ban battle.

  • Called 800 St. Louis County bars and restaurants before important County Council smoking ban hearings to bring business owners, employees and patrons out to protest the ban.

  • Painted and displayed at smoking ban hearings the largest mobile protest banner in St. Louis history, 70 feet long with 32 inch letters, held aloft by eight hand-held poles. It took eight people to handle this huge message of wood, oilcloth and paint . The banner read: KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! FIGHT THE SMOKING BAN! It was painted for free by St. Louis artist Bill Christman, who founded Blueberry Hill along with his old pal Joe Edwards. Bill came out to hold the banner too and brought a lot of fun to Keep St. Louis Free protests. He has had his own run-ins with overbearing government authority. I wish we could have helped him more!

  • Found and delivered to the Council the results of recent air quality tests, commissioned by the Lambert Airport Authority, which proved a smoking ban was not justified at Lambert Airport. Distributed flyers at Lambert smoking lounges with the contact info of the County Councilmen. Once again researcher David Kuneman provided key testimony before the Council against the Lambert airport smoking ban.

  • Campaigned in Ballwin to remove Ballwin smoking ban author Charlie Gatton from office. As I remember, Gatton lost by 54 votes. The extreme efforts to unseat Gatton by Darla Maloney and Debbie Hopper surely made the difference in this race.

I want to make clear that members of the St. Louis Libertarian Party played a big role in the work against these smoking bans. I myself fought the smoking bans as a someone who is substantially a libertarian. And I have since joined the St. Louis Libertarian Party. But Keep St. Louis Free is a grassroots direct action network that doesn't compete with any political group. Anyone can join us and do something for St. Louis freedom and property rights.