Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joe Vaccaro vs. Mary Homan

In the 23rd Ward, Keep St. Louis Free friend Joe Vaccaro faces off against Smoke-Free St. Louis City leader Mary Homan.

Joe Vaccaro, as a member of the St. Louis Airport Commission, helped Keep St. Louis Free put the kibosh on the Lambert Airport smoking ban Odenwald proposed back in 2006. Joe's quick action prevented a legal challenge to the smoking ban by City Comptroller Darlene Green that would have cost the City and County a great deal of trouble and money. Comptroller Green's office held that only if the use of the Lambert smoking lounges constituted a threat to public health could the St. Louis County Council impose such a restriction on the use of City property. Both Comptroller Green and the St. Louis Airport Commission had the test results which proved that the smoking lounges were no such threat:

Joe Vaccaro took a common sense approach to the public smoking issue at Lambert. He wasn't about to let Odenwald scrap the smoking lounges that cost half a million to install and would cost that much again to remove. Those lounges took pressure off the security lines since smokers didn't have to exit the building to smoke and then be rescreened. And Joe knew that other airports that have banned smoking have to deal with fires from furtive smoking. Joe says that St. Louis has no interest in ticketing a German tourist sneaking a smoke in the restroom.

Joe Vaccaro's common sense practicality probably comes from owning and running a business for many years. To survive, businessmen like Joe have to accept and deal with the real world, not an ideal world they wish existed. They survive by serving the public, not telling them what to do.

Mary Homan, on the other hand, has apparently never owned or run a business. But her training and work as a librarian, theologian and public health activist orients her toward making the world conform to her perfectionistic ideals. Hence her leadership in such a utopian, authoritarian program as a smoking ban for St. Louis City. Mary Homan, if she gets elected, will do everything to ban smoking whether businesses and their customers like it or not. And I am sure Mary has other laws for our own good in store for St. Louis City if a smoking ban passes. In short, Mary Homan is emerging as a key local nanny state busybody that I very much hope common sense Joe Vaccaro beats handily.

In fairness to Mary Homan, someone just pointed out to me that she had been considering her 23rd Ward aldermanic run long before she joined up with Smoke-Free St. Louis City.