Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clayton Restaurateurs Alliance

Frank Schmitz, owner of Barcelona's in Clayton, has formed the Clayton Restaurateurs Alliance in opposition to a Clayton restaurant smoking ban. Quite an effort is being made by Mr. Schmitz's group to halt any smoking ban in Clayton. Mr. Schmitz has invited restaurater Harry Belli, who lost his Ballwin restaurant Harry's West to the Ballwin smoking ban, and Federal Reserve economist Dr. Michael Pakko, who has extensively researched the economic impact of smoking bans, to join his argument against a Clayton smoking ban.

Barcelona's is one of five Clayton venues that clear their air with Marth Brothers & Co air filtration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ballwin Restaurateur Warns Clayton Aldermen

Harry Belli, owner of Harry’s West in Ballwin, just wrote to Mayor Goldstein and the Clayton Board of Aldermen detailing the economic hardship the Ballwin smoking ban caused his business. Here is a key passage from his letter:

“Subsequent to the smoking ban, Harry’s West lost between 10% and 15% of our revenue within the first 30 days. That was $2000-$2500 per week or approximately $130,000 per year. What kind of financial slope would the City of Clayton be in if it were to lose 10% to 15% of it’s tax base? I can assure you that it is not a good position to be placed in. We could not overcome that loss and eventually closed the Restaurant. We employed 40 people that lost their jobs and the City of Ballwin lost tax revenues. However, I am sure that the surrounding municipalities enjoyed their windfall. We were definately not the only dining establishment to close their doors and to my knowledge, no restaurants and bars are eager to open in Ballwin.”

Backyard Chickens

Clearly, St. Louis home owners have the right to keep a reasonable number of animals on their private property! Chesterfield Councilman Barry Flachsbart got the issue right when he declined to vote for a ban on chickens in Chesterfied: "We really don't need to regulate this"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Humphrey's is safe!

A rumor has spread around St. Louis that St. Louis University is moving to take Humphrey's by eminent domain. One fellow I met in a City aldermanic campaign suggested that it was "a done deal". I thought I had a property rights fight coming up with Fr. Biondi and St. Louis University.

I called the owner, Janis Mangelsdorf, and she assured me that the rumor was obsolete and that Humphrey's was safe. But she invited me to join her in a fight she had going with MoDOT over its failure to put up a sound wall to protect her home from the din of Highway 40. I am sure letters on her behalf would be appreciated.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Louis Beacon on Smoking Ban Debate

Check out this great article on the St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Smoking Ban Debate by Elia Powers in the St. Louis Beacon.

Smoking Ban Debate on Mark Reardon Show

Robert Levy, Martin Pion and Michael Pakko will be on the Mark Reardon Show on 1120 KMOX at 2 pm tomorrow talking about the upcoming smoking ban debate in the Loop.

Jennifer Wolsing of the Federalist Society, moderator of the debate, will be on Fox 2 News in Morning tomorrow a little at 7 am talking about the upcoming debate.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

St. Louis Smokers and Non-Smokers to Face off March 17

Keegan knows that I am a property rights activist not a smoker's rights activist. I am surprised that with all the bars that advertise in the RFT that it has become so pro-ban.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Federalist Society St. Louis Smoking Ban Debate Press Release

On Tuesday (3/17) at 7pm CT, the Federalist Society will host an anticipated debate on the proposed local and statewide public smoking bans. Arguing the pro-ban side will be GASP founding member Martin Pion and making anti-ban arguments will be CATO Institute chairman and DC v. Heller co-counsel Robert Levy as well as St. Louis Federal Reserve economist and St. Louis University economics professor Michael R. Pakko. Exploring the merits and constitutionality of recent highly controversial smoking ban proposals, the debate promises a lively discussion of the merits and constitutionality and boasts such high-profile invitees as Mayor Slay of St. Louis, Mayor Joseph L. Adams of University City and Mayor Harold Dielmann of Creve Coeur among others.

RSVP to me if you plan to attend or send someone in your stead. (Event details and speaker bios copied below.)

NCRC Public Relations
2760 Eisenhower Ave., 4th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-5004 x. 120

You’re Invited
to a Smoking Ban Debate
Hosted by the Federalist Society

Who: Bob Levy (Anti-Ban) - Cato Institute chairman of the board of directors, former clerk to Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, co-counsel in DC v. Heller

Martin Pion (Pro-Ban) - degree in Physics and Math from London University, England, founding member of Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution)

Michael R. Pakko (Anti-Ban) - Research Officer and Economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Research Fellow at the Show-Me Institute in St. Louis and former Adjunct Asst. Professor of Economics at St. Louis University

What: A debate over the merits and constitutionality of smoking bans generally and whether St. Louis or the State of Missouri should ban smoking from all public places.

When: Tuesday, March 17, 2009
6:30pm CT catered dinner
7-8pm CT debate

Where: Regional Arts Commission 6128 Delmar Blvd.St. Louis, MO 63112

To RSVP to the debate or to schedule an interview with Mr. Levy or Mr. Pakko, please contact Kerry Brown at 703-683-5004 x.120 or

* * * * * * * *

Join the St. Louis Federalist Society on Tuesday, March 17 at the Regional Arts Commission on 6128 Delmar Blvd. for a lively debate regarding smoking bans generally and whether St. Louis or the State of Missouri should ban smoking from all public places. Dinner, catered by Joe Boccardi's, will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. The hour-long debate will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m.
Parking is available behind the Pageant and/or the Metrolink lot. Metered parking is also available.
Our expert panelists include: Robert Levy of the CATO Institute, Martin Pion of Missouri GASP, and Michael Pakko of the Federal Reserve and the Show-Me Institute.As always, everyone is welcome, not just Federalist Society members and regulars. Dinner costs $15.00, but merely the debate attending is free.
* * * * * * * *

Bob Levy is chairman of the board of directors at the Cato Institute. He joined Cato as senior fellow in constitutional studies in 1997 after 25 years in business. Bob also sits on boards of the Institute for Justice, the Federalist Society, and the George Mason law school. He received his PhD in business from the American University in 1966, then founded CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of investment information and software. After leaving CDA in 1991, Bob went to George Mason, where he was chief articles editor of the law review. He received his JD degree in 1994. The next two years he clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, both in Washington, DC.For many years, Bob was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, National Review, and many other publications. He has also discussed public policy on national radio and TV programs, including ABC's Nightline, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, MSNBC's Hardball, and NBC's Today Show. Bob's latest book, co-authored with William Mellor and published in May 2008, is The Dirty Dozen: How 12 Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom. Most recently, Bob served as co-counsel in District of Columbia v. Heller, the successful Second Amendment challenge to D.C.'s gun ban.

Martin Pion has a degree in Physics and Math. from London University, England, where he was born. In early 1977, he got a job transfer from ITT's central research lab. to a new fiber optics communications facility in Roanoke, VA. Subsequently, he moved to McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., St. Louis, to design and manage a clean room facility, making semiconductor laser diodes for a space communications program. Since early 1990, Mr. Pion has been self-employed selling specialized scientific software. Mr. Pion became sensitive to secondhand smoke as an adult in England but it wasn't a problem at work because very few professional staff smoked, and there was no air conditioning in the offices, which also had openable outside windows for ventilation. Things changed dramatically after emigrating to the U.S. He found himself sharing a two-person windowless office with a colleague who smoked Camels. Missouri GASP [Group Against Smoking Pollution] formed in 1984 after a meeting in Mr. Pion's home in support of Paul Smith, who needed help in his lawsuit against his employer, Western Electric, a subsidiary of AT&T. Secondhand smoke is now deemed a major air pollutant, and smoke-free environments have become the norm in many places. Missouri, and particularly metro St. Louis, remains behind the times, but Mr. Pion has no doubt that eventually it will follow suit, and when we look back we will wonder why it took so long.

Michael R. Pakko is a Research Officer and Economist at the St. Louis Fed. He joined the bank staff in 1993 and has worked in the fields of international economics, macroeconomics and regional economic analysis Dr. Pakko received his bachelor's degree in socioeconomic policy problems and economics from Michigan State University in 1984 and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester in 1994. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Dr. Pakko held positions as research assistant at the University of Rochester's Department of Economics, analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Dr. Pakko has recently joined the St. Louis Fed's CRE8 which is the Center for Regional Economics. The role of CRE8 is to provide and facilitate rigorous economic analysis of policy issues affecting local, state, and regional economies--particularly those in the Eighth Federal Reserve District.

In addition to his responsibilities with the St. Louis Fed, Dr. Pakko is a Research Fellow with the Show-Me Institute in St. Louis, and he has formerly served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of economics at St. Louis University.

No Smoking Ban for St. Louis? How Depressing.

Please comment on this one folks!

Smoke Circles

Economic damage from any Clayton smoking ban predicted in Central West End Word:

One owner with reservations is Larry Lampert, owner of Plush Pig Barbeque. “We have been no-smoking since day one, and that wouldn’t change, so I have nothing to gain from this, but I can tell you it would hurt business in Clayton,” he said. “I am opposed to a total ban, unless it is just that, a total ban statewide or even nationwide. To do it piece by piece in each municipality is absolute insanity.”

Lampert argued that a ban would worsen what he sees as an already poor business environment in the city. In the almost four years that his restaurant has been open, a number of other restaurants have come and gone, with the smoking regulations as they are, he said.

People who support of a total smoking ban “need to get off their high horses,” he said. “This would be a radical and unrealistic move.” Some people have the mistaken belief that “in Clayton that the streets are made of gold, but they are not.” Venues that are struggling to survive now would be forced to close as patrons who smoke would find new haunts outside the city limits, he said. “If Clayton had something like a bowling alley or a place where people could go shoot pool, forget it, this would destroy them.”

Monday, March 02, 2009

Conversations with the Owners of two Smoke-free establishments

Steve Patterson of interviews Tavern Keeper Steve Smith (The Royale) and restaurant owner Mary Deacon (Crepes In The City) about their decisions to have smoke free establishments... Keep St. Louis Free has no problem with the decisions of these two business owners. Just don't force this smoke-free option on all St. Louis establishments.

Remember that the air of the Royale may be loaded with hazards that air filtration would remove and a mere smoking ban leaves behind. The air of Herbie's Vintage 72, an establishment that features air filtration yet allows smoking, may well have air that is safer that that of the Royale.

NRA does mailing for Alderman Charles Quincy Troupe

I got a postcard from the NRA urging me to vote for Alderman Troupe tomorrow. Strange that I got the postcard, since I don't live in the 1st Ward. The postcard reads:

"Alderman Troupe is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights and he needs your vote to win. He has publicly encouraged his constituents to take gun safety training and apply for concealed carry permits. In a city that largely discourages victims of crime to defend themselves, Alderman Troupe is a lone voice for common sense measures that empower law-abiding citizens against criminals in St. Louis."

It is nice to see a group like the NRA spend money in support of a St. Louis politician who speaks out for St. Louis freedom and property rights!