Sunday, May 29, 2011

Councilman Pepper's Letter to St. Charles County Executive Ehlmann

fromJim Pepper,,,,,,
dateSun, May 29, 2011 at 4:25 PM
subjectAbsurb Smoking ban

I, cannot for the life of me, understand why there are those of you that wish to BAN smoking in PRIVATELY owned businesses! We do not live in a fascist state I hope.

Is it because it is the "in" thing for a small group of zealots to dictate to the rest of us what they feel is right for you?

Their premise is based on out and out lies supported with outlandish false reporting!

Where are the rights of business ownership when you are considering this onerous and draconian piece of legislation?
Where is the responsibility of patrons to make a choice as to which establishment they wish to enter?

What happened to the right of free assembly for peaceful purposes of like minded individuals?

If I wish to open an establishment, legally catering to a certain venue, invest my own money along with a lot of hard work to make it successful, where do you have the right to tell me I cannot do something?

If you wish to regulate somewhat, then address that, not banning it entirety.

Years ago, a government banned smoking and oppressively pushed vegetarianism as a means to change society. That government was Nazi Germany!

What would you do if you put out an open invitation to a get together at your home and someone arrived and proceeded to tell you what to do in your own home?

Common decency will not allow me to express fully what I would say or the physical action I would take.

Government should support local businesses, not restricting them or driving them out of business.

Get the "Nanny Staters" off our backs! PLEASE!!

Jim Pepper
Council Member Ward 2

Thursday, May 26, 2011

St. Charles County Councilman Cronin Admits Restricting VFW s

Mr Cronin

Thank you for your response. I believe the issue is not if the private clubs are included or not. The wording of the ban I believe to be very misleading. It appears to give private clubs such as VFW halls an exclusion. In another paragraph it seeming takes it away. If private clubs wish to ban smoking they can do it at anytime (as can bars and restaurants). What I ask is that you alter the legislation one way or other to clear the issue up. From a PR standpoint I would believe that you and the county council wouldn't want a showdown with veterans. They deserve to know clearly were they stand.



Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 18:13:43 -0500
Subject: RE: [LIKELY_S-P-A-M]Smoking Ban and Private Clubs

Mr. Palazzolo.
Thank you for contacting the Council. Speaking for myself, I can tell you that the private club wording was taken from a "model" ordinance very similar to that what is currently law in O'Fallon and Lake St. Louis.
Again, speaking for myself, I will tell you that the past three national commanders of the VFW have suggested to membership that they consider making all 8,300 VFW posts smoke-free according to Joe Davis the VFW director of public affairs.
And please remember sir that all we are considering is allowing the voters to decide this controversial issue a year from now. Everyone will have lots of time for debate and close study before voting on this.
Regards, Joe Cronin SCCC1

From: Council
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 7:49 AM
To: Hollander, Terry; Daugherty, Jerry; Joe Brazil; Cronin Joe; Joe Cronin; John White; Nancy Matheny; Paul Wynn
Subject: FW: [LIKELY_S-P-A-M]Smoking Ban and Private Clubs

From: Tony Palazzolo []
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 5:29 PM
To: Executive; Council
Subject: [LIKELY_S-P-A-M]Smoking Ban and Private Clubs

Executive Elhmann

After reading through the proposed smoking ban I have found the wording to be confusing. The smoking ban has been advertised as a including exemptions for the casino gambling floors, cigar bars, tobacco shops and private clubs.

The wording the ban itself goes to length to include private clubs as a definition. It seemingly gives private clubs an exemption from the smoking ban. In section H section 3 the wording "

Private clubs that have no employees present

on the premises of the club, except when being used

for a function to which the general public is invited;

This would then preclude nearly all private clubs as most VFW, Amvets and other private clubs nearly always employ bartenders. Even if the club did not pay and the only compensation was from "tips" then the club would lose the exemption.

I similar tactic was used in the City of St Louis. Most that read the bill believed that private clubs were exempted from the legislation. They only found out later that they had lost the right to allow smoking. As you can imagine that many of them felt betrayed that they risked their lives for freedom only to have it quietly stripped away.

As a person who believes in freedom I don't agree with smoking bans on any level. I believe that the success of this country is based on our ability to make our own choices. If my reading is correct on than I would ask that under definitions that section "K" be removed. Private clubs shouldn't find out after a vote that they were tricked into sitting on the sidelines as happened in St Louis City. They should be allowed to fight for freedom for which they fought. If this is not possible I would ask that you veto a bill if it comes to your desk.

Tony Palazzolo

St. Charles County Smoking Ban Flyer

Revised St. Charles County Flyer

Proposed St. Charles County smoking ordinance.

Bill No. 3726

Notice that smoking is banned in bars and private clubs, but not casinos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ameristar Casino Smoking Ban Exemption

Dear County Executive Ehlmann,

I read online that Councilmen Cronin and Hollander are proposing a smoking ban with an exemption for a single named business, Ameristar Casino. Is such an exemption of a single named business from a public health law legal? A similar exemption was granted to Churchill Downs by the Louisville Metro Council a few year back. A judge later struck down not only the exemption as lacking a rational basis, but the entire law as well since passage of the law clearly depended on the exemption of the racetrack. Similarly, Councilman Cronin has made it clear the smoking ban would not be passed by the St. Charles County Council apart from the Ameristar exemption.

Councilmen Cronin and Hollander justify the casino exemption as a means to protect Ameristar Casino from competition with Harrah's casino in St. Louis County where smoking is still allowed. I would like to point out that smoking is also still allowed in St. Louis County bars and even bowling alleys. Don't St. Charles County bars also then have a well-justified concern that the proposed smoking ban would send their smoking customers elsewhere, either to Ameristar or to St. Louis County bars? Indeed, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has published research showing that smoking bans hurt not only casinos but also bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Please find this research attached. Recently the Pub, a Lake St. Louis smoking bar, bore this research out when it fell victim to the Lake St. Louis smoking ban. Obviously the Pub's smoking customers went to locations where smoking is still allowed.

Finally I would like to point out that public health laws are never put on the ballot and for good reason. Voters do not have the time to research and evaluate the competing claims of business owners and public health advocates. In this case especially, the public health concerns of smoking in entertainment venues have been so overstated in the press that it is hard to imagine that a public vote on a smoking ban could be fair to St. Charles County business owners. Furthermore, mom and pop bars and restaurants do not have the resources to make their case to the voting public in competition with wealthy advocacy groups such as the American Cancer Society. Removing Ameristar Casino from the smoking ban would only further ensure that funding for a competing campaign against the smoking ban will not be available. Is that fair?

Shouldn't the Council instead simply review the arguments for and against a smoking ban and then take a vote yourselves. The Council is really in the best position to hear the arguments of concerned business owners and then put in place the least burdensome regulation necessary to ensure public health. If a smoking ban is considered necessary, I would suggest an exemption for all "over 21" or "over 18" businesses such as the Tennessee smoking ban features. That way those establishments most threatened by smoking bans, both casinos and bars, would be excluded. And any worried establishment, including a restaurant, could be excluded from the ban by simple refusing minors admission to the establishment. Please find the Tennessee law attached.

County Executive Ehlmann, bar owners are worried sick about these looming smoking restrictions. But they do believe public health can be protected in a way that is legal and fair to all businesses, and in a way that respects property rights and adult free choice. It is really up to the County Council, not voters, to make that happen.

Thank you very much for considering my arguments concerning this issue.


Bill Hannnegan
314.315.3779 (cell)