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Smoking-wondering what the people might do

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  • Smoking-wondering what the people might do

    I favored the smoking ban. But I was just wondering how you think things might play out----there will definitely be a petition drive---I would guess they would go further with fewer exceptions than the bill which failed 4 to 3. 25,000 signatures---easy. Business interests will need more than four votes to stop it. Whicfh ever side you favored---how do see it playing out in the next year or so?

    Advocates for a smoke-free St. Louis County said Wednesday that they were down, but not out, after a vote by the County Council to kill the proposed smoking ban.

    The indoor clean air act, which would have outlawed smoking in most public buildings, was voted down Tuesday in a three-hour meeting that drew more than 400 residents. Nearly 100 people spoke.

    The council's decision comes after six months of contentious debate. It stunned many advocates who thought the county would join the ranks of Minneapolis, Boston and New York as smoke-free environments.

    "We are dismayed, despondent and disgusted," said Dan Duncan, director of community services for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. "But if anyone thinks this issue is dead, they have another thing coming. It will return, and it will return with a vengeance."

    Duncan said people are talking about starting a voter initiative to get the smoking ban on the ballot next year. Such a move would require a petition signed by more than 25,000 residents - five percent of voters in the county in the last gubernatorial election.

    That's no easy task. The last time such a move was accomplished was last year, when the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums collected more than 24,000 signatures to give residents the right to vote on funding issues for professional ballparks. Voters approved the initiative.

    "It can be done, and I think there is enough support out there to get the signatures without too much trouble," said Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury, author of the smoking ban. "So the fight is not over; the battlefield has just been shifted."

    From the start, Odenwald's proposal has been a contentious issue. Those who supported the measure considered it a matter of public health. Those who opposed it felt the ban infringed on personal choice.

    Nonsmoking groups hoped it would jump-start a regionwide push toward a healthier lifestyle. Business groups swore it would run off customers.

    Voting for the ban were council members Skip Mange, R-Town and Country; John Campisi, R-south St. Louis County; and Odenwald. Voting no were council members Hazel Erby, D-University City; Kathleen Burkett, D-Overland; Mike O'Mara, D-north St. Louis County; and Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin.

    Erby proved to be the swing vote. She had wrestled for weeks with her decision. Odenwald said he had her support up until the night of the vote.

    "She came in at the last minute and wanted changes that would have gutted the bill," he said. "I just couldn't accept that."

    Erby said she never promised Odenwald her vote. She said she wanted to vote for the ban but felt the bill was unfair.

    "I just couldn't, in good conscience, vote for it," she said.

    The latest version of the proposal included exemptions for small bars, bowling alleys, Harrah's casino and Lambert Field. Critics said it favored certain businesses over others.

    "A matter of time"

    But supporters considered the bill a step in the right direction.

    "The whole country is going in the direction of nonsmoking, so it's only a matter of time," said Creve Coeur Mayor Harold Dielmann. "Unfortunately, smaller cities cannot go it alone."

    Dielmann said he had watched the debate closely. Creve Coeur and Chesterfield had been toying with the idea of a smoking ban.

    Dielmann said the county's vote probably means the issue is dead in Creve Coeur.

    "It has to be done on a larger scale, to protect businesses," he said.

    This is a truth that some officials in Ballwin and Arnold say they are coming to grips with.

    Both cities have smoking bans and are wrestling with the economic implications of standing alone.

    Overall, county municipalities were split. The St. Louis County Municipal League stayed neutral on Odenwald's proposal because its members were so divided.

    "I don't think it will be a big topic for most city councils, not now," said Tim Fischesser, the league's executive director. "Smoking is deadly, and fairly dirty, so I think one day we will all be smoke-free. But that's still a way off."

  • #2
    Cant owners decide if their place of business is going to be smoke free or not without the gov't getting involved?


    • #3
      Is it not possible that the government declined to get involved in a matter the majority wanted them to? There was a 4 to 3 vote in favor of letting businesses decide. It is not clear that it reflected what the majority of citizens wanted to be done.

      Sometimes citizens use available methods to do what politicians are reluctant to do. If enough citizens think there is a significant enough health issue, they might or might not overcome the wishes of businesses and the politicians.

      I don't know what will happen, but an attempt will be made.


      • #4
        why can't private businesses decide for themselves? it makes no goddamn sense to force the issue. if not them, then maybe the property owners get the call?

        either way, give people and business owners a choice. if enough people don't enjoy smoking, then they don't go to those businesses that allow it, and the economic impact will likely make the owners rethink.

        this should not be as complicated as it's being made out to be.


        • #5

          I don't like the smoking, but I think free-market is the solution. Instead of fighting for a law, people should start a movement against restaurants who allow it.

          Public buildings are another matter. It shouldn't be allowed.
          "Need some wood?" -- George W. Bush, October 8, 2004

          "Historians will judge if this war is just, not your punk ass." -- Dave Glover, December 8, 2004


          • #6
            rude people make up both sides.

            if you make it illegal at a baseball game, I won't go to but maybe one or so game a year. That's a lot of beer money people will be losing out on.
            Sometimes elections have positive consequences!


            • #7
              Originally posted by phantom@Aug 18 2005, 09:50 PM

              I don't like the smoking, but I think free-market is the solution. Instead of fighting for a law, people should start a movement against restaurants who allow it.

              Public buildings are another matter. It shouldn't be allowed.
              That is what the council voted to do. The businesses are thrilled to death that free market will be the solution.

              But there are ways for the citizenry to resort to democracy, sometimes creating laws that go against the wishes of businesses. I am sure the businesses and free market advocates made the case trying to prevent the laws from being passed in New York and California.

              A lot of citizens are really pizzed off about the way the council voted. You can say all you want about the glories of the free market regarding cigarettes------------------and it might be enough to prevent what happened in New York and California. But efforts will continue to be made and they might be successful in going further than the weakened legislation that was still too much for the council.

              It is a health issue, it is not over, and we don't really know how it will play out.


              • #8
                I smoke, EVERYTHING, kiss my ass if you don't like it.
                Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day


                • #9
                  I don't have to kiss your ass. I can sign a petition, which might or might not reach the required number of signatures, and which might or might not lead to legislation requiring you to shove your cigarettes uhh.... somewhere where they don't make me sick.


                  • #10
                    What! All those people who were forced to enter a place of business that allows smoking are complaining? Welcome to the new Thugcracy.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by carphunter@Aug 19 2005, 02:05 AM
                      What! All those people who were forced to enter a place of business that allows smoking are complaining? Welcome to the new Thugcracy.
                      There are places where they don't have to complain. I could move to one of those places, which would be difficult and impractical, or I could see what could be done about making Missouri more like those places.