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Poll: Should Casinos Be Exempt From Smoke-Free Laws?

ABOVE: The Casino Queen casino in East St Louis IL is smoke-free, for now.
ABOVE: The Casino Queen casino in East St Louis IL is smoke-free, for now.

Casinos are not for me, even if they are smoke-free.  Since the first of 2008 casinos in Illinois have been smoke-free.  In July 2009 the St. Louis Federal Reserve released a study, No Ifs, Ands or Butts: Illinois Casinos Lost Revenue after Smoking Banned,  showing Illinois lost $200 million in 2008 and the local economies lost $12 million:

“One of the reasons that the smoking ban has been more contentious for casinos than for other types of businesses is the contribution that gambling taxes make to state and local tax revenue. In Illinois, casinos are subject to a per-capita admissions tax, as well as a progressive tax on gambling revenue. Revenue from these taxes is divided between the state government and the governments of the communities in which the casinos are located.”

When the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County passed smoke-free laws in 2009 both exempted casinos.

ABOVE: River City Casino in St. Louis County will continue to have smoking even after January 2, 2011
ABOVE: River City Casino in St. Louis County will continue to have smoking even after January 2, 2011 when other businesses in St. Louis County go smoke-free.

Now the Illinois legislature is considering exempting their casinos.

“Smoking could soon be allowed again in Illinois casinos. State legislators are considering changing the two-year-old law because casino profits and local revenues are being hit hard.” (KMOV)

For the poll this week I’m asking if casinos should be exempt from smoke-free laws.  I’ve included a range of answers but if one doesn’t fit you can fill in your own.  The poll is in the upper right corner of the blog.

– Steve Patterson


Please Shop Local Small Businesses On Saturday

November 26, 2010 Big Box, Economy, Retail, STL Region 2 Comments

If you are like many people you are going out to a mall and/or big box store today, Black Friday.  I’m not going to try to talk you out of it, but I am going to suggest you patronize locally owned small businesses in your area tomorrow,  November 27, 2010 – aka Small Business Saturday.

sbslogoFrom the FAQ page:

What is Small Business Saturday?
More than a dozen advocacy, public, and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2010.

Is Small Business Saturday designed to get people to stop shopping at larger businesses or online?
Absolutely not. Small Business Saturday recognizes the importance of small businesses to the overall economy and local communities. It’s a day to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without.Who can get involved in Small Business Saturday?
Anybody. Anywhere. Now through Small Business Saturday, November 27.

How can I get involved in Small Business Saturday?
There are a number of ways for you to get involved. First and foremost, it’s about helping raise awareness about the importance of small business to our communities. For example, you can visit www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where you ca”like” Small Business Saturday and syndicate news feeds about the day to your personal, virtual networks. There, you can also spread the word about the day and your favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to your favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.

You can also support Small Business Saturday by patronizing the local, independently owned small businesses in your neighborhood. That could mean anything from having dinner on your way home from the mall during the holiday shopping season or reserving a part of your holiday gift budget to spend at a local small business.

The event is sponsored by American Express which isn’t a small business.  But I think they realize the importance of small businesses.

sbs1sbs2sbs3sbs4A good places to start are local advertisers helping to support this blog and BUILD St. Louis’ members.

-Steve Patterson


Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010 Economy, Homeless 1 Comment

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy this cute video I found on YouTube:


Also, please think about those less fortunate in our city, those having their Thanksgiving  meal at one of various organizations this year.

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis Alderwoman Triplett Wants Chain Restaurant To Donate Unused Food, Poll

ABOVE: Little Caesers Love Kitchen
ABOVE: Little Caesars' Love Kitchen. Source: littlecaesars.com

Last week St. Louis alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett (D-6) sent a letter to the corporate headquarters of the Little Caesars pizza chain encouraging them to donate pizzas rather than toss them out if not purchased within 30 minutes.   Here is the full text of her letter:

August 9, 2010

Little Caesars World Headquarters
2211 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

To Whom It May Concern:
It is well known the Little Caesars Pizza brand has sponsored a variety of charitable endeavors, most specifically the Little Caesars Love Kitchen. The mobile kitchen has proved to be an innovative and successful tool to feed communities devastated by disaster. The program brought a hot meal to rescue workers at the World Trade Center site as well as Hurricane Katrina victims along the Gulf Coast and continues to contribute to various disaster relief efforts across the country.

While the Love Kitchen is a great way for Little Caesars’ corporate body to help feed the hungry and the homeless in this country, it seems every restaurant bearing the Little Caesars name can play a better role in fighting hunger in America. It has been brought to my attention Little Caesars employs a policy of discarding unclaimed pizzas 30 minutes after they are made rather than donating them to local charitable organizations. Given the Little Caesars public commitment to “give back to the communities in which it serves”, (see; http://www.littlecaesars.com/news/community.asp) this policy is both surprising and disappointing.

With only a few mobile units, the Love Kitchen is not able to reach more than a small portion of the country at any given time. If this policy was to be reversed and the excess pizzas donated to local homeless services organizations, each Little Caesars restaurant would help to make a greater impact in reducing food waste and hunger across America.
Operation Food Search, a food bank operating here in the Saint Louis area, receives donations from several local restaurants, caterers and food manufactures, including your competitor Pizza Hut (see; http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/). Given the thousands of hungry individuals in the city of Saint Louis alone, it is unfathomable Little Caesars has chosen to discard their excess pizzas rather than committing to donate them to a local food bank or homeless care provider.

If it is a question of liability, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects all food donations made by Little Caesars Pizza (see; http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/donate-today/food/business-food-donations.php). Additionally, if someone from your office would like to know more about the donation process or would like an introduction to local food banks or homeless services providers in the Saint Louis area, I would be happy to make the introduction myself.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Sincerely,

Kacie Starr Triplett

Alderwoman, City of Saint Louis, Missouri

Cc: Saint Louis Local Franchises of Little Caesars

The poll this week is your reaction? Should we pressure private businesses to donate rather than waste or should it be up to them to waste or donate?  The poll is in the upper right hand corner.

– Steve Patterson


Missouri didn’t support the Tour of Missouri for 2010

The task of the Missouri Division of Tourism is to attract tourists to visit Missouri  — and leave behind some of their money in the process.

ABOVE: Tour of Missouri 2009
ABOVE: Pro cyclists in St. Louis for the start of Tour of Missouri 2009

ABOVE: Tour of Missouri 2009
ABOVE: Racing teams have lots of support staff.

Without $1 million dollars from the state, the organizers had to cancel the 2010 Tour of Missouri. The tourism budget is roughly $13 million.  The poll this week seeks your opinion on the canceling of the Tour of Missouri.  The poll is in the upper right corner.

– Steve Patterson