Standard Operating Procedure

St. Louis County has a $41 million budget deficit.

Solution? Proposed cuts to St. Louis County budget include jail, police and public health staff

Only the fact that the county is a patchwork of independent school districts prevented it from going after teachers, too.

Whenever faced with a shortfall, big local governments always target its essential functions, not the nice-to-haves, which are somehow untouchable but which citizens won’t raise a hue and cry about cutting.

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A Quiz, But About Old St. Louis Restaurants

I know, I know. Most of the time I do a “quiz” to humblebrag about how much great literature I read or how much of contemporary popular culture I do not consume.

However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has published a list of 36 restaurants that have closed, so I thought I’d list the ones I’ve been to. Before they closed. Which is unlike the Coral Courts Motel, which a woman took me to after it had closed.

At any rate, I’ve been to the ones in bold and think I might have been to the ones in italics:

  • Big Boy’s in Wright City
  • Arcelia’s in St. Louis
  • Beffa’s in St. Louis
  • Busch’s Grove in Ladue
  • Casa Gallardo chain
  • Copia in St. Louis (I worked downtown for a while, and I knew this was nearby, so I might have been)
  • Dandy Inn in Fairview Heights
  • The Diamonds Restaurant
  • Dohack’s in south St. Louis County, Festus
  • Dooley’s Ltd.
  • Duff’s in Central West End
  • Fatted Calf in Clayton
  • Fischer’s in Belleville
  • Flaming Pit
  • Floating McDonald’s
  • Forum Cafeteria, St. Louis
  • Garavelli’s in south St. Louis
  • Gian Peppe’s on The Hill
  • The Green Parrot Inn
  • Halls Ferry Inn in Florissant
  • Jacks or Better, multiple locations (it seems to me there was one on Lemay Ferry Road that I might have gone to with family before I actually lived in Lemay for a while)
  • Kemoll’s in downtown St. Louis
  • King Louie’s in St. Louis
  • Kopperman’s Deli
  • Lemmons in south St. Louis
  • Lettuce Leaf in Clayton
  • The Libertine in Clayton
  • Miss Hullings in St. Louis
  • Noah’s Ark in St. Charles (at the very least, I attended a Pachyderms meeting there one evening–which is itself an interesting story)
  • Ponticello’s in Spanish Lake
  • The Parkmoor in Clayton
  • Pelican’s in south St. Louis
  • Pope’s Cafeteria, multiple locations
  • Rossino’s in Central West End
  • Romine’s in St. Louis
  • Wainwrights in Belleville

You know, that’s not bad considering that some of them were not open for long, were not open when I was in that young adulthood where I went out to eat a lot, or were open outside the twentyish years I lived in the St. Louis area.

I never did make it to the floating McDonald’s, though; trips to downtown St. Louis were very rare when I was young.

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Somebody Wasn’t Listening

On Facebook, I posted this:

Because back before the turn of the century, the end of the year airwaves really were full of PSAs warning people not to go outside and fire their guns into the air at midnight. In spite of this, we would hear gunfire when we were in town. Okay, we were in town on New Years Eve exactly once when we spent the night at my aunt’s house and my mother and aunt went out and my brother and I stayed in and watched New Year’s Rocking Eve.

However, nobody shared my Facebook post, which resulted in:

4 homicides in first 3 hours of 2020 in St. Louis:

St. Louis police say four people were shot to death in the early hours of the first day of 2020, including three killed at one location.

UPDATE: Since I posted this article, the headline and story have changed to up the score from four to five.

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We Already Know How Gimlet Is Going To Vote

As well as how would if I were to do such thing in the What St. Louis jingle do you LOVE to hate? poll.

As this post from 2008 (!) indicates, I favor (or disfavor) the Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center jingle, while Gimlet might prefer “Feld! The Red Hot Dealer!”

Although you can actually vote for Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, but Feld is only mentioned in the teaser story for the poll and not in the poll itself.

Sorry, Gimlet, you’ll have to choose another, and Johnny Londoff is not available, either.

Although I would not be telling the whole story if I did not admit that I sang, “If you want TDs, say Hundley, and smile,” during the recent period when Green Bay Packers backup quarterback started games during Aaron Rodgers’ recent injury. It’s based on a jingle for Hautly Cheese. No doubt, this selection would be my children’s choice based on my revision.

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Was This In The St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

St. Louis doesn’t need an MLS team to be a ‘major league’ town:

St. Louis is far from perfect, but the issues that might make you wonder about the town have nothing to do with what we cover in the sports pages. The surging crime and infrastructure issues are much greater concerns in the community than our sports franchises.

What? He is right.

What can this world be coming to when sports journalists in the only paper in St. Louis conclude that governments should handle government duties instead of dabbling in being moguls of some sort or another by “investing” tax dollars in private businesses?

Of course, as government officials have learned, repairing bridges and roads come with no luxury boxes, and keeping the streets clean and safe does not allow you to rub elbows with celebrities from time to time. So it must be sexy projects at the expense of actual duties as much as possible.

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A Loss, Finalized

LaVerne Holliday dies; former radio host sold peanuts outside Busch Stadium

I remember listening to her radio program daily when I lived in Casinoport, and when the linked article explains the way she announced herself on the radio, I heard it.

It’s sad to read how she spent her last days. I can’t believe nobody would give her a shot on some other station unless, as the story hints, there was more to her dismissal than cost-cutting.

(You can read more of my raving about WSIE here and here.)

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A Dedicated Revenue Stream Slush Fund

A sales tax initiative is on the ballot in the state of Missouri. Roads and bridges are in disrepair, and the only way to solve this crisis is to levy more taxes upon the citizens.

At this time of great need and penury, it’s good to see the city of St. Louis writing its letters to Santa before the tax passes instead of after:

Bike paths. Street cars. Sidewalks.

That’s the wish list released on Monday by Mayor Francis Slay, meeting a state deadline to submit projects for the proposed sales tax to fund transportation projects.

The city’s list of $268 million in projects is a dramatic shift from most other places in the state; a wish list that focuses on pedestrians and less on building more highways and bridges.

“Only 25 percent of it goes to old fashioned roads and bridges,” said Jeff Rainford, Slay’s chief of staff.

So they’re already bragging that they’re going to spend this DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR SAFETY money on fluff appealing to the small new-urbanist population that makes its downtown lofts home.

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St. Louis Presumes Too Much

The city of St. Louis is about to hand the keys of its kingdom to some out-of-town company promising to make St. Louis just like a Real City by having music festivals, and some writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dares, DARES compare the music festivals to be named later to Summerfest in Milwaukee.

Friends, Summerfest in Milwaukee is the best music festival in the known inhabited planets of the galaxy. It has twelve hours of music daily for ten days in the summer, and it has, what, ten? A dozen? stages with acts running almost constantly from local bands in the early afternoon to regional bands in the early evening to a national act headlining each stage at night. And there’s a major national act at the Marcus Ampitheatre with attendant opening acts every evening.

How dare does a St. Louisian compare anything St. Louis and its out-of-state lackeys can produce to Summerfest?

Brothers and sisters, here is a potential list of national acts likely to play Summerfest this year.

Note that this list comprises the headline acts for the ground stages at the musical festival. Not the major acts booked to the Marcus Ampitheatre.


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Small Book Store Survives

Main Street Books will survive: St. Charles store has buyer:

St. Charles-area book lovers can celebrate: Main Street Books, expected to close this month, has found new owners.

Current owners [Redacted] said today that Emily, [Redacted] will buy the store as of Feb. 14. [Redacted], 24, a graduate of Truman State University who majored in English, will oversee the day-to-day operations of Main Street Books. Her parents live in Weldon Spring and she lives in Bel-Nor.

I’m pleased to see the book store survive because I like independent book stores, and my beautiful wife and I visited this shop on our first date.

I’m a little reserved about it, though, given that it’s being bought to provide a job for a young English major. Hopefully, she’ll handle it.

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Compare and Contrast

The city of St. Louis is looking to unload its veterans’ memorial:

City officials and civic leaders have begun talking with private donors and area museum leaders about taking over the maintenance, financing — and perhaps operations — of the city-owned Soldiers Memorial Military Museum downtown, including its archives of war letters, weapons, uniforms, medals and other artifacts.

The museum’s collection has been neglected for years, leading some city officials to call it embarrassing. The building needs more than $6 million in upgrades and repairs, according to city files. And the city has tried multiple times, always unsuccessfully, to find it another caretaker.

The annual budget is apparently $150,000 including two staffers.

Compare and contrast this, gentle reader, in your mind with the money that the city regularly throws away in tax incentives to land developers, to sports teams for new ballparks, and even to film makers who might spend a day or two in town with rolling cameras not to mention the one-offs for feasibility studies for current fads and harebrained schemes.

Which are cool things. Remembering history and the sacrifices that unimaginable others made and would make for the American way of life? That’s hard, man.

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Involuntary Checkpoints Good, Voluntary Checkpoints Bad

Truly the logic in this story is dizzying: Local officials decry feds ‘voluntary’ sobriety checkpoints

Some St. Louis-area police and elected officials are questioning the effectiveness and propriety of federal roadside impaired driving checkpoints at which motorists were asked to voluntarily submit blood and saliva samples in exchange for cash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it conducted the tests as part of a nationwide survey designed to reduce drunken and drugged driving. The tests were conducted over the weekend in St. Charles County and in September in south St. Louis County.


“I don’t think it’s proper use of law enforcement authority to flag people to the side of road for the voluntary testing of anything,” Fitch said.

He said such stops should be confined to regulated sobriety checkpoints.

Please, understand, it’s okay when the local law enforcement stops everyone in an involuntary checkpoint to write a handful of citations, but it’s bad when a Federally funded research outfit conducts research and gathers DNA.

Citizens, is it matter of degree or a matter of kind?

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You Know Who Lives In Huntleigh?

Huntleigh ranks as richest U.S. community:

According to the “Wall Street Cheat Sheet,” our fair burgh has the fairest of them all when it comes to the richest communities in the U.S., based on the annual income of the top five percent of earners in the community.

Huntleigh, conveniently tucked between poor neighbors Ladue and Frontenac, has a median income of about $2.7 million for those five-percenters.

You know who lives in Huntleigh? John Donnelly, that’s who.

Yeah, I keep flogging that book, but I’m really excited about it. Sometime in the next three or four years, I’ll probably sell my 100th copy of it.

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Larry Conners Sacked

In the service of their convenient Goddess of Journalistic Objectivity, Belo Communications / KMOV sacked anchorman Larry Conners:

In a statement on the station’s website, president and general manager Mark Pimentel said:

“We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter.

“For KMOV, there is no higher cause than unbiased, objective news reporting. It is what our viewers expect and it is what we work very hard to deliver. We can accept no less. Larry is certainly entitled to his opinion, but taking a personal political position on one of the Station’s Facebook pages creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards.

“Larry’s departure has nothing to do with the particular position he took, but it does have to do with our belief that his actions made it impossible for him to report for KMOV on certain political matters going forward without at least an appearance of bias. Bringing you accurate and unbiased reporting is the reason we exist.”

Which is, of course, nonsense.

I wondered:

Larry Conners has been on the air in St. Louis for a long time. Undoubtedly his salary is pretty good (from his perspective). Is it bad from KMOV’s persepective? Is Belo / KMOV looking to dump an anchor fondly enjoyed in the St. Louis area because he’s old and expensive, and they have seized upon this as a reason to do it, to make it Conners’ fault, and to seek the approval of the hipster/Washington Avenue loft demographic?

Further down in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, past the fatuous journofan service, we get the real meat of the nut:

Professionally, Conners has been taking hits at KMOV, which replaced him in late April with former sportscaster Steve Savard (alongside Sharon Reed) on the marquee 10 p.m. newscast.

For several months, Savard had filled that slot while Conners recovered from shoulder surgery. Ratings for the Savard newscasts were better than with Conners, sources said, leading station officials to make the switch permanent when Conners returned to work.

Savard also has been anchoring, again with Reed, the 6 p.m. newscast since Conners went off the air because of this recent flap. Generally, stations have their top anchor team host both the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.

His Facebook posting provided a convenient excuse and time to sack him. So the corporate powers-that-be did that, and made a Show of Their Integrity in doing it.

Now, back to their regular slant, no doubt, which is licking the hand of government that feeds them access.

Man, powerful people are sure getting comfortable in telling transparent falsehoods, are they not?

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In My Day, Sonny, It Was After A Trial

St. Louis man convicted after firefight with police

In my day, people who were engaged in writerly arts, especially professionals in the field, had some expertise with these crazy preposition things and tried to use the right ones to accurately convey whatever knowledge or propaganda they were trying to pass on to the reader.

I see from reading the story that the fellow was convicted of charges stemming from the firefight, so I guess he could be convicted for the firefight, but he’s convicted after the firefight just in the same way that he was named after me.

I also see this firefight occurred because

[He] had a history of misdemeanor convictions related to marijuana possession when a SWAT team went to his Shreve Avenue apartment on March 5, 2012, to execute a search warrant on a tip that he was dealing it.

Lovely. A SWAT team going for a small-time drug dealer. The gunfire at the SWAT team justifies the SWAT team going after small-time drug dealers.

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If You Have To Pay Businesses To Open Shop In Your Town, You’re Doing It Wrong

Downtown St. Louis has some new jobs promised:

Hudson’s Bay Co., one of Canada’s biggest retailers, said today it is about to present its expanded information technology services operation in downtown St. Louis.

Apparently, the company is moving the jobs because of costs in doing business in Toronto. Also:

Officials have said that getting public incentives from St. Louis and the state of Missouri are key to the job additions.

St. Louis government officials will be on hand to celebrate and to pour the gravy. The center promises 130 jobs in exchange for the public monies. Note that these are promised jobs over the course of some years for monies probably starting now. Also, in what might be a stunning turn of events, over the course of the next few years, there might be a number of Canadian technology professionals relocating to the St. Louis area as their jobs move from Toronto.

If you’ve got to pay businesses to come to your city, you’re doing something very, very wrong. And the city of St. Louis continues to do it very, very wrong very, very eagerly. Because government officials don’t get to go to photo-friendly events when people just open businesses because it’s a good place to do business, with good infrastructure, good schools, and good public services such as police protection.

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Brian J. Is In Streaming Media Heaven

Back when I lived in Casinoport, lo, those six years ago, I put my radio on a bookshelf, extended the antenna and adjusted it just so, and could receive the local Jazz station, WSIE, in my office.

I listened to it while I sorted garage and estate sale finds, posted Ebay listings, and packaged sold items for shipping in that phase of my life. I listened to it while writing my novel John Donnelly’s Gold. I listened to it while I worked in my first months as quality assurance for the interactive agency, working remotely.

Once I got to working in an office downtown, I didn’t have over the air radio, and WSIE didn’t have a live stream at the time. So I ended up listening to KCSM out of San Francisco. That’s been weird, listening to the time two hours behind where it is here. To be honest, I thought the musical selection was okay, but they played a number of programs I didn’t like that much, and the on-air personalities where more excited than mellow, which is what I prefer on a jazz station.

But the stream has been wonky lately, dropping and not coming back unless I switch computers to the Macintosh to restart the stream, and so I looked for WSIE, and it’s finally gotten a live stream.

I like the musical selection better, but I do find it a little strange to listen to a St. Louis area station with its traffic reports talking about places I know, where I find myself mapping alternative routes to get around trouble.

Unfortunately, the station turned out all of its old on-air personalities. No more E.B. Stevenson. No more Ross Gentile (but what would he have had to talk about with the closure of Webster Records?). No more Adam Tracy (who really wasn’t the same after Buddy Moreno left the program). I suppose the decline started when they replaced LaVerne Holliday with canned jazz in the mornings.

So it’s not without mixed emotions that I return home to WSIE. I’m pleased with the quality of the stream and with the musical selection. I am saddened and miss the old guys. I’m nostalgic, warmly, for the era in which I listened to it daily. And I’m hopeful I’ll learn to like the new guys.

Now I just have to invent reasons to sit at my desk and listen.

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St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Message: DON’T HIRE CONVICTS!

The St. Louis County Prosecutor has a message: Don’t hire convicts:

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch on Thursday denounced the county Economic Council’s recent hiring of a convicted felon, and called for the employee’s dismissal.

Last week, the council hired Dean Burns, 60, to serve as its vice president of real estate and community development, with an annual salary of $127,816.

Burns was working in the very same job in 1999 when he acceded to then-County Executive George R. “Buzz” Westfall’s demand that he quit after Burns pleaded guilty of diverting federal funds.

Burns admitted illegally transferring $30,000 in Housing and Urban Development rent deposits to his private company in 1994, about two years before he joined the Economic Council.

Actually, McCulloch has it in for this particular hire, and it’s all about appearances:

McCulloch said Burns’ hiring was akin to the county Health Department hiring a former drug addict to purchase pharmaceuticals.

“Hiring a felon is one thing, but you have to have some common sense about it,” he said. “I don’t know what the people who hired him were thinking, but I have to question their judgment. This makes the county look bad, and county government ought to correct it as soon as possible.”

Leaving aside the question of exactly how much Percocet the county is buying, McCulloch fails to understand the way his argument can look against hiring any felon for any job.

When you’re hiring for a job, you’ve got a lot of legal risks and liability not only for your organization and company, but for you personally within the company. If you’ve got someone with the right skills but a little box is checked on the application with the little handwritten explanation with it, your organization will probably hold you responsible if you bring a former drug addict in to work anywhere dealing with money. Or a former burglar dealing with small electronic devices. Or someone guilty of a sexual assault who deals with the members of any gender, frankly. Not only might the organization be responsible for any recidivism, but the person behind the hire internally will be on the hook for any infraction, whether just by taking a reputational hit or by actually being let go.

The man McCulloch talks about has experience in the position and has a combination of real estate development and sucking up to government skills acquired in the private sector for the position. He was convicted of the crime almost 20 years ago. Perhaps his one night in prison convinced him to be a good boy for the rest of his life.

As some of you know, there are two tracks one takes when arguing for prison and legal justice: one, you can rehabilitate the offender, and two, you can punish the offender. McCulloch seems to indicate his belief that offenders cannot be rehabilitated, they can only be punished. Forever, if possible.

McCulloch does say one thing that’s almost Tea Partier, though, when he says:

He said, “If Burns really is the most qualified guy in the country, I’d say we probably don’t need this position.”

A St. Louis County Economic Council who dishes out hundreds of thousands or millions in salaries every year and is part of the county government? Does St. Louis County really need that? Not the St. Louis County Government, mind you; it needs as much as it gets to continue its existence as a growing organism. But the County itself. By what right is this a function of government?

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Charlie Dooley Thinks Those Who Disagree With Him Are Insane

A sidebar in the May 2012 St. Louis magazine profile of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley includes a little snapshot that identifies a certain mindset amongst government officials and citizens who continually want to cede more power to the government and its officials: namely, that disagreement with policy is a sign of insanity.

Here’s what Dooley says regarding the relatively recent decision to have the government decide who hauls away the trash for people in unincorporated St. Louis County:

At the end of the day, it was the best thing that could happen to St. Louis County. Great prices, we got recycling… It was said, ‘You took away my choice.’ When somebody comes to the County Council and says, ‘I moved to unincorporated St. Louis County and built my own home because I wanted to pick my own trash collector’—why would you say that? Do you think anybody in their right mind would believe that?

The mindset he finds abnormal is the mindset that governments, even local governments, have proper limitations. That perhaps local governments can identify hazardous conditions and make them illegal, but that governments should not mandate solutions, particularly specific commercial solutions and vendors, to provide the solution to citizens under the penalty of law.

In the case of the trash collection issue, the government should have the power to come together and say, “Hey, no piles of rotting filth on your land.” And then leave the citizen to take care of making sure his behavior does not lead to violation. There are alternate solutions to the city selecting a vendor to provide a service the city mandates: The citizen can decide not to consume things that produce garbage, the citizen can haul the garbage to a collection point when the citizen gets enough, the citizen can hire someone to take it away, the citizen can pool his resources with neighbors to voluntarily hire someone to haul their garbage away, and such.

True story: In an affected part of unincorporated St. Louis County, namely Lemay, I know of some elderly women who lived near each other that together every week produced only a couple of bags of trash total. They got together and hired a waste hauler, and they all threw their bags in that garbage can. With the new mandate, every address needed to have a waste hauler, which burdened a number of the older people on fixed incomes with additional monthly expenses so the county’s preferred vendor could dump one bag per trash can.

Asking for a defining principle that identifies the limitations of government: Insanity! The government has chosen a trash hauler for you. The government selected, some long time ago, a cable television company for you (except in certain areas). What service can’t the government decide you need to purchase and from whom you purchase it? (Certainly not health insurance any more.)

A wireless provider? Why not? Think of how much more beautiful the county’s skyline would be if only one carrier had to build all those transmission towers. That will never happen! you might say, but why not? Because wireless data and phone is somehow different from garbage hauling or cable television? How? Please, if you have a good distinction, put it in the comments below. I’ll grant you that it requires less costly infrastructure than digging up the streets to drag a cable, but trash hauling does not require physical infrastructure. (Roads, they might say. Roads, though, are public infrastructure not for use by one user. I’ll play the devil’s counselor and say that the skyline is a public resource, too, littered up so everyone suffers. That’s just the sort of argument that some people make for fewer streetlights and other things.)

You’re right, though. The governments won’t single out a wireless company to protect the skyline because some municipalities tax those towers, and they wouldn’t allow the county to take tax money out of their pockets.

But I digress.

Any time you give the ability for the government the opportunity to award large contracts to individual companies, you increase the chances of corruption. Take, for example, Chicago:

A major federal investigation of corruption in Chicago`s government has turned up allegations of everything from payoffs by the nation`s biggest trash hauler to some old-fashioned shakedowns by a freshman alderman.

Aside from the actual potential corruption, compulsory use of a preferred government vendor leads to the whiff of impropriety that political opponents can carp about. Say that the vice president of the chosen waste hauler, a lifelong Democrat who thinks Charlie Dooley is doing an excellent job keeping the county’s fiscal house in order in turbulent economic times, gives Charlie Dooley some money for re-election. Suddenly, the punditry is all awash in the possibility of quid-pro-quo going on, and nobody bothers to explain why, as a principle, compelling people to use a garbageman under the penalty of fine, imprisonment, or death is wrong. Instead, we get celebrityesque dirty laundry.

Now, you have to take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt, because I’m a Dooley-diagnosed schizophrenic who moved from a heavily regulated municipality in St. Louis County to unincorporated Greene County. Did I move solely because I can let my grass grow to over 12″ high or some days, Heaven forfend!, mow my lawn and not run the weed trimmer around the fence posts until the next day? Did I move just so that I could choose my own waste hauler, settling upon the waste hauler whom my neighbors all use without careful analysis of the costs and the benefits and the alternative plans offered by other, smaller haulers? I moved for a variety of reasons, but the fact that I was moving from an area of higher regulation to lower regulation did have some consideration. I chose, after all, an unincorporated area rather than a city (which is what we call municipalities down here, at least until they grow together and small patches of subdivisions band together defensively to avoid annexation) because I did want more liberty.

But any of these arguments or argument stumps are mere examples of my being not in my right mind, according to Mr. Dooley and to others who have the right mind and, with the right will, will impose that right mind upon everyone.

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Some City of St. Louis Smokers Are More Equal Than Others

When can you smoke in a public place in the city of St. Louis? When you’re a politician, attorney, or judge going to an invitation-only public venue, of course!

The 109-year-old downtown Missouri Athletic Club may wriggle free from the city’s smoking ban.

City officials have prepared an agreement which exempts the private, invitation-only establishment — long frequented by judges, attorneys and politicians — from the municipal no-smoking ordinance.

The club, known as the MAC, has flouted the law since it was enacted Jan. 1, 2011, openly leaving ashtrays in the lounge, hosting hazy boxing matches and allowing men in suits to gather weekly at the bar with tumblers in one hand, cigars in the other.

The city cited and fined the club twice. The citations ended up in municipal court, where attorneys began working out a deal.

On Thursday, city Health Director Pam Walker presented a draft agreement to her advisory commission, the Joint Boards of Health and Hospitals, arguing that the nonprofit MAC is a unique entity, governed neither by rules for private clubs nor by those for businesses.

Remember, public smoking bans are all about protecting the poor little children who are the employees from the health impact of working in a smoky environment, since those “adults” can’t rationally decide the personal risk versus the paycheck reward.

So the employees get to inhale the politicos smoke where the politicos can smoke, but:

If approved, the agreement would bar smoking in the employees’ lounge, but allow club members to continue to smoke in four locations: The Art Lounge, in the first floor lobby; The Jack Buck Grille, inside the club’s first-floor restaurant, after 2 p.m.; the private dining rooms next to the Sportsman’s Club, after 2 p.m.; and in the Missouri Room, three times a year for special events.

The employees can only have secondhand smoke on the job.

So, to recap:

  • The city of St. Louis has a smoking ban.
  • City “leaders” have flouted the ban, so now…
  • city leaders are exempting themselves from the ban.

But you, citizen, must obey the law, or the city leaders and their delegates will punish you.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Professor R.. Gentle reader, if you work in software development, you might like my blog QA Hates You. And don’t forget my IT heist novel John Donnelly’s Gold is available for the Kindle for 99 cents and also in paperback.

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I’ve Stood On That Corner Many Times

Arizona man charged in hit-and-run crash in Webster Groves:

Kathleen Kinderfather of Webster Groves was struck about 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Big Bend Boulevard and Elm Street by a 2011 Nissan Altima, police say.

Lt. Andy Miller of the Webster Groves Police Department said Kinderfather was standing on a triangular traffic island in the eastbound lanes of Big Bend when she was hit.

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That’s over by the grocery store where I’d sometimes pick up a pastry during a morning walk. I’d reach that particular traffic island if I walked through downtown Old Trees and followed Rock Hill Road all the way down to Big Bend, or perhaps down to Jackson and then over to Alma, although that route was rarer for me.

It’s strange, because I’d flagged that intersection as more dangerous on the east side of Elm if you’re trying to cross Big Bend heading south. Elm is two lanes northbound until Big Bend, when the rightmost lane is a turn only lane onto Big Bend. Drivers making that turn are generally too busy looking at traffic, blindly following the truck ahead of them, or trying to sneak through after the right turn arrow goes from yellow to off to notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk there. I’ve been narrowly missed a number of times over there.

I hope the old lady pulls out all right.

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