It’s a common tactic. We see President Obama and Senator McCaskill use it frequently.  When not wanting to talk about the issues, they attempt to distract from the real issue by taking a little truth and applying a lot of false information to it.  That’s the case with some on the St Charles County Council and supporters of the Council’s proposed smoking ban.

The St Charles County Council introduced a proposed ordinance placing a total smoking ban on businesses in St Charles County with some exemptions.  Actually the bill was sponsored by Councilman Joe Cronin who has failed twice in the past to get enough support to place his anti-property rights bill on the ballot.  Hopefully County Executive Steve Ehlmann will maintain the position he had when he vetoed the first bill the Council passed on which the current proposal is based! Cronin’s proposal contains the same problems as the County Executive noted before.

A committee for which I am the treasurer, Committee for Economic Liberty (CFEL), undertook a petition drive to place a compromise charter amendment on the ballot.  CFEL collected 22,850 signatures which are being verified by the County Election Authority. The County Counselor’s office has issued an opinion that the petition turned in is legally insufficient.  CFEL disputes that opinion and will take whatever action is necessary to see that the 22, 850 citizens of St Charles County who signed the petition voices are heard.

Councilman Cronin and others are quick to point out that Ameristar Casino donated $100,000 to CFEL.  They falsely claim that the amendment was written by the Casino and that I was hired to make it all happen.  Sounds good doesn’t it?

Unfortunately Councilman Cronin and others are as factual as Claire McCaskill was when she claimed a commercial that was run agaisnt her was full of paid actors when in fact, they were all her constituents!  She was wrong and had to apologize.  Councilman Cronin and others are also wrong but I don’t expect nor want an apology.

The only truth in Councilman Cronin’s accusation is that Ameristar did donate $100,000 to CFEL. That’s where the truth stops in Councilman Cronin’s accusations.

The contributions were reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC ID: C121327) as required by law and expenses have been reported also. The Post-Dispatch, Suburban Journals and the Patch have all reported the contributions.  No secrets being kept.

All expenses that have been made to date were for legal review of incorporation of the committee, filing of ethics documents and signature collection.  None of these expenses have financially benefited me directly or indirectly.

The proposed charter amendment that 22,850 St Charles residents signed was not written by the Casino.  They did participate in its development as did owners of local bars, bowling alleys, veterans groups and tobacco shops.

Council Chair Nancy Matheny exposed the ridiculous nature of Councilman Cronin’s accusation when she pointed out that the Casino would be exempted under both the CFEL proposal and Cronin’s.  Using Councilman Cronin’s logic, it would be just as appropriate to claim that the Casino wrote his bill also.  However, that would be just as false as his accusation that they wrote the CFEL version.

Councilman Cronin and Councilman Joe Brazil both made statements to the effect that I was “hired” to do this effort by the Casino.  I know most of us are getting tired of elected officials telling us what they think is correct rather than getting the facts first. Sadly, it just comes with the territory.

The fact is I am not hired to do this effort.  I nor my organization is paid by Ameristar nor the Committee for Economic Liberty to do this effort.  Our mission is to support limited government actions and oppose big government proposals like Councilman Cronin’s.

Just as we see the President trying to deflect the discussion from the economy and other important matters the same is true of Councilman Cronin and others.  Rather than discuss the real issues, they attempt to distract with half-truths and innuendo.

The citizens of St Charles County deserve an honest discussion not a diversion.