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Wednesday
Aug262009

City Council Meeting - 08/17/09

Last week I asked you to give some thought to the issue of 4am liquor licenses.  Your responses to my question were much appreciated and taken into consideration. (read the discussion here)  As promised, I'm writing again to discuss the issue further. 

The Legal and Licensing committee considered a proposal to eliminate the possibility for future 4am bars.  That proposal failed in committee and was reported out to the full Council for discussion.  The motion on the floor was to eliminate all 4am liquor licenses (it is important to distinguish between the committee's failed proposal and the motion made on the floor)  Our future casino was discussed, with opponents of the 4am ban citing the possibility of lost revenue as a reason for their opposition.  I attempted to articulate an option where the casino and the surrounding area might have a unique liquor license where a 4am close time would be more appropriate.  In my opinion, this region of town will be off the beaten path, separate from places where non-drinkers or non-gamblers might choose to enjoy, and under the careful watch of private security and the Des Plaines Police.  As it became clear that the Council was not ready to distinguish the future casino area from the rest of the City, the question turned to the motion at hand: Do we eliminate all 4am licenses or do we maintain the status quo?

The owner and operator of the Rand Road House (a 4am establishment) gave a compelling presentation that caused me to reconsider the issue.  He discussed his midnight-4am crowd, the current economic climate, and his commendable stewardship of his clientele.  Standing right next to the Police Chief (who agreed with each thoughtful statement made by the bar owner), the gentlemen discussed his policy on drunk driving and the retainer he keeps with a local taxi company that he uses to send people home.  Will I support a future 4am liquor license? Likely not. But I was not about to take this local business man's livelihood away. I posit that we wouldn't be having such a heated discussion on the issue of 4am bars if all establishments had a track record like his.  

I'll have more on the topic when we discuss the casino corridor in the weeks and months to come. 

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