Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Liquor Permit Renewal Hearings
Liquor permit renewal challenges started April 6. Next meeting is April 20 in the evening. About a dozen bars were affected in Northside, Evanston, the West End, Roselawn, Price Hill..... These hearings are interesting. They become a he said/she said sort of affair where, frequently, the police don't exactly come off as the good guys, not to mention organized or even credible. In the above selection of a few of the hearings an officer, presumably an "expert witness", responds to councilwoman Qualls in regards to a question asked by councilwoman Quinlivan. One thing councilwoman Cole introduced was the police documenting what activity happened where in relation to the establishment in question. The police instituted such a procedure & managed to make it confusing. Anyway, any incident near a bar is counted against it. Police routinely tell bar owners/workers to call the police for anything. This tactic was used famously to cream The Phoenix Cafe downtown. Bar owners frequently cite nearby businesses & organizations for the problems & frequently cite the neighborhoods as being a problem leaving their establishment as small oasis of heaven. In the case of Club Ritz, the owner blamed everybody that used the nearby highway exit. One bar owner's lawyer cited the un-court like method of the hearings (which really just result in recommendations to the state) in not providing evidence prior to the hearings. She claimed her client had been fined $500 when a fella ran into the bar & dropped a bag of dope on the floor. The police came in in hot pursuit. This scenario was brought up a couple times, in one instance, the fella ran in & locked the door. That owner reported he had faced retaliation for trying to comply with police recommendations. his car windows had been busted out. Bar owners are told to hire security if there are a lot of crimes in the area. One police officer pointed out bars will hire county deputies but the police have no idea how many arrests the deputies make because the sheriff's department is uncooperative in such issues. Wasn't inter-agency communication supposed to be a big priority after 9/11/01 ? In these hearings, bar owners brought some of their employees, one guy brought a neighborhood minister. In the past, it has not been uncommon for bar owners to bring their patrons. Probably not the best idea for some folks. It's amazing some of the bar owners can stay in business. I certainly wouldn't hire a majority of them. It's amazing how unprepared & unorganized the police frequently are. It is, without a doubt, some the best TV going. My favorite part of this go 'round? Ms Decatur suggesting she may have influenced the age of the clientele. :-) Pre hearing Fishwrap story here Post hearing Fishwrap story here.