[Re: "The New Prohibition," October 2]
Since bars and other liquor licensees make up a substantial amount of your advertising, I gather you cannot be fair to the problems caused by your advertisers, since they are your primary monetary bases.
Although you mention good licensees helping with bad licensees, you never explain why liquor licensees maintain the gang mentality to never work against one another. It's an interesting phenomenon and can result in working against them, if the precinct is voted dry.
If Mr. Novich has a problem with the way the system works, I heartily encourage him to move his establishments to the block where he resides. He could have complete control over his patrons and not disturb other neighborhoods. Likewise I encourage all licensees to move their bars to Long Grove or wherever they reside so they can understand the problems and hear directly from their own neighbors the misery their career choice brings to a neighborhood.
From a resident's standpoint, attending a meeting at Winston Mardis's office is a rather unsatisfying experience, although I am gratified to know that some owners feel remorse about the time spent there. Director Mardis works within laws (both city ordinances and state laws) that protect the licensee and unfortunately do not help citizens. The liquor industry is very well funded and obviously has a strong lobby in Springfield. For example, after six meetings with a group of problem bars (including one that Barfly called "the most dangerous bar in the city") we accomplished zip. Several months after our meetings, there was a machete murder outside one of these licensees and the owners were not held responsible because they were astute enough to get the warriors out of the bar before the actual stabbing. Never mind that it is rather unusual to walk the streets brandishing a machete.
Another fact not discussed is that once a licensee is caught operating outside the law, they can remain open until they are found guilty. So no matter that they have live music without a PPA license or they have been caught selling to minors multiple times, they can continue to operate their business from Schaumburg, as their attorneys continue the case ad infinitum, wasting the corporation council's time and the city's money.
Shame on you, Chicago Reader--you're losing your edge when you're kowtowing to money sources like the politicians you so quickly malign.