Posts Tagged ‘ALRC’

Nobody applying for ALRC position

November 20, 2009

It’s almost poetic. Weeks after the student community student newspapers made so much noise about getting a student voting member on the ALRC, only one person has applied for the new position, according to sources in city government.

That one person is Mark Woulf.

Bryon Eagon says potential applicants should get their applications in by the end of next week. Those interested need to fill out this application, which can also be found on the city’s website.

 

MPD releases position on ALRC vote

November 3, 2009

As the “recommendation” that the mayor appoint a student member to the ALRC goes before a Council vote tonight, here is in an email sent to the mayor and the city council, Madison Police Department Chief Noble Wray weighed in on the prospect of adding a student voting member to the ALRC:

“After discussion with Madison Police Department staff to include, but not limited to, Capt. Gloede (ALRC) and Capt. Schauf (Central District), we have concluded that the proposed amendment to Ordinance No. 33.02, which allows for a student voting representative on the ALRC, will not have a direct or indirect impact on public safety. Therefore, the Department’s official position on the proposed ordinance is neutral.”

While I’m sure the MPD regularly submits position statements on issues relevant to their work, I wonder if this statement was requested by council members or the mayor, some of whom wanted to make sure they were doing what was in the interests of public safety – at least according to the police department’s interpretation of it.

It’s hard to see how the police department would have any insight into how a student member would affect bar licenses, unless they assume that the student will vote a certain way, which will lead to more bars etc.

MAYOR TO APPOINT STUDENT VOTE TO ALRC

November 2, 2009

UPDATE: Eagon negotiates compromise with mayor. Eagon’s ordinance will no longer require that the citizen appointee be a student. It will add an alder and a citizen to the ALRC with a recommendation to the mayor that the citizen be a student. The mayor plans to appoint a student rep for a three year period. Eagon’s proposal will also keep the non-voting student member to the ALRC, meaning that students will have one voting member and one non-voting member at the table.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz met with Ald. Bryon Eagon and promised to add a student member to the Alcohol License Review Committee regardless of whether Eagon’s proposal to require a student voting member on the committee passes the Council tomorrow.

The ALRC, which is likely to add another alder and another “citizen appointee,” will be voting on whether the citizen appointee must be a student tomorrow. However, Cieslewicz, has stated that he plans to appoint a student whether he is required to or not.

Bryon Eagon told The Sconz that the move was not ideal, but still a victory for students.

Coalition of students strategize to win ALRC vote

October 29, 2009

On Sunday a group of students, including members of the Badger Herald and Daily Cardinal editorial boards, met to discuss strategy to mobilize support for Ald. Bryon Eagon’s proposal to add a student voting member to the ALRC, as well as to win the Council vote on the measure next Tuesday.

Eagon and current ALRC non-voting rep Mark Woulf were at the meeting and gave the other group members advice on how to best influence Council members on the vote. Herald and Cardinal editors came up with a list of important student organizations to be contacted, including WISPIRG, the College Democrats and even Hoofers, an outdoor sports organization.

I was there primarily to observe the meeting, although I do support the proposal – though with not as much vigor, perhaps.

The papers decided to continue pushing the issue, evidenced by the editorials on Monday, with the hopes of motivating students to email or call their alders, but more importantly, to show up for the vote and make an impression on Council members.

Here is a very rough list of predictions on how members of the Council will vote. The projections were made for a variety of reasons, including support or opposition to the proposal in the past, general political philosophy or connections with other members on the Council (e.g. gets along well with Eagon).

In favor: Bidar-Sielaff, Verveer, Eagon, Rummel, King, Soloman, Clear, Maniaci, Rhodes-Conway

Against: Schumacher, Compton, Clausius, Skidmore, Thuy

?: Palm, Cnare, Schmidt, Sanborn, Bruer, Kerr

The Nitty Gritty boycott

October 23, 2009

I’ll start off by stating an obvious point, which my cherished commenter Paul Axel has advanced on this site on several occasions. The Nitty Gritty was well-deserving of a student boycott long before its owner “disrespected” students. It’s a terrible bar and it’s frankly an embarrassment that so many of-age students crowd into the establishment during “Power Hour” to guzzle down watered-down cocktails and be pushed up against walls vibrating to the sound of Miley Cyrus because the bouncers apparently do not respect the fire code (by the way, Shapiro earlier had the ALRC capacity of the place upped).

Like I said earlier, whether or not I support the Herald and Cardinal’s positions, I am happy to see the campus papers discover their student attitude. And as a history student, I appreciated the Declaration of Independenesque bullshit the Herald put in its version. The Herald – especially the Herald – tends to waffle and triangulate on student issues, and many of the ed board members fear nothing more than being considered liberal.

Because I think having a student vote on the ALRC is a good idea, I see no reason to oppose the boycott of the Nitty. Although the idea of a boycott feels mean-spirited to many-a-gut, it is an effective way of demonstrating a position. The target does not have to be evil or doing evil things. Shapiro did something we don’t like and we’re simply trying to get him to change his position.

Nevertheless, having a student vote on the committee is by no means intuitive. The idea of having constituencies have votes can be questioned. It makes sense to have expert witnesses and have community input on all legislation, but there is not necessarily a reason that any special interest or constituency should have a permanent place at the table – let a lone a vote. However, that’s the system we have. So we might as well get one of our own that same privileges that other groups have.

The Pub to be sold

October 19, 2009

According to Ald. Mike Verveer, who sits on the Alcohol License Review Committee, The Pub is in the process of being sold. The transfer of its liquor license from the family that has owned the establishment for decades, the Schweglers, to an unnamed new owner, is scheduled to come before the ALRC in November.

Hence, the renovations and the low-price promotions the current owners oversaw in August were all part of a plan to demonstrate the bar’s continued potential to possible buyers.

ALRC student vote passes committee

October 6, 2009

Ald. Bryon Eagon’s proposal to add a student voting member to the Alcohol License Review Committee was approved by the Common Council Organizational Committee and now awaits approval by the full Council.

After making a series of language changes, Eagon succeeded at winning the votes of Council President Tim Bruer and Ald. Mark Clear, both of whom voted against the original proposal on September 1. Along with the votes of Eagon and Alds. Marsha Rummel and Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, the measure passed 5-2, with Alds. Michael Schumacher and Judy Compton voting against.

Compton disapproved of adding a member to the ALRC who may not be old enough to legally drink. However, both Eagon and Bidar-Sielaff see potential in the possible addition of an underage member. Both believe the underage student population is under-represented in the city’s entertainment and social options. For instance, Eagon openly voiced disappointment last month when developer Scott Acker ditched plans to create a restaurant/bar at University Sq. after dealing with a skeptical ALRC. Supporters of the project saw the bar as a venue where 21+ students and their underage friends could socialize.

For more on the language, go to Bryon Eagon’s blog.

Another go at student ALRC vote

October 5, 2009

It appears Bryon Eagon will be presenting his proposal to add a student voting member to the Alcohol License Review Committee at tomorrow’s meeting of the Common Council Organizational Committee.

Although the proposal was defeated by one vote about a month ago, Eagon hopes that some of the edits he put into the measure, such as allowing students from MATC and Edgewood to qualify for the position, will win him additional support on the committee. If the committee rejects the ordinance yet again, Eagon may then take it to the full Council for an up or down vote.

Herald supports student ALRC member

September 9, 2009

The Badger Herald Editorial Board argued in favor of adding a student rep to the Alcohol License Review Committee. The most important aspect of the editorial.

Before Mr. Eagon’s proposal can be realized, however, there are several details that must be worked out. First, there was substantial debate regarding whether the representative had to be 21. As with any other city committee, any adult should be allowed to serve. Regardless of how much some may wish to pretend otherwise, most college-aged students are aware of and can offer meaningful input on alcohol issues, whether or not they are 21.

This is perhaps the only aspect of the editorial that took any guts to write. The rest was very intuitive for a student newspaper, although the Herald often fails to achieve even that in some instances (the drinking age, tuition). The point could have been supplemented with the logic used by Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, who argued that not only was an underage student possible, but he/she might be preferable considering the unacceptable lack of activities for underagers in the downtown area.

Also guys, if you insist on the courtesy titles, please, be consistent. You switch from Mr. Eagon to Ald. Eagon in one article. Tst, tst, tst.

University Square bar dies in ALRC

September 4, 2009

There is a grocery store coming to University Square.

But not a bar. Or a restaurant. What to call it was exactly the source of the controversy that ended developer Scott Acker’s hopes of a gigantic Badger-themed eatery/watering hole next door to Lucky apartments. Cardinal writer Todd Stevens seems to suggest that the Alcohol License Review Committee rejected the plan because it didn’t believe the bar would be able to provide a non-alcoholic environment for underage customers as well as be a bar.

That may be partially true, but that’s not the story city officials I’ve talked to have been pushing. Ald. Michael Schumacher, an ALRC member who voted against giving Acker a second chance to present a restaurant plan, was very straight forward in explaining his opposition: the project violated the downtown alcohol density plan. He didn’t believe it would be a restaurant and he was convinced that the place would ultimately derive most of its profits from alcohol sales. This matters to Schumacher not only because his German heritage instilled an obligation to follow the law (his words), but because if the place becomes a bar late at night it means hundreds of drunks leaving at 2 AM, which inevitably causes problems for cops trying to keep an eye on bar-time exodus.

Ald. Bridget Maniaci voiced the same concern – does the city want to deal with a bar with a capacity of 900?

So what is the real tragedy of the death of the new bar? Is it the lost investment or the lost opportunities for fun? Proponents of the bar say both. Ald. Bryon Eagon was openly disappointed with the dismissal of the plan by some of his colleagues, and sent me the following:

This was surely and opportunity lost and has brought up the need for discussions about downtown business investments and general alcohol policy, specifically about changes to the density plan so we don’t scare off potential good investments. Speaking of scaring off applicants, I was also disappointed that there were some votes against referring the application, which not only seems to be unprecedented, but sends the wrong message to this and also future applicants and investors.

Ouch. A good, above-the-belt knock at Schumacher. Stevens uses the same arguments – stupid Madison is being anti-business. Granted, his assertion that we have an anti-business reputation isn’t so true – Madison was recently rated one of the best places to find a job. Of course that’s largely due to the public sector…but I digress.

However, business be damned, the sad end to this story is that yet another door to underage entertainment is closed and many of the anti-bar crew aren’t proposing alternatives. Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff seems to be an exception. A supporter of the density plan which restricts the number of bars downtown, Bidar-Sielaff nevertheless is a vocal proponent of expanding social opportunities for 18-20 year old students. When I asked her if the city lacked entertainment for underagers she was blunt: YES! “We need more live music, more movie theaters, more places to dance.” She spoke eloquently about the issue when voting in favor of adding a student voting member to the ALRC the other day (proposed by Eagon). Why not have an underage member of the ALRC, who could push for establishments that have liquor licenses as well as non-alcoholic options?

If Madison city officials make it known that they welcome such places, prospective developers would be eager to put forth plans that integrate drinking and non-drinking better. There are way too many concerts, for instance, that you have to be 21 to get into. It’s unacceptable.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.