Council rejects student voting rep on ALRC

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The Common Council Organizational Committee approved adding two new voting members to the Alcohol License Review Committee, one alder and one citizen. In the process it rejected an amendment by Ald. Bryon Eagon which would have replaced the citizen appointee with a student representative. Currently there is a non-voting member of the ALRC, Mark Woulf, who you may remember as Eagon’s vanquished opponent in last spring’s 8th district aldermanic election.

The debate was long and confusing. The Council president, Tim Brueur, had to ask the members to re-vote on the various issues several times because some of them did not quite understand what they were voting on at times.

In summary Eagon won the support of Alds. Marsha Rummel and Shiva Bidar-Sielaff. That’s all I can say for certain. It was hard to understand who was voting against, although I do know that Alds. Michael Schumacher and Judy Compton, who asked that the issue be referred to the mayor, voted against.  Later Eagon explained that he was happy to see members support the “concept” even if they aren’t ready to commit to adding a student vote right now.

Among concerns raised were the age of the student rep who would be voting on alcohol issues. Would he or she be expected to be of legal drinking age? While Compton said that should be the case, and Eagon said he would expect the person to be 21, Bidar-Sielaff voiced skepticism of the legality of such a restriction to public office. After all, an 18 year old can serve on the council, how can there be more stringent restrictions on one committee?

Bidar-Sielaff also emphasized the potential of having an underage student representative, who could be a voice for the thousands of 18-20 year olds who often feel left out of the entertainment planning in the city. I expect she was implying that having an underage rep could be useful in pushing for liquor licensed establishments that also allow underagers in for non-alcoholic entertainment.

It was disappointing to see no presence from the Herald or Cardinal at the meeting. This would make a great story for the start of the school year. Whether or not people find Eagon’s request legitimate, this could have been a very important moment for students to increase their clout on city alcohol policy.

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