I am writing this letter with a concern after attending the City Council meeting of October 2, 2017. At this meeting the mayor orally put on file an Ordinance changing the liquor code. (It was not on the agenda prior.) He did state that the proposed ordinance was to allow liquor to be sold at our local theater. This change will be voted on at the Council’s October 16 meeting.
I have appreciated the fact that I could take my grandchildren to the Clintonia Eagle and not worry about liquor consumption and the obnoxious behavior and language that sometimes accompanies this allowance.
The proposed ordinance allows for alcoholic sales during the same hours as our other venues in Clinton that sell alcohol. As a result, there is no restriction for the theaters that show children and youth rated movies, nor the free movies that are shown during the summer. With no restrictions, the guardians who bring the children to the free movies would be allowed to purchase alcohol.
For underage youth with older friends, when the lights are dimmed, who will monitor the theaters to make sure that those to whom the liquor was sold are the only ones consuming it?
In case you are not aware, several months ago, the council amended the liquor code and the video gaming code with no open discussion and mention of what was being changed.
The original restriction of one bar license in Clinton to restrict the amount of video gaming coming into our community was changed to allow an unlimited number of bar liquor licenses to be issued.
A bar or pour liquor license is required to apply for up to five video gaming machines and was thought to discourage mini casinos. Currently the only local requirement to have five video gaming machines in a storefront is that a physical bar is constructed and that a bar license can then be issued, whether the business sells alcohol or not. This change has caused the proliferation of video gaming machines in our community and it appears this trend will continue.
The council also changed the video gaming code to remove the local restriction that restaurants were not allowed to have the video gaming machines because they had not had the old illegal ones prior. The code was changed to allow any restaurant with a liquor license to have up to five video gaming machines.
One of the owners of a local restaurant who regularly approached the city in the prior administration about changing the restaurant restriction, finally got his desire with the change of administration.
He got his five machines, but they were not enough to keep him in business as he claimed.
I would like to see us as a community lean toward family friendly opportunities and activities and try to keep what we have. Will the next requests be made to allow open liquor in our parks and at the youth baseball league games? Will we need to offer a beer tent for Celebrate Clinton’s Fourth of July Celebration to draw more people to it?
Adults have the right to make choices on their consumption of liquor, but we still need to protect the children and youth of our community from the exposure at every turn and show that it is not necessary for liquor to be offered in every venue, business or event our city promotes to make it worthwhile.
Carolyn A. Peters