There has been quit a bit of controversy regarding the Naperville bar scene in the downtown area. While the Naperville city council limits the number of hot dog vendors in the area, the number of liquor licenses seems to be almost unlimited. Apparently, the city council was more focused on Naperville’s nitrate consumption rather than alcohol consumption.
There have been some ideas proposed to solve this problem. Some of these ideas include, but are not limited to:
- Rolling back the hours of service (this only moves the problem to an earlier time in the night)
- Inventing an app to scan ID’s and to document drinking habits (this just sets up the city’s attorney having many billable hours with all of the privacy lawsuits)
- Raising the drinking age in Naperville to 30 (Only raises the fatality age of drivers from early 20’s to early 30’s)
- Reduce the number of liquor licenses within a geographical area (they all must be renewed at some point and gradually reduce the number year after year)
- A no entry policy within one-hour of closing
- Increasing regulation of shots, none within one hour of closing, not announcing last call for shots, no solicitation for shots
- Not allowing more than half-price off specials
- Reducing maximum serving size of beer from 24 ounces to 20 ounces, and reducing serving size of distilled spirits from 3 ounces to 2 ounces
- Increasing the late night permit fee from $200 to $1000.
The hard and sad truth is that this problem was addressed in 2009 by a small business owner who tried to start a designated driving service in Naperville. Frustratingly instead of embracing the concept of a designated driving service, Booze Crews Designated Driving LLC was (in not so many words) told to help people elsewhere. The company was forced out of business yet the council still remembers the concept as during a city council meeting on April 1, 2014 councilman Fieseler gives the elevator speech while labeling the owner “aggrieved”.
The unfortunate thing is that the motto of Booze Crews Designated Driving service was “Saving Lives One Car At A Time”. It’s too bad that big government stepped on the little guy and the Naperville City Council set the stage for the tragic car crash last month. There is no guarantee that the DD service would have driven that car home safely that night, but at least it could have been an option.
I, on the other hand have a solution that has little chance for anyone to debate as it is already being practiced in Naperville. During the annual Ribfest hosted by the Naperville Exchange Club (their motto is ‘It’s about the kids’) there is a three step process to get alcohol.
- The first step is to stand in a line to have your ID checked and once approved, the requester receives a wristband which allows for the ability to buy and consume alcohol.
- You must go to another tent to exchange money for “beverage” tickets.
- The third and final step is to stand in line and turn the “beverage” tickets into the “Volunteer/Bartender” for your beverage of choice.
If the Naperville City Council is truly concerned about its citizens and visitors, they should step up and take the responsibility. Implement the three tier check and balance process that is already in place at Ribfest. Prospective bar patrons would
- Go to city hall to have a council member check their ID and issue an over 21 wristbands
- Have the city “Manager” sell the “beverage” tickets
- The person who tells the public forum speakers their time is up, can cash in the redeemed tickets at the end of the night/week/month from the bar owners. This job serves two functions, the bar owners get their money and the time keeper can have a more substantial position within the city. If this is too much of a burden for the time keeper, the timing responsibilities can easily be performed by an egg timer.
Having these additional responsibilities, the city presumably would take a cut of all liquor sales. This additional funding can be used to have additional police to not only patrol neighborhoods but to enforce the 25 MPH streets of Naperville thus making the streets safe for children. You see truly, it’s all about the kids.