During next Tuesday night’s Naperville city council meeting, council members will be discussing potential liquor code amendments for regulating late night liquor service. They really don’t want to, but they have to. It’s one of those unpleasant discussions about an unpleasant topic. It was precipitated by another ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, when a July 19 accident killed two young Naperville men, and put additional focus on alcohol-impaired driving. The ‘camel’ keeps getting up, only to have it inevitably happen again in the future.
Naperville city officials will talk without doing much. They will think about it, without creating much. They will consider rather than making a commitment, and they may make a change without improving much. City officials don’t want to rock the boat by taking a courageous stand and offending high-rolling members of the restaurant association, or the liquor commission. Confirming this, Mayor Pradel believes the city has made vast improvement with enforcement strategies during the past couple of years. Wrong. It’s only become worse.
Councilman Joe McElroy said, The fact of the matter is when you get hundreds of drunk young people in a small tight area, you’re going to have problems.” Sounds like Water Street will add to the chaos. For McElroy, the fatal crash was the “last straw”. Councilman Steve Chirico sees the situation with the most clarity, when he said, “It seems like we’ve created an environment that leads to the likely result of fighting, and tragedies like we just experienced with this car crash”. Councilman Bob Fieseler would like to see an incremental reduction of one-half hour for last call. Wow….so the price of two lost lives is 30 minutes. That’s 15 minutes per person.
Here is a mixture of some suggested solutions (band-aids) to the liquor (hemorrhaging) problems, some from readers, and some from city officials:
- Require mittens to be worn by anyone drinking liquor, resulting in spilling more, drinking less.
- Regulating serving sizes
- Issue bungee cords connecting feet to arms, making it more difficult for the hand to reach the mouth
- Require ‘last call’ an hour or two earlier
- Require ‘last call’ immediately after breakfast
- Watering down shots
- Cut shots with lemonade creating a modified “Arnold Palmer slammer”
- Not allowing shots after mid-night
- Regulating drink specials
- Reducing the number of liquor licenses
Considering city officials aren’t eager about reducing the tax income the city receives from over serving, maybe they simply need to totally change how they look at the issue. Rather than pretending to do something, the Naperville city council needs to embrace the chaos and mayhem, by turning the downtown area into a reality show. Issue liquor licenses to everybody. If you want to operate a business in downtown Naperville, make it a requirement to have a liquor license, including yogurt and ice cream shops, the Apple store and the library. The Municipal Center could have a Drive-thru bar. Everybody gets a mandatory liquor license, sort of like Smart Meters.
Who doesn’t love reality shows. Incorporate the best of each, all into one, including Mortal Combat, Survivor, Martial Arts, and Cops. A TV network would jump on this like white on rice. Joey the hotdog street vendor could have a cart on each corner. Cameras all over the place catching each exciting kerfuffle. Cops hauling people away. Non-stop entertainment. No limit on drinks or hours. Money to be made by everybody, with the city being the biggest winner. National recognition on Fox News, CNN and Nightline, and the ‘E’ network needs to replace Chelsea Lately with something, so why not Downtown Naperville Bedlam.
As for the safety issue, set-up roadside stops on all vehicles leaving the downtown area. Naperville could finally set the State record for DUI’s. More money for the city. Anybody trying to leave the downtown area on foot, would be bused to the edge of the city limits. Let Aurora, Bolingbrook, Lisle, and Warrenville deal with it from there.
The city could do something similar to ESPN’s Sports Center’s Top 10 Plays of the Day, with Naperville’s Top 10 Fights of the Night. There’s no limit to how successful this reality show could be, if the city would simply embrace the mayhem.