Naperville council members delay talk on liquor laws
Some Naperville City Council members believe they may need to have further discussions about their downtown liquor ordinances. But now is not the time.
Councilman Doug Krause first expressed concerns Sunday after the stabbing death of second-grade teacher Shaun Wild at Frankie's Blue Room the day before. He reiterated his concerns Tuesday night, asking his fellow council members to pull back the ordinance they approved last month allowing bars to stay open past 11 p.m. and close their kitchens at 9 p.m.
None of his fellow council members, however, agreed to pull the ordinance back, at least not now.
Krause took some heat from local bar owners Monday for "politicizing" the stabbing, but Krause said he had no choice but to express his concerns now. Council rules state that in order for an issue to be reconsidered, it has to be brought up at the following meeting or the council must wait 62 days to readdress the issue.
"By then the permits will be issued. We need to address this issue. Before we open up all these potential taverns I'd have another group come together to figure out what the rules are," Krause said. "Right now we have no idea what the rules are. We have the potential of having 86 taverns because they have the opportunity to close their kitchens at 9 p.m."
Krause said he believes so many bars not serving food past 9 p.m. will lead to more police calls and the need to increase the police force.
But, councilmen said, three days after the tragedy is not the time to reopen the matter. Councilman Kenn Miller pointed out that both stabbings the downtown has had in recent months happened while the kitchens at both bars were still open.
"We should not have a knee-jerk reaction and go changing ordinances until we get a police report, until we get the liquor commission to evaluate the tragedy. We don't have all the facts," Miller said. "We all need to take a step back and get all of the facts, because we don't even know the facts of this incident, before we jump into making quick decisions and feel good about ourselves that we did something about it."
Grant Wehrli agreed.
"Right now is a very emotional time for a lot of people," he said. "I think there will be a point in time when we should have a healthy discussion about what is going on throughout our entire community. I don't think tonight or the foresable future is that time. Let's do this correctly."