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Coming Soon: U Square Grocery Store

I just got off the phone with the developer and it is confirmed that there will be a new grocery store in the University Square building at the corner of University and Lake.

coming soon

Details are in the works but the tentative schedule is a Sept. 28th build start with a projected opening in the first or second week of January, just as many students will be returning to campus from winter break.

I talked with the developer a few months ago and I understand that the store, which will not be a large national chain, will be a full service grocery store with an added focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, organic options, and pre-made/take-out.

Feel free to call or email me with any questions! district8@cityofmadison.com or 608-335-5091.

University Square Restaurant Proposal

At a recent Alcohol License Review Committee meeting there was a request for an alcohol beverage license for a new establishment hoping to move into the University Square building at 702 W Johnson, which lies in my district.  People may be familiar with the space, as a previous alcohol license was approved for the ‘Field Pass’ in the same location some time ago.

That Field Pass project has since not worked, mainly because of financial reasons, and the space is currently sits about half built.  The previous tenant began building the space with a two story design that has some half and full walls, fixtures, floors poured, plumbing, electrical, etc… built into the space at the present. Costs to remove these already built area are estimated around $750,000 to $1 million, and like I said, that is just to remove everything and start over. Pretty daunting eh? Especially with the economy these days, it didn’t seem likely anyone would be able or willing to make a multi-million dollar investment in that space, hence it’s vacancy since the building’s completion about a year ago.

Enter the team of Scott Acker, owner of the Quaker Steak and Lube in Middleton, and partners Greg Rice, owner of University Square, and Conrad Arnold, a manager at the Lube and owner of the Opis Lounge in downtown Madison. This team came up with a concept that allowed use of the existing built-in parts of the space as well as added their own creative vision for how they felt the space could better be utilized. This project would be about a $4 million dollar infusion into the downtown.

The ALRC questioned and debated this application for around 4 hours (yes I was there for all of it and so was the ASM representative and my former opponent-turned-colleague, Mark Woulf. Mark sits on the ALRC as the newly formed student representative *thanks Eli* and is a non-voting member. As an Alder, I have the privilege to sit on any board or committee as a defacto non-voting member ).  After lengthy and colorful discussions, the ALRC voted to refer the application until the next meeting in September. After multiple meetings with the applicants, walking through the space, talking with those in opposition and hearing from those in support, I want to give my take on the project through this post.

The design of the 702 W Johnson proposal centers around a Wisconsin Badger sports-themed restaurant, think of an ESPN zone meets a Dave and Busters, and is has three main components: First, the first floor, with Wisconsin sports memorabilia,  state-of-the-art interactive games, giant plasma screens, and seating for 450 (their tentative capacity requested for the main floor). Second, a bit more upscale restaurant (not too upscale tho, highest priced item on the menu around $24) on the second floor with tables and chairs for 150 (their tentative projected capacity for this space). Third, a 300 person capacity banquet room area that is also able to be broken down into three 100 person rooms.  (note: the Field Pass design was pretty much one big restaurant/bar with some game area and had a capacity of 550) There are also some ideas floating around of turning some of this space into a bowling alley or some similar mixed use game space.

These three areas have a combined tentative total of a 900 person capacity.  Sound pretty big? Sure is. Sound scary or unsafe? To some it sure does.  That being said, here are some reasons why I support their alcohol license application and reasons why I fully support the development of this restaurant:

  • This is the exact kind of development we want in our downtown/campus community. The city has said, through the density plan passed before my time on the Council, that we don’t want new bars in a certain area of the downtown which this project is in. I have never been a fan of this but ok, lets work with what we have. The project designed in the U Square space is not a bar, it is a restaurant before all else. Will it serve alcohol? Yes, but in order to receive the alcohol license, the operation has to follow the percentage of food vs. alcohol sales that requires more food than booze. I really think that what will draw patrons to this space will be atmosphere and games first, food second, and alcohol third. There are plenty of other places to grab a drink but not too many great Badger sports places to watch a game, grab some food, and hang out with people of all ages. This is a true multidimensional, mixed-use space that we want in the future of our campus and downtown area. This restaurant will be a destination, attracting people to stay in the downtown, infusing more customers into area businesses and even other restaurants and bars.
  • Speaking of all ages, this restaurant will be one of the few places in the campus area for people of all ages to stick around downtown after UW activities and other events, like after Kohl Center games, football games, theater performances, concerts, etc… So many families skip town right after these events because there are not many places they see as “friendly” to grab some food or drink before heading home. Are there some? Sure are. But not many that could match the atmosphere and interactive uses as this U Square plan.
  • This restaurant would provide a safe and fun place for the thousands of 18-20 year olds in the campus area to hang out, especially late night. 18-20 year old students need options. Those in that age range have severely limited options if they want to hang out with friends in a social atmosphere, with many choosing behind the closed doors of dorm rooms and in the crowed apartments or basements in off campus houses or apartments. These are not the safest places, especially when this restaurant could provide a social place for them to be with those 21+, obviously not drinking, but in a fun, interactive place they are in the open, with friends, under the supervision of staff and peers. Campus and the city should be thinking of more ways to get kids out from behind closed doors and into the open, because right now, most of late night entertainment is dominated only for the 21+ crowd.  How nice would it be for freshmen in the dorms to walk across the street at later that 9pm, which is the normal time for bars to kick out those under 21, and play interactive golf or hockey, throw a few games of bowling, or just socialize with their friends of all ages in a fun, Badger sports atmosphere!
  • On capacity, especially late night capacity. Yes there are a number of restaurants and bars in the downtown and all of them combined have a large capacity. However, how many of these places allow 18-20 year olds in past 9pm? How many attract families after events in the campus area? Close to none. I agree with ALRC members that had concerns about capacity that defined conditions are needed to make sure there wont be 900 people on the street at bar time. But when you look at what this place really is, not just what it looks like on the surface, those concerns begin to be addressed. 1. The main sports themed floor has a proposed capacity of 450. This space would be the main all-ages area and therefore would not be 100% people drinking until bar time because of the ability of 18-20 year olds hanging out there late night, watching a game, playing games, or grabbing some food. Furthermore, part of this space would be open past bar time, allowing patrons to grab late night food or water/sodas, significantly reducing the problems we have seen when everyone is kicked out at bar time and there are hundreds of people on the sidewalk at once, plus add having a number of them being inebriated and you have even more issues. The applicants even agreed to stop serving alcohol earlier than required by law, which has the added benefit of clearing out those who are only looking for that last drink or two to put them over the top and keeps those in the space who are looking to hang out or grab some food on their way out. Finally, this space has something like only 30 bar stools on the whole level, with seating for the whole capacity of 450. Know what that means? Almost non-existent vertical drinking space and service at tables by servers. How many places downtown guarantee a place to sit?! Plus, having a server take food and drink orders adds to the safety of those drinking with another pair of eyes regulating people’s intake of alcohol. 2. The fine dining area, with a proposed capacity of 150. This space has 6 bar stools and the rest are table settings, again serviced by servers.  This space would not occupy a full 150 people drinking until bar time and therfore reduces the number of people drinking late night. I agree with ALRC members that the capacity of this area needs to be defined in a license condition as to when time this area will be open until. If the applicants can define in a condition that this area will not be open past say 12 or 12:30pm or something, I think those with capactiy concerns will be more comfortable, as will I. 3. The final area that is of now slotted as banquet space with a proposed capacity of 300. Like the fine dining area, this space should have defined capacity related to time, reducing the late night capacity. Say the fine dining will be open at the latest until 12pm and say they are at 50% capacity at midnight and therefore have 75 people that have to leave. Even if they all want to go down to the main level, they cannot if that level’s capacity is full, and if its not full, their 75 would be added to the count downstairs and therefore not exceed their 450 capacity. If the latest the banquet space is open is 1am, they have to follow the same rules. With ideas of turning that space into a possible bowling alley, that naturally would reduce that space’s capacity. THEREFORE, the total capacity at bar time, 1:30pm on Sunday through Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday, would be the 450 from the main floor. That, considering the Field Pass was approved with 550 and had limited to no similar conditions, and the fact that the whole 450 does not have to be out on the sidewalk a minute after bar time, like most places, because of their late night food service till 3am or so, would help the trickle out method that would reduce crowds. Not to open up Pandora’s box, but there are bars in the area, just bars serving only alcohol, that have similar or even a larger capacity than 450 that kick their whole capacity out at bar time, so arguments that a place with less capacity than those, a place that also serves food until 3pm, is less safe doesn’t fully fit this case.
  • The main first floor area will serve breakfast starting at 6am, take out or dine-in lunches, and food until 3am.  Also, the banquet area will not severe alcohol without the accompaniment of food.
  • The applicants estimated the project will create 225 new jobs in the downtown and campus community, many of which will be part-time jobs for students.

Overall, there are absolutely details to be worked out to address the many serious concerns and issues that this scale of a project entails. Again, I strongly feel this is the kind of place we want as a campus and downtown community and also the kind of place we should be encouraging as a city. I am going to try to meet with the applicants to discuss their plans and possible conditions, continue to talk with those who have concerns, and am sure I’ll continue to hear from those that are flat out opposed to the project. I want this project to happen and am open to hearing creative ideas as to how we can make this opportunity work.

If you want let me know what you think, shoot me and email at district8@cityofmadison.com or call me at 608-335-5091. Again, if you feel strongly on either side of the project, the Alcohol License Review Committee is going to re-take-up the application at their September meeting, to which I will definitely publicize and link to once I know the details.

Mayor’s Blog Entry on Students

I want to share a blog entry from Madison’s Mayor, Dave Cieslewicz, about the impact and role of students in Madison. The Mayor has become quite the blogger and I am happy to see some words about the student community here in Madison. With some 42,000 at UW, around 15,000 at MATC, and about 2,000 more at Edgewood,  college and university students make up a HUGE portion of Madison’s intellectual, social, cultural, and economic engine.

The Evolution of a Couch

August 13, 2009 1:34 PM

Over the next few days, the terraces of downtown Madison will become stacked with the flotsam of middle class America. A lovely mauve couch, the height of fashion in 1985, will go to its final resting place after starting life in a place of honor in the living room, then moving down to the family rec room, then on to a student rental and then another one and another one until it ends up on the curb on Gilman Street.

The UW is the largest, most influential institution in our city, far outdistancing state government or any one industry. The UW provides good paying, stable jobs to 16,000 faculty and staff. Ideas hatched at the UW often spin off into successful businesses that create wealth and employ still more people.

But the biggest asset of the UW for our city is the students themselves. Every year 6,000 or so of the brightest young people in the world come here as freshmen. (Thankfully the old Board of Regents admissions standards weren’t so tough back in 1979, or I wouldn’t be here writing this today.) It’s these kids who will eventually hatch some of those ideas and build some of those businesses and virtually every one of them will develop a life-long attachment to our town. They’ll speak of Madison fondly wherever their lives take them, providing us better advertising then any marketing campaign could ever create. And from time to time most of them will return for a weekend, reconnecting with some of their fondest memories of Madison and pumping up our tourism economy while they’re here.

Maybe most importantly, students keep us young and vibrant. Each new batch of students brings their own music, clothes, ideas and energy to town along with their stereos, beat up couches and retro lava lamps. The annual influx of new young blood keeps Madison connected to the latest trends in everything…and provides the final resting place for tons of once prized family furniture.

For most of us college is about choosing a career, learning who we are and making lifelong friendships. So, the social aspects of college life are important, and that shouldn’t be forgotten by people of my age who want nothing more after nine o’clock then a good book and the remote control. The UW has long held a deserved reputation as a place of high academic standards and achievement, but also a place where those same hard working scholars know how to have a good time. That reputation and the kind of young person it attracts have shaped our city for decades. Smart but not full of ourselves, hard working but fun loving is who we are as a people.

So, welcome back kids. Study hard. Have some fun. And remember that moderation in all things is not a bad piece of advice.

Move Out – Move In Tips

Moving Car

The old couches and desks are filling the curb and that means one thing: campus/downtown move-out is fully upon us.  (thankfully I am not moving, half because my roommates and I really like our place, half because we didn’t want to have to go through the move again)

I’ll be walking around the student neighborhoods over the next few days, saying farewell to those moving out of the 8th district and also welcoming in many of the new 8th district residents. Since many, if not most, residents are first time renters, it is important to get the word out about best move-out practices to ensure students are not taken advantage of by landlords, especially relating to security deposit deductions. Thus, I will be handing out some tips and links to help educate tenants of their rights and responsibilities. A few other avenues have also been very supportive of these efforts, including Brenda Konkel over at the Tenant Resource Center (see links for more tips).

Here are some tips to all who are braving the move:

–  Clean, try to make the apartment as clean as when you moved in.

– Take pictures of your apartment. You can request photo proof of security deposit deductions from your landlord!

– Forward your mail and leave your new address with your landlord—all correspondence and security deposit returns will be sent to your last known address unless otherwise specified in your lease.

–  When you arrive at your new place, take the time to thoroughly inspect your apartment and document ALL existing damage and wear and tear on your check-in form, so that you won’t be charged for those items when you move out next year.

– The Tenant Resource Center is a great source of information, advice, and help for all questions, concerns, or complaints. Check out their website, www.tenantresourcecenter.org or call them at 608-257-0006. The TRC is open M-F from 9am to 6pm and will be open Aug 15th & 16th from noon to 4pm.

– Feel free to me at district8@cityofmadison.com or call me at 608-335-5091 with any questions or concerns.

Also, the City of Madison Streets & Recycling have come up with some great plans to help those moving. From their website:

New this year, the Streets Division will be emptying refuse and recycling carts everyday between Monday August 10th through Friday August 14th.  Fill up your carts according to the guidelines below and roll them to the curb anytime this week.

We will empty your carts so you can fill them up again.  You may fill up your carts and roll them out as often as you like during the week of August 10th.

Using your carts for refuse and recycling is easier than lugging bags or material to the curb.  It will keep your neighborhood cleaner and make this year’s move out the easiest ever.

Guidelines:
It also means that several hundred tons of trash will make its way to the curb in a three day period. The Streets Division needs your help to make this year’s move out as orderly as possible. Please follow these guidelines when placing trash and recycling at the curb during the move out.

  • Do NOT put trash in cardboard boxes. Boxes must be flattened and bundled for recycling. Go to: Mandatory Recycling
  • Keep refuse and large items separate when placed at the curb.
  • Nothing but recycling in your green recycling cart.  Do not put recycling in your tan refuse cart.
  • Put all recycling at the curb in the green recycling cart or clear plastic bags.  No loose piles of recycling.
  • Do Not Take The Recycling or Refuse Carts. The Carts belong to the City and must remain behind when you move. There will be carts at your new apartment if you will be using City recycling services.
  • Do not pile bagged trash or large items around your recycling or refuse carts.
  • Put all refuse at the curb in your tan refuse cart or trash bags. No loose piles of trash/garbage.
  • Do not pile bagged trash or recyclables on top of furniture or appliances.
  • Keep larger metal items separate from other material so that it can be recycled.
  • Most appliances, including microwaves require a fee for collection. Go to: Appliance Collection

Questions? Call 246-4532 East or 266-4681 West.

Donate Your Usable Goods

Many renters find that they have many usable items they no longer need such as clean clothing, small furniture, unopened nonperishable food, and kitchen items. Instead of throwing those items out when you move, we have organized several places where you can donate usable items in the downtown area.

Please, no junk, just items that can be reused.

Just bring your usable goods to the following location on the dates listed and they will be put to good use by St. Vincent DePaul and Goodwill.

Downtown Drop Off Sites For Usable Goods:

Gorham & Henry: Holy Redeemer Church Parking Lot
120 W. Johnson St. Just off State St.
St. Vincent de Paul truck

  • August 11 to 13, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • August 14th 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Regent & Mills: Behind McDonald’s on Regent St. in UW Lot 51
St. Vincent de Paul truck

  • August 11 to August 13, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • August 14th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

New Location: Bassett & Mifflin
near the old Mifflin St. Co-op
Goodwill truck

  • August 11 to 13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • August 14, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sell or Give Away Use-able Items or Find Bargains for Your New Apartment on the Madison Stuff Exchange

Because so many people are moving into new apartments, the demand for used furniture and other household items will be very high.  That makes this a great time to list items you no longer use on the Madison Stuff Exchange.

Area residents should take advantage of the influx of new residents by listing unwanted household items on the Madison Stuff Exchange. This free web sites is also a great place for new residents to find items for their apartment.

Residents of Madison and Dane County can register to use the site at no charge.  Items can be given away or offered for sale.  There is a maximum sale price of $99 for any item and businesses may not use the site to sell their products or services.  Residents looking for items can also register and post their wanted list on line.

The address of the Madison Stuff Exchange is www.madisonstuffexchange.com.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE MOVE! FAREWELL FORMER 8th DISTRECTERS, WELCOME NEW 8TH DISTRICTERS!

Move Out Night

The annual move-out/in is soon upon the campus community and I am excited to publicize the first real organized effort to help students who are with out a place to sleep or store their stuff between leases.

With a host of sponsors lead by UW’s Student Government, ASM, MOVE OUT NIGHT aims to provide a safe, fun place to stay and is also coordinating places to store belongings.  The Student Acticity Center at 333 East Campus Mall will be open 24 hours on August 14th and 15th, with plans of free food and entertainment. Check out the Facebook event for details as well as MOVE OUT NIGHT’S own twitter page!

I want to give a shout out to ASM on this one, way to show some much needed leadership! Special thanks to Hannah Karns who contacted me a while back about Move Out Night and also to Katy Ziebell who seems to be the point person, so contact her for more information at moveoutnight@gmail.com or call ASM at 606-265-4276. Here are the details courtesy of the ASM website:

Capacity and Building Information

  • The 3rd and 4th floors of the Student Activities Tower at 333 East Campus Mall will be open 24 hours beginning Friday August 14th at 10am and will continue until the building reopens at 10am on Saturday August 15th
  • You must have your student ID to gain entrance to the building.
  • The SAC will lock down at 12am, no one else will be able to enter or re-enter, you can leave however if you have a different place to stay.
  • The SAC has an official capacity of 269; get there early so you get a spot! There will be 80 lockers available for small personal item storage, and you must provide your own lock.
  • The SAC is a University building and thus no alcohol will be allowed.
  • If you are found to be intoxicated UWPD will ticket you and ask you to leave the premises.
  • Again, UWPD will be present. Be smart and make good decisions!

Parking

  • Lots 7 (Grainger); 83 (Fluno Center); 91 (Kohl Center) will be FREE to students that show a UW ID. (Lots 7 and 83 will be open from 12:00 noon August 14 to 12:00 noon on August 15. Lot 91 will be open from 10:00 am August 14 to 12:00 noon August 15.)
  • Park at the Kohl Center if you have a trailer or tow behind apparatus, if you simply have a car/truck/van park under Grainger or the Fluno Center
  • Lots will be patrolled by students, UWPD, Per Mar and special events staff throughout the night

Please lock all items in a vehicle and do not leave any valuables inside

Food

  • Bagels from Einstein
  • Coffee, night time snacks and other breakfast items from Tallard Apartments
  • Popcorn from the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board
  • Misc items will be covered by Campus Area Housing

Activities

  • Raffle with prizes provided by Business and Downtown Information, University Bookstore, more to come.
  • Free water bottles from WeConserve and Campus Area Housing.
  • Student Organizations will also be holding events throughout the night.
  • ASM will be sponsoring a movie.
  • The Dean of Students will attend and an appearance from the Chancellor is pending.

Sponsors

ASM, Transportation Services, VIP, Campus Area Housing, Admissions, UWPD, Office of the Chancellor, ODOS, Tallard Apartments, WeConserve, SAFEU, Einstein Bagels, Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, UBS, the Downtown Neighborhood, Capitol Neighborhood Inc.

WI Institutes for Discovery Development

Corner of Campus Drive (Johnson) and Randall

Future glass zig-zag open stairs

Overlooking University Ave from 2nd floor

Looking up future circular staircase, covered skylight

Very open and transparent

IMG00044-20090730-1625

Future site of trees, plants, water features facing University Ave

Live video of construction

News on WID

Official Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery website

Photos taken on my phone

Downtown Alcohol Issues

Issues surrounding downtown alcohol issues have gained attention over the past few weeks, stemming primarily from license non-renewal procedures on establishments in the downtown.  Quite a few outlets have picked up on the topic of tavern checks/bar raids (terms that depend on the semantics used by police or students), including the Isthmus, the Critical Badger, Laptop City Hall, and the Sconz to name a few.

The alcohol license non-renewal process opened up the arena to discuss some of my own thoughts on the greater issues of alcohol in the downtown/campus area. At the June 2nd Council meeting, I gave the following remarks (re-posted to this blog from my other site after a few requests):

(I am going to type the following text from my notes and bullet points so please forgive any minor abbreviations exact consistencies from comments I gave in person that you can watch on the video.)

“I just wanted to talk for a few minutes about some of the non-renewals in my district and around the downtown campus area. First, I want to thank the police for trying to be proactive about safety issues, especially issues involving alcohol, but, I think we can agree to disagree on what are the best practices and priorities, specifically underage drinking. Now I don’t think this is the time or place to vigorously debate laws of the drinking age, but I do feel the targeting of catching underagers in bars merits discussion.

I am frustrated with the process of these non-renewals, even as the Alder, I was not included in any discussions with city staff or police about serious actions proposed in my district and I would appreciate future inclusion in future discussions. With the background of proposing these non-renewals, I am concerned about the priorities behind the rationale, especially dealing with the selective targeting and priority placed on catching underagers in bars. I am looking forward to meeting with Police Chief Ray in two weeks to discuss campus and downtown safety and this is one of the many topics I am eager to discuss.

It shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise to acknowledge that our state has a deeply rooted drinking culture, and our city is no exception. I again applaud the police and others, like County Executive Kathleen Falk, for not just sweeping alcohol issues under the rug as just part of the norm. However, I feel that the rationale for some of these non-renewals will not address these rooted issues and in some cases even make them worse. I am concerned about the prioritization and subsequent time, energy, and resources spent on trying to catch a handful of underagers in bars when a higher focus should be on real, serious crimes like assault and burglary. I know too many anecdotes and sat thought the ALRC trial to know how many hours and resources every weekend are spent on targeting underagers in bars, patrons who I would argue are actually the least likely to cause problems like fights because they know the added consequences they would face.

That being said, do I think the police have a safety role in bars? Absolutely. From enforcing fire code, to making sure no one is over-intoxicated or getting medical assistance to those in need, police absolutely play a major role in keeping bars safe. But what I am concerned about is focusing our limited police resources on catching 19 or 20 year olds when there are more serious public safety issues, as previously mentioned. Getting back to some of the cultural issues, I think we need to be pragmatic with the fact that 19 and 20 year olds who are set on drinking will drink. If the proposed non-renewals are efforts to stop underagers from drinking, the idea is far from the mark. If spending tons of police resources on issuing underage tickets in bars is a strategy to ‘teach kids a lesson,’ these efforts are again misplaced. I know it may come as a shock to some people, but like I said, 19 and 20 year olds set on drinking will drink, whether that is in a licensed establishment or behind closed doors.

This brings up another point about how people who are set on drinking are safer in regulated establishments where there are things like enforced fire code, licensed servers, known quantities of alcohol in drinks, and absence of secluded bedrooms. Conversely, the closed doors of dorm rooms and hot, overcrowded basements do not have these safeguards and are therefore seriously less safe for people consuming alcohol. Finally, I am concerned about how this non-renewal process, stemming from the prioritization of catching a handful of underagers in bars, will impact the relationship between police and young people, especially students here in the downtown. This targeting of 19 and 20 year olds in bars drives students to have a strained view of police when they should always be viewing them as protectors of safety. I again know too many instances where students were reluctant to call for help when they were drinking underage in the dorms and someone got seriously sick, but were hesitant to call for help because they were concerned about themselves getting in trouble for drinking underage. Or when uninvited guests at a party become belligerent or violent or steal things but the hosts are reluctant to call because there are underagers drinking there.

Are these the right choices made by students? No way. But there are inconvenient truths about how many young people act. These hesitancies to call for help are so contrary to what we are all taught that I think they are ignored because we are afraid to talk about these issues. Are there serious improvements that need to be made to the drinking culture in Madison, especially in the downtown-campus area? Yes. But instead of working against bars and against students, let’s work with them to address these serious issues, not just put a Band-Aid on the issues of alcohol so we can tell ourselves we are doing impactful things by displacing 19 and 20 year olds out of licensed establishments and into less-safe house parties and behind the closed doors of dorms and apartments. Issues relating to alcohol and safety are serious and seriously complex. There is no one solution, but by having a serious conversation about what our best practices and priorities should be, I think we can begin to get to the real issues behind these problems.” (end of remarks)

Issues of alcohol, especially underage drinking, are complicated and significant. I have talked with Police Chief Wray and Central Capt. Schauf about some of my concerns and will contunie to build on this dialage and the interest as well as concerns I have also heard from constituents, students, businesses, and other Alders. As Brenda Konkel noted (see comments) from a recent Public Safety Review Committee, the number of police incidents listed under LIQUOR LAW/BAR CHECK/OTHER has increased quite a bit: from 34 in 2006, to 144 in 2007, to 392 in 2008.  As you can read from  my remarks, I absolutely feel police presence in and around bars in a safety enhancer, however, as I noted, I do not feel spending hours checking IDs for 19 or 20 year olds is the best use of police time, energy, and resources.

Again as noted, targeting underagers in bars does not curb underage drinking, and I would argue, often pushes students into less safe environments like dorms or house parties, but more significantly, does not help the already strained relationship between police and young people. 18-20 year olds who are set on drinking are going to drink, whether that is behind the closed doors of a dorm room or in a house party or in a regulated, licensed establishment. I recognize and respect the law but would advocate for more discretion from the CPT who carries out the tavern checks/bar raids. There is no one “solution” to these issues and I don’t want to feed into some stereotypes that all students just want to be free to drink as much as they want, whenever they want, wherever they want, and that police should stay out of it. That is not the right approach to build consensus nor is it a good policy.

These topics and conversations are sure to continue and I look forward to responsibly and respectfully advancing the dialogue with students, police, businesses, and all interested parties.