(Chicago) – April 12, 2012. Special Report: While Mayor Rahm Emanuel today was revving up a new effort to crackdown on problematic convenience stores that sell liquor, 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith earlier in the week had already won approval of a measure by a Chicago City Council panel to crackdown on expanded liquor sales on a slice of North Avenue.
The council’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection on Tuesday approved by voice vote Smith’s plan, O-2012-1368, which the first-term alderman introduced on March 14, to prohibit future alcohol sales by future convenience stores on the south side of North Avenue between Sedgwick and Larrabee Streets.
“We introduced the ordinance because we were concerned about safety close to the Sedgwick El station,” said Smith, who noted that the ordinance is a packaged goods moratorium, so that existing businesses, such as Old Town Social, are not affected.
“The Sedgwick El station and the surrounding area is a location where a lot of people congregate and caters to many commuters. We feel that increased alcohol sales in that area are not in the interest of public safety.”
The convenience liquor store problem has been brewing in Chicago for a while. Aldermen like Smith, 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell and others have had this issue on their radar screens earlier, and now Emanuel is playing catch-up.
The hard-charging mayor is full of grand and good plans, but he needs to recognize he has 50 set of eyes in the city’s wards daily sniffing out problems and shaping good plans, too.
Emanuel could have launched his convenience store crackdown earlier had he been paying closer attention to leaders like Smith and Dowell.
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