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Is Naperville being overserved?

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In his 14 years as Naperville's mayor and liquor commissioner, George Pradel has never revoked a local bar or restaurant's liquor license.
Which begs the questions: is that because city officials and police tend to go easy on nightclub and restaurant owners because of the copious tax revenue their businesses generate? Or is it because the downtown nightlife district -- despite its rowdy reputation in some quarters -- is comparatively trouble-free?
Articles from the Naperville Sun library and anecdotal evidence suggest that out of the thousands of people visiting the downtown area on a typical Friday or Saturday, 1 percent or fewer are arrested for assault, battery, property damage or other crimes related to alcohol consumption there.
Still, the city's 32 liquor-licensed establishments and their employees can be held legally liable for indulging their patrons by "over-serving" them and, in some instances, conjuring their darker sides.
"We're constantly telling them we don't want them to over-serve," Pradel said of local tavern and restaurant operators. "Our police check all the time to see that people aren't being over-served. The owners could be in deep trouble" for that if, for example, a patron should become involved in a drunken-driving crash, he said.
"I think our city is very fortunate that we have such responsible owners of the bars and restaurants that serve liquor," Pradel said. "I know it's hard times, but we really put the clamp on people, and if they're over-serving, we're going to be taking them to court."
What do you think? Do you think Naperville bartenders to a good job at monitoring patrons' alcohol intake? Do you think that downtown Naperville's nightlife promotes fun, safe socializing - or is it becoming an area that draws more debauchery out of people than other areas?
And furthermore - do you think bartenders should be held liable if a patron drinks too much - or should that be something that simply falls under the category of "personal responsibility?"
Voice your thoughts - they might be published in The Sun this week!

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29 Comments

Marsha Vertan,

If you want to prove your point I hope you had the forethought to take photos to back up your claims. And, if you feel the City of Naperville and/or Mayor Pradel is unwilling to process your claim fairly because it involves Furstenau, then take it further... wherever that may be. I am sure a phone call to the states attorney's office could set you on the right track.

The only thing that is not right about liquor licenses is that they are limited at all. If someone want to follow all the laws involved in serving liquor, they should be allowed a license no matter how many others have been issued. If they disobey the laws, fine them; too many offenses revoke the license.

If uptight suburban mothers complain about a private outing because they were being lookie-Louises, ignore the moms.

If someone drinks to much, that should be their responsibility, not a bartender, waiter, or business owner that is dealing with many customers, and by law expected to babysit them all.

Naperville's DUI rate is high because they ignore probable cause laws and follow patterns of DUI offenders when pulling over suspects. I know this as I was pulled over for a DUI interrogation at 2:30 am one morning by a Naperville cop trolling for drunks. As I pointed out to him, his stated reason for pulling me over was not possible, but if I had been drunk, who would the judge believe? Naperville and other jurisdictions get away with this gestapo like behavior because no one believes a drunk, even one who is at the minimum level of BAC.

marsha vertan,

are you out of your mind. i don't know if you are crazy or just think people are dumb enough to believe you. a judge certainly didn't, but here is all the evidence i need about the living conditions being unsafe or a health risk.

after reading the story in the paper it is obvious that the rent there is rather high. mabye even $1,100+/month or more. i also know that furstenau wouldn't be in business if he was charging rent that high while offering living conditions that are dangerous or a health risk. even the slum loards of the $300 dollar/month properties pass health inspections.

bottom line, the place may not have been as nice as you were hoping after shopping online and committing to a lease, but it has to, at least, be a fairly nice place to be able to charge that much money and stay in business.

in my opinion, buyer beware. this is all on you.

blemum,

i am not looking for, or interested in mayberry. nor do i advocate a dry downtown or to stop alcohol sales. i am simply stating that downtown naperville is serving way too much. they take pride in their dui arrest record while failing to acknowledge we have a problem with over-serving drivers. that is a safety issue and not one we should take lightly in a community that prides itself on being a great, safe community for families.

I love downtown naperville. I always have. i have lived here over 30 years. but dt naperville is a lot different then it used to be. in my opinion, it has crossed a very fine line from being vibrant and active to being over-served and rowdy. it seems more like rush street then jefferson or chicago ave.

it think it clearly reflects what napervilles leaders value more. would they like to maintain dt naperville as a family place first or as a revenue generating machine to feed their over sized budget.

i think it is clear what they have decided they value more.

To blemum on June 29,2009 12:25PM:

I beg to differ with your comment that it's not "outsiders" that frequent Naperville establishments and sometimes cause trouble. It's Naperville residents along with "outsiders" that enjoy the downtown area... some enjoy it a little too much as they don't know when to stop. If you read the Naperville Sun, you will see articles regarding drunken brawls involving out-of-towners in our fair town. Remember the four women who started fighting in the streets? Not a single one was from Naperville.
You will find Napervillians, old and new, along with visitors from other areas. Just the other night my family met a very nice group from Glen Ellyn at Meson Sabika who raved about Naperville's restaurants and Riverwalk. They were celebrating a special occasion and said Meson Sabika was a unanimous vote.
Every town has it's issues, but as far as the question, "Is Naperville being overserved?" My opinion is, "Absolutely! And the police, Mayor Pradel, and City Council all know what's going on and turn the other cheek. Apparently revenue trumps safety."

Speaking of needing a drink...

Dear Mayor Pradel,

With respect to my email from February, I am writing to you once again regarding the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in since moving to Naperville last summer. We appeared before a judge yesterday regarding our dispute with D'Oro Suite. The ruling was not in our favor and the judge has ordered us to pay $2,281.50 to the establishment. In our counter-claim, we had asked D'Oro Suite for $2,164 which represented the monies spent for hotel charges incurred due to our departure from their property, miscellaneous moving expenses and legal fees related to the claim they brought against us.

We reached out to the City with a grievance about the deplorable living conditions present in the units D'Oro Suite is renting out. We strongly believe the City of Naperville purposely looked the other way due to the fact that Councilman Furstenau owns the building. The City of Naperville did not give us a valid reason for their denial of our numerous requests for an inspection of the property, information which we could have used at trial to provide material evidence to support our claim.

We are asking the City of Naperville for the sum of $4,445.50 which represents the expenses we incurred as a result of our forced eviction from D'Oro Suite and legal costs related to our trial. We are again requesting an inspection of D'Oro Suite since the outcome of the trial did not disprove our allegations.

We are certain that the City handles similar complaints against other establishments, such as restaurants, in a timely manner. City ordinances exist for lawn maintenance on personal property. In this unfortunate scenario, it seems that the City of Naperville does not have a system in place for oversight of private multi-dwelling buildings which owners are using commercially. As a concerned citizen, consumer, and the mother of two small children, I want to be assured that a future resident of this fine city does not encounter the same set of unfortunate events. I want to know that, in the future, establishments such as D'Oro Suite are held to the same standards as hotels and that other "furnished executive housing" will not be using loopholes in a broken system, falling through the cracks without oversight from an agency within the City. I want to know that, in the future, such premises are being inspected so there will be no doubt on the part of the consumer of possible health or safety violations in an environment where children will be present. I want to know that, in the future, the burden of proof will not be on the consumer. Mr. Mayor, I am asking that this broken system be fixed.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Marsha Vertan


RE: taxpayer on June 26, 2009 2:03 PM -

Heh! Sounds like you need to chill out and have a drink!

If your looking for Mayberry (the imaginary perfect Naperville that used to exist in some peoples minds)...move to Bourbon County Kentucky. No Booze, No Jobs, Lots of Bible Thumping Family Friendly Goodness.

Seriously, if so few people endorsed these policies, then they would not exist. The reality is that most Napervillians love the downtown and either moved here partly because of it, or have openly endorsed it with their dollars and votes. The notion that it is all "outsiders" frequenting the establishments is false. Just walk around one Friday evening at about 7:30 and you will find mostly neighbors and families......

did pradel and dial come down hard and show "tough love" to the establishment that over-served officer trotsky before he got behind the wheel of a car and tested positive for a DUI? NO!

did they show tough love to their fellow officers who were with trotsky and allowed him to get behind the wheel after several hours of drinking? NO!

But wait, they did show tough love to the officer who pulled him over for driving on the wrong side of the yellow line... they tried to fire him. So, I guess mayor pradel and cheif dial are doing a great job.

what a bunch of BS. Naperville is 100% over-served, and don't let pradel or anyone else fool you into thinking they care.

they love the revenue that comes from all the dui tickets and the tax revenue generated from alcohol sales. and, in the process, they sold out, the once quaint and family oriented, downtown naperville and turned it into a beer garden full of drunken, immature, imbeciles who aren't responsible enough to say when.

I find it fascinating the ebb and flow of this topic over the years. Whether it be early 20th Century Temperance movements or the current trend in Naperville to associate drinking with a lack of "Family Values". It really is silly. If there is a lesson to be learned from our own history and the day to day existence of our friends in Europe, it is that early training of people in the use of alcohol significantly reduces the incidence of binge drinking, over imbibing, etc. The funny thing is, they have far more liberal alcohol policies yet have drastically lower alcohol related crime rates.

Now, I understand that some of our rates are inflated due to the revenue stream issue (as noted by many here). But fundamentally, these societies have approached the issue in a mature manner that places a high level of importance on personal responsibility. Instead of having laws that make it ok to vote for President, die as a soldier in Iraq, or even operate dangerous equipment but not buy a glass of wine is outrageous. I am an adult with a child and even I can see that this is ridiculous. I refuse to be dominated by ancient puritanical ideals that immediately label anything related to alcohol, sex, whatever as some how corrupting and evil.

And to the person who referenced the Money Magazine article, did you ever think that the presence of good restaurants and bars in the downtown area actually helped our ranking? My family goes out down there all the time. We love it. My wife and I also go out in the area when it is an grown ups only occasion as well. What a wonderful thing that our tiny suburb has so much to offer!!!

Anonymous, your first few paragraphs were relevant, then you went into prostitutes and Red Roof Inn and whatnot. That's way off the subject.

It is not about prostitutes but it is about liquor license revocations. Apparently, Country Lakes either surrendered their license due to allegations of prostitution or had their license revoked for that reason.

I see extreme relevance as a liquor license can be revoked for numerous reasons. It can be revoked if you become a felon for not paying your federal taxes. It can be revoked if you are no longer deemed to be a man or woman of good character in the community. Just read the lengthy liquor code on the city web site if you don't believe me.

Much times goes into writing posts. I think you should allow a little leeway in the discussion. Experienced brought up this case and you allowed him to open the topic. Once you open a topic I think it is only fair that you allow us to discuss it especially if there is relevance....I believe there is singnificant relevance.

Please reconsider your position.

If the bloggers feel there is no relevance, feel free to delete it and appease them. I think that is a fair compromise.

This thread is not about prostitutes, so those of you who have submitted posts on that subject, please stay focused. I refer to the ones I have not approved.

Anon @ 8:37 AM -

I completely agree!

T.B.

This is how it's done:

October 7, 2005 (WLS) -- Alcohol can no longer be served at a Naperville golf course that held an outing which included strippers this summer. The course surrendered its liquor license.
Country Lakes Golf Club drew several complaints from neighbors after it hosted this outing in August. The golfers were accompanied by dozens of strippers and exotic dancers.
The club and its catering company agreed to surrender the liquor license rather than face a disciplinary hearing.
Naperville's mayor says the surrender of the license completes the city's investigation into the actions at the golf course

The city goes to the licensee and tells them that unless they voluntarily go out of business, they will revoke their license. By state law, if the license is revoked, the building cannot be licensed for a year. It takes away not only the licensee's investment in a business that cannot then be sold, but it also takes away the building owner's investment in the building--especially for a special use building like a country club. The building owner joins the city in telling the licensee to give up the license.


Kid Friendly Naperville is turning into Pottersville. Alchol is the way of life here, it is everywhere. Count the number of taverns in and around, outdoor dining in the alleyways and sidewalks, beer tents at every major fest. Looks as though a good time can not be had without the adult beverages in this burb. The city bosses welcome the tax revenue and hand out liquer licenses like there is a shortage of establishments that feature booze. We don`t want our citizens to travel to another city to get there fill. The police do their jobs in ticketing for D.U.I.`s but our judges fail to follow through with sentencing convicted offenders with having to have brethalizers installed on their vehicles for a year. So many of Naperville`s patrons com from other burbs... obviously, they do not take public transportation or even have designated drivers. Then they travel our roadways sometimes legally intoxed sometimes not, sometimes lucky to get to their destinations sometimes not. Looks like a time bomb ready to cause chaos in either their lives or some innocents life. With hometown rule, sales of the spirits could be cut off at ten o`clock.... but wait I`m forgetting the tax dollars the town needs to do worthy projects like sprucing up private property for appearance or paying legal bills for dropped law suits against the city. Whats next there city council? Beer sales at the band shell, the carrillon, the hot dog cart? Napervile`s sister city should indeed be Pottersville after all, It`s A Wonderful Life here in Kid Friendly Naperville.

The Illinois definition of intoxication under the Dram Shop Act is:

A person is "intoxicated" when as a result of drinking alcoholic liquor there is an impairment of his mental or physical faculties so as to diminish his ability to think and act.

When someone sues a bar because they served someone alcholic liquor and that person then injures someone else, this definition is what the jury is told.

Rambo:
GET OVER YOURSELF!
A person can appear relatively sober while sitting at a bar. If they're driving home through Naperville and they commit a minor traffic infraction that's seen by a cop, especailly after midnight, they're going to get pulled over. If the cop smells alcohol in the vehicle, the driver will be tested and if they've been drinking, probably busted for DUI. The bust has nothing to do with their demeanor at the bar. They probably appeared ok to the server. It wasn't that long ago that the legal limit for DUI was .16. The reduction to .08 is as much political as anything, and everyone who supported the change knew it would provide a huge cash cow. However the reasoning for it was "safety". Traffic laws are the result of the actions of the lowest common denominator behind the wheel. Stupid people making stupid mistakes result in stupid laws being inflicted on the rest of us. I'm sure someone was able to document a few horrific accidents that involved drivers with BAC of less than .16, so that provided a "reasonable" excuse to cut the BAC limit in half. Viola!! Arrests and revenue! Most responsible adults can probaly safely driva a car at .16. Most sober people will not be able to pass the roadside sobriety motor skills tests conducted by the police. They fail, they blow, and they're busted, not because they're intoxicated, but because they exceeded a BAC limit and failed a nearly impossible roadside test.

Keyboard Rambo is absolutely right. It is far more profitable for Naperville to intentionally overserve, then wait outside for some folks to get in their cars so they can make money off of the DUIs.

DUI arrests, by the way, have little to do with "safety", and far, far more to do with generating revenue for the city and state in which they occur. It is not uncommon for police to wait outside of bars and restaurants for patrons to emerge and drive. They do this because they know it's a real moneymaker.

Also, with DUI laws being as unconstitutional as they are, in a DUI case, you are not innocent until proven guilty, you're guilty until proven innocent. If a cop says he thinks you were "intoxicated", guess what, you are! Regardless of what your BAC is, how you were driving at the time, and any immediate witnesses to the contrary. If you are accused of DUI, your license is automatically suspended before you ever see your first day in court, whether or not you are guilty of the offense. Then you have to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers and court costs to prove your innocence.

How is it that we tolerate this sort of treatment? Oh, yeah, "safety"...which is a thinly veiled code word for "revenue".

Are we being overserved? Yes. And I love it.

Let me just say it this way: what is this obsession with alcohol? It seems to me that the anti-alcohol people in this country are constantly trying stop the consumption of alcohol. One would think that there are totally inebriated people around every corner based on the anti-alcohol folks.
That said, let me get back on subject:
I agree that it is difficult (if not impossible) for a bar tender or liquor establishment to be able to tell if an individual is drunk and should not be sold any alcohol. But I do not feel it should be their legal responsibility to baby sit everyone. What ever happened to personal accountability?
From personal observation, I would say that the employees at all the establishments serving liquor are doing a very good job at controlling their customers. Perfect? Of course not. But they aren't blatantly overserving people.
As for the high DUI rate in Naperville. Well, when you have a police force that is on a crusade, what do you expect? I would like to see a detailed breakdown of how many DUI's are between 0.08 and 0.09. These are the dangerous drivers? Everytime there is a fatal accident involving a drunk driver that person is usually 3 times (or more) above the limit; but those drivers are still out there - repeatedly. Seems that all these strict measures have no impact on the total drunk.
Which brings up the subject of what is intoxicated? There are people who are totally incapacitated by one drink, that would easily pass a breathalayzer; but couldn't drive a vehicle safely. Why are we using hard numbers to solve these problems? Why not developing a system to remove all incapacitated drivers off the road? Half this country is legally drugged with prescriptions from their doctor, many of which affect a person's abilities the same as alcohol does. Why are these people allowed to drive? How about the individuals who just don't seem to have a clue what is going on around them? Lot's of people out there who, for what ever reason, don't seem to really be sharp mentally. Some of it is just age, some of it could be just the inability to stay focused; but whatever, these are dangerous drivers. Maybe we should ban driving and bring back the horse?
But our culture revolves around driving. That's why there is no viable or available public transportation in our well-to-do suburbs. No one will use it and the NIMBY's don't want it (because it may bring in undesirable people). What would be wrong with an automated system, like many airports have, to move people around? So it may not look pretty, who cares.
And why don't we educate and not legislate? Why don't we adopt a more European attitude where alcohol is not considered a taboo but more a consumable product? Why can't we teach our children what alcoholic beverages are and how alcohol affects people rather then avoid the subject. When you ban something from young people, they want it more.
To finish, people drink a lot less alcohol at social functions now then they did 30 years ago (and I know someone will pull some number up to say that isn't so; but it better be on a per capita basis - not totals or percentages) - so the problems out there are better then they used to be.
Of course, there will always be a certain percentage of people who will just abuse alcohol. That is reality

I'm overweight because fast food has too many calories.

I'm deaf because my car's sub woofer can be played way to loud.

I'm poor because no one will hire me, so I don't bother looking for a job.

I wrecked my car while texting, the manufacturer should have included a collision alert system like in commercial airliners.

My house was foreclosed for non-payment because the bank took advantage of me and gave me a loan.

I had to declare bankruptcy because the credit card companies kept offering credit that I couldn't pay.

I'm poor because assorted men got me pregnant and now I have kids that none of us are willing to support.

I got arrested for drunk driving because the bartender kept on serving me drinks that I ordered.


This has nothing to do with Extra Value Liquors. That was a unique set of circumstances.

I don’t buy Keyboard Rambo’s theory as there’s no evidence that all the NPD DUI arrests come from people leaving Naperville’s bars (as opposed to those drinking at home, at a party, or just passing through town). Plus I think Chief Dial has stated in the past that the city gets only a small percentage of the fines, etc. for each DUI arrest. I also don’t buy into Anonymous’ police state with breathalyzers at every bar entrance. If someone walks to a bar or gets a designated driver, there’s no reason to have to stay below 0.08 BAC as long as they don’t become a problem or a nuisance to the community.

I really don’t see this issue as a problem. I think the bars do a fairly good job and everyone needs to be responsible for their own actions. Personally, I think the Sun is making a mountain out of a molehill—especially now that a six-post thread has become the front page of the paper.

Chris, it appears to me that in this situation The Sun is trying to make news instead of report it. It looks like the Sun is trying to make a big deal out of a non-issue.

T.B.

Golf Gone WildWhat happens when an Elgin strip club auctions off it's strippers as caddies and sponsors a golf outing? Well, suburban moms get angry, that's what!

Police in Naperville are looking into whether there was indecent, public nudity and prostitution going on at the Country Lakes Golf Course on Monday. Residents who live around the course say there were a bunch of women dressed in g-strings and thongs acting as caddies.. but that they were doing more than just that. The strippers were seen getting paid to take off their tops and sometimes their bottoms and also "cavorting" with the players... and even having sex with them! Gasp! Guys, aren't you sorry you missed this? For only $375/player these guys got a round of strip golf and then got some at the end! Add some pizza and beer to this combo and it's every guy's wildest dream come true!

We guess we can understand why the soccer moms are pissed since the golfers & their strippers, or should we say "whores"?, could be seen from not only residences, but main streets and a new public park where children were playing. All this in a town that was just ranked America's 3rd best place to live! Now we know why!

Security guards who were present Monday refused to comment. The golf course manager said he didn't know anything about it. The strip club isn't talking either.

Images via CBS & ABC

3-3-22-1: SALES TO PERSONS OF NONAGE AND HABITUAL DRUNKARDS, MENTAL INCOMPETENTS AND INTOXICATED PERSONS:

1.No licensee or officer, associate, member, representative, agent or employee of a liquor licensee shall sell, give or deliver alcoholic liquor to any person under the age of twenty one (21) years, or to any intoxicated person, or to any person known to be a habitual drunkard, insane, mentally ill, mentally deficient or in need of mental treatment.

The only place the word intoxicated shows up in the municipal code is right here. Is there a standard definition?

Are we to assume that every single person who asks for a drink will be driving? The state has set a certain BAC to make it illegal to drive. Does that also mean that person is legally intoxicated if they exceed that level? I think not. Intoxicated seems to be a purely subjective interpretation of another's present state.

There are other ways to revoke a liquor license without revoking it; e.g. Country Lakes in 2005.

Revoking a liquor license is a very harsh, unusual and barbaric punishment used by Pradel's predecessors. The liquor license of Extra Value Liquors was revoked in the mid eighties. The liquor licenses of both Extra Value Liquors were revoked in the early nineties again.

The first license revocation reached the Supreme Court where it was reversed 9-0. The second reached the Illinios Appellate Court where it was reversed 3-0. A huge amount of taxapyer money was wasted on both cases. Unimaginable taxpayer money was expended.

I think Mayor George Pradel is doing an excellent job in handling liquor violations. Almost a perfect job. He gives out large fines and suspensions. The bars, restaurants and retail establishments get the message quickly. His approach is tantamount to tough love and tough love does work. Why go to the drastic guillotine when really it is not necessary? Why go through the costly procedure of revoking when you can simply not renew a license on May 1 of each year. So many people underestimate the brilliance of Mayor Pradel. That is why he will be Mayor forever. I do not even know why we waste taxpayer dollars having an election each 4 years for Mayor. The city council should have an executive session and bestow him Mayorship for life. If England can make certain distinguished individuals royalty why can't we have a King in Naperville instead of simply a Mayor. Imagine the tourism dollars generated as tourists would flock from all over the USA to see the only kingdom in the USA.

Back on subject. As far as downtown, a few years back, Bar Louie received substantial fines, suspensions and forced reduction in operation hours. They are now a much better place. They are still generating revenue for our tax base. If they were revoked, they would have put up a massive battle just like the Extra Value Liquor Stores that would have been unbearably costly to the taxpayers.

When you revoke a liquor license the taxpayers take it up the chin twice. Once because of lost sales tax revenues and liquor license renewal fees. Secondly, because of massive litigation fees. No liquor licensee in town is going to accept revocation without a major legal battle. If he or she does, it is like walking away from their investment. How many rational people walk away from their investments?

Binny's may have 5 million invested in their retail operation in Naperville. If Mayor Pradel revoked their license because a new employee failed to card 2 or 3 times before Binny's was aware, is Binny's going to accept this revocation or is Binny's going to use the assets of their 100 million dollar corporation to fight this revocation to the highest courts of the land?

One can say well these establisments should run sting operations to make sure their employees do not sell alcohol to minors. While this is a good idea and the owner of Extra Value Liquors won this right for all liquor licensees in the State of Illinois, the Naperville Police Dept. frowns on these kinds of sting operations. Why get on the wrong side of the NPD? Why experience their wrath as Extra Value Liquors once did!

Considering lessons learned from past history, Mayor George Pradel is simply doing an awesome job. He knows liquor licensees can not be perfect no matter how hard they try. In the end, especially in bars the individual must take personal responsibility. There is no law requiring patrons to buy all their drinks from one bartender. Therefore, a bartender can not be held responsible. There is no requirement to take a breathalyzer test at the door as you enter, in order for an establishment to know what your BAC was before you entered. If a bartender does not know you entered at .07 BAC, how would he or she know not to serve you the next drink which would certainly put you over .08 which is legally drunk. (BTW, I AM FOR EVERYONE TAKING A BREATHALYZER AT THE DOOR BEFORE ENTERING A BAR JUST LIKE THEY ARE CARDED.)

City officials, city police and last but not least Mayor George Pradel are all doing a spectacular job in how they treat downtown liquor establishments. The lessons of the Extra Value Liquor Store revocations were not lost on them.

14 years without a liquor license being suspended, and yet Naperville leads Illinois in DUI arrests? I think it would be far more productive to lean on bars to stop serving patrons until they're barfing on sidewalks and peeing in alleys on their way back to their cars where they get slapped with a DUI that will end up costing them thousands and endanger the lives of others before they fall prey to the police DUI traps.

Why doesn't Naperville take a proactive stance against drunk driving and cut it off at the source instead of letting people get totally obliterated then drive home? Follow the money:

Between 2007 and 2008, Naperville has made 1,334 DUI arrests [Source: Zimbio.com] and the average court cost of a DUI in Illinois is $3,350 [Source: CyberDriveIllinois.com]. By turning a blind eye on over serving, Naperville has made in the neighborhood of $4,468,900 in the last two years alone. This of course isn't even taking in to account the sky high food and beverage tax the city also charges on every drink served on the way to getting your DUI.

Sure, suspending liquor licenses could potentially save lives by punishing bars that serve their patrons to the point that they're driving home completely intoxicated, but by substantially reducing the amount of DUI arrests Naperville would have missed out on a cool 4.5 million dollars. If they suspend a liquor license for a week, they're losing out on all the drinks that would have been sold and all the subsequent arrests that could have been made.

Attend any City Council meeting, what's the #1 thing they are the most concerned about? The all mighty dollar. It's going to take some high profile DUI fatalities to get them to wake up, smell the coffee, and put an end to this dangerous DUI money making machine.

No establishment is going to have an unblemished record, mostly because this is an area covered by personal responsibility. However, the bars should monitor what’s going on within their walls and the habitual offenders should be fined or lose the liquor license.

T.B.

I absolutely think Naperville is being overserved... all the way from the adults in the bars to the teens at parties at home. But then, I also think the first one begets the second. If adults cannot behave responsibly it is their own fault. The establishments they frequent and are overserved at should bear a secondary responsibility if there are stipulations in their liquor liscence or city ordinances they are breaching. If there are no such provisions, there should be.

As far as underaged drinking in Naperville, I know for a fact it is much, much more prevalent and common than parents would like to believe. As a high school counselor, I have been beyond shocked at what kids do, what parents allow, and what parents are oblivious to.

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on June 23, 2009 11:53 AM.

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