Mayor Daley

In my blog of May 29, 2009, (Crying in Your Beer), I wrote, “People justify liquor consumption by stating that a glass of wine is “good for your heart. Maybe one glass of wine a day is healthy, but people do not stop at one glass. Why don’t people realize what mental, physical and emotional destruction is caused by excessive liquor consumption?” Obviously not Mayor Daley who recently said, “"Many times, people enjoy to have a drink. Is there anything wrong with that?”

The Mayor made that statement to justify his desire to allow vendors to sell beer and wine from stationary pushcarts located beyond security checkpoints at the airports and by allowing restaurants and bars that now shut down at 10 or 11 p.m. to sell hard liquor 24-hours-a-day. Currently, the closing hours for a standard liquor license are 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday mornings, and 3 a.m., Sunday mornings. With a Late Hour License, licensed establishments are permitted to remain open until 4 a.m., Monday through Saturday mornings, and 5 a.m., Sunday mornings. The legal time for opening is 7 a.m., Monday through Saturday mornings, and 11 a.m., Sunday, regardless of whether a late hour license is held. If someone NEEDS to have an alcoholic beverage available 24 hours a day, they are not drinking to “enjoy to have a drink,” as the Mayor ungrammatically said; but because they are an alcoholic!

According to the Sun Times, “The city would establish two types of licenses. A Class A license would be issued to establishments that already operate bars or restaurants where liquor is sold for consumption on the premises. Those licenses would cost $1,000 and last for one year. For every license a bar or restaurant holds it would get one pushcart. A Class B license would allow concessionaires whose establishments are temporarily closed for construction to sell liquor from a pushcart. That license would cost $600 and be limited to 180 days and be valid, only when the applicant’s leased location at O’Hare or Midway was closed.”Further, “Pushcarts would be prohibited from selling or serving "spirits by the bottle" and package goods. They would also be prohibited from allowing seating. O’Hare currently has 32 liquor licenses. Midway has 11. Under the Mayor’s plan, airport establishments that currently sell liquor could be open around-the-clock. “

The most consumed beverage in the world is soda. (With, of course, Diet Coke being the most perfect and delicious beverage! I don’t drink water because that is where fish defecate.) So if soda is drunk by more people than anything else, why does the airport have to offer liquor 24 hours a day? If one wants to “enjoy to have a drink,” it does not have to contain alcohol.

In 2009, according to Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico Udall there were 10,000 cases of air rage, a figure that is 400% higher than incidents in 2000. When Senator Diane Feinstein tried to pass a bill limiting people to only two drinks apiece on airplanes she used the figure of 5,000 incidents a year. Which ever number is correct, even one incident of a drunken airline passenger is one too many. While it is never pleasant to be around a drunk, being closeted with one on an airplane is horrendous! But the Mayor wants people to “enjoy to have a drink” at all hours with no regard to the consequences.

The Mayor’s proposal would give Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andalino authority to determine the number of pushcarts in each terminal, their hours of operation, their location and their design. Andolino would establish a "lottery or other neutral process" for allocating pushcart liquor licenses in the event that "demand exceeds available locations."

Remember that this is Chicago. When has there ever been a “neutral process” to determine who is going to rake in the bucks with an airport concession? I can just about guarantee that the owners of the pushcarts will all have names that are recognizable as political pals and contributors. I doubt if there will be a “Bob’s Beer” cart. Unless Robert’s last name is Vanecko. Since the Mayor’s nephew’s other investments have not worked out, maybe this one would.

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