Friday, November 30, 2007

On Liquor Licensing, Objectivity and Subjectivity

I know this is not a sexy subject, but I wanted to explain to Greg Helding and others what my objections are to the current method of issuing liquor licenses in the city of Racine. And for the record, I have no interest in obtaining a liquor license.

My previous concern/complaint is that the process for obtaining a liquor license is highly subjective in nature. Applicants must endure a political process which includes input from nearby residents and other concerned citizens. This may sound like a fine idea to many people, but it certainly allows for any of the isms to taint the process and make it profoundly unfair to some. Often the "some" will be black, as there is often fear, reasonable or otherwise, associated with large numbers of black people at a club or bar.

Greg Helding responded to my concern by noting the dangers of government that attempts to remove subjectivity from the process. He noted problems with OSHA, the ADA, and equal opportunity laws that try to take subjectivity out of the process. His examples were good ones and I agree with his assertion that common sense/subjectivity must play a part in government.

However, we must distinguish between branches of government. Legislators, such as Greg Helding, write laws. The executive branch enforces them and the judicial branch interprets them. The subjectivity should be a key component of the latter two branches but not so much the former. Laws should be clearly written such that any liquor license applicant would know if he or she could obtain the license.

With regards to liquor licensing in Racine, it seems to me that the legislators, or alderman, are taking on executive and judicial functions in addition to their duties as lawmakers. Often their wrangling over prospective licensees includes discussions and or requirements to aid local law enforcement with security cameras, off duty policemen etc... and rejecting certain applicants often involves judging the likelihood that an applicant will one day run afoul of the law.

If our alderman were omniscient, this would be fine policy. Until such time, we should have an objective process for obtaining liquor licenses, coupled with a degree of subectivity in enforcement of the liquor laws and the judgements rendered against those who violate the laws.


Anonymous said...

I am reminded of an experience in Milw traffic court.
After driving, parking, and waiting around in line, I get in front of a robed female judge(?) -
"How do you plead?"
"Not guilty."
"I will give you a choice of voiding the points and still paying the fine, or going to court."
"I'll take the former."
Or (few) words to that affect.
On the way back to Racine I thought how less xpensive it would be for everyone to just do that at a kiosk in the mall, or over the internet from my home.

Anonymous said...

My 90 year old grandfather, whom lived thru the idiotic years of prohibition, always said to legalize marijuana, as it creates criminals just as prohibition did with alcohol, and it was a prejudicial law.

He had a liquor still, just like those whom grow marijuana today.

Katrina said...

Marijuana should be legal (I speek for noboey else in saying this) here is why:

1. It would save taxpayer money. Any law enforcement officer will tell you that the war aginst drugs in a waste and not worth the money. The program has limited results.

2. If people want to use this drug they will weather it is ilegal or not.

3. Once someone is cought it costs about $30,000.00 peryear to lock up someone at the county jail. More wasted money.

4. Marijuana often contains rat poisn. If it were legal the FDA could moniter it's production making it even safer.

5. The government could collect tax money from it's sale reliving our tax burden.

Anonymous said...

So Karras resigns as alderman...

...and Helding with his his 'conflict of interest' with the city of Racine, broadband, and his vested interests?

Katrina said...

Peat Karras resigned whin did this happen?

Anonymous said...

I think I speak for everyone on this site by saying: "Katrina, please use proper grammar, we can not understand you."

Anonymous said...

Katrina is an accountant in Afghanistan?