SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Missing the point

Monday, Jul 14, 2014

* Sun-Times

At last month’s grand opening of a shopping center anchored by a Pete’s Fresh Market grocery, Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the supermarket as an oasis in what had been a “food desert” on the West Side.

Besides food, Pete’s also sells liquor — even though the new store is next door to a church, the Greater Bethlehem Healing Temple, and state law bans liquor sales within 100 feet of churches or schools.

So how can Pete’s be selling beer, wine and spirits?

With a little help from influential friends including Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who’s gotten tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the grocer in the past two years. […]

“This facility will be within 75 feet of our church,” Greater Bethlehem Bishop Chester Hudson wrote in a June 5 letter to Quinn. “We have received calls from local politicians and lobbyists on their behalf. Our response has been the same: NO.”

* The real problem here is the state’s outdated “blue laws.”

Look, nobody wants a seedy liquor store next door to anything. But a brand new supermarket? C’mon, man.

Go take a look at Google’s “Street View” of the church’s address. The block is mostly empty lots.

* The “scandal” in this story is that a legitimate business had to fork over campaign contributions, hire a Statehouse lobbyist and pass a bill just to open a much-needed grocery store over the objections of a church.

Oy.

The bill was originally introduced in 2013 by Senate President John Cullerton as an empty shell. These shells are used all the time because the state laws are so onerous. Sen. Iris Martinez took sponsorship in March of this year. Her original amendment exempted two Chicago church properties from the state’s blue law.

Rep. Dan Burke filed an amendment in the House which expanded the number of churches exempted from two to four and added other provisions

Adds provisions that authorize the sale of alcoholic liquor within 100 feet of a specific school, a specific club that leases space to a school, and 4 specific churches located in the City of Chicago. Changes a specific exception to provisions concerning the sale of alcoholic liquor within 100 feet of a church, school, or hospital by providing that the shortest distance between the premises and the church or school is at least 66 feet (rather than 35 feet) apart and no greater than 81 feet (rather than 45 feet) apart. Further amends the Liquor Control Act of 1934 by providing that, subject to certain conditions, alcoholic liquors may be delivered to and sold at retail in any building owned by the Six Mile Regional Library District.

The library district, by the way, is in Granite City - far from Chicago.

The state law needs to be changed. Supermarkets shouldn’t have to go through this long and painful process just to open their doors.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:20 am:

    But if the laws were sensible, how would a hard working lawmaker provide constituent services well enough to earn unsolicited campaign contributions?


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:25 am:

    The blue laws are just silly.

    Old St. Pat’s has one of the biggest keggers of the summer to raise money, shutting down the streets around the church.

    Of course, they’re pretty wired to begin with.


  3. - John A Logan - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    Perhaps this needs to be amended such that those businesses that derive less then 50% of their sales from alcohol are exempt from the blue laws. That would seemingly strike a balance and be easy enough to do.


  4. - Wumpus - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    John A. Logan for Lt Gov! The A is for awesome post


  5. - Pete - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    John A Logan…

    If the other 51% of sales come from tobacco, candy, soda, and gasoline would that count?


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    Of course many blue laws are silly. But they do exist for a reason. As Rich says, no one wants a seedy liquor store opening next to a church. But try writing a law that will keep that seedy liquor store from opening while allowing a supermarket. It’s tough. That’s why we have zoning boards and variances. The church also has rights. We may or may not agree with the church’s stance, but it is the church’s right to say, “Hey, wait a minute.” I’m not sure that a change in state law was wise here. All too often, when we change statutes because of some outlier thing, we end up creating more problems down the road. Was there a way to accomplish the end with a variance? Not sure, but this sure smells like a local, not a state, issue.


  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    ===Was there a way to accomplish the end with a variance? ===

    Nope.

    And that’s the whole problem. Dump the stupid blue laws and let the locals decide.


  8. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Tangent but Greater Bethlehem Healing Temple on Madison has a fascinating history - check out their web page. Many of the members aren’t from the neighborhood (though they do some great work in the community). If the westward creep of the gentrification on Madison continues that area is going to be changing a lot in the near future.


  9. - Joan P. - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    “The church also has rights. ”

    I’ve never understood why churches get special privileges. If the neighbors as a whole don’t want this, vote the precinct dry. These kinds of zoning reg, like the rules about liquor licenses, are just a huge scam.


  10. - Judgment Day - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    “Perhaps this needs to be amended such that those businesses that derive less then 50% of their sales from alcohol are exempt from the blue laws. That would seemingly strike a balance and be easy enough to do.”

    It’s a brand new store. What sales? And if it’s a typical bureaucracy, they’ll want a minimum three months worth of data (probably 6 months).

    Best alternative is just do away with the blue laws. Imagine that, fewer laws to deal with.


  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    ===Best alternative is just do away with the blue laws===

    Exactly right. Let the locals decide.


  12. - Goooner - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    I’m with Joan P.

    Why do churches get special protection when it comes to who their neighbors should be?

    If there is a reasonable justification for this law, I’m just not seeing it.


  13. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    On the positive side, at least this is a simple statute change unlike some place like Alabama where simple local changes often require a state constitutional amendment. But if that’s all you can say that is positive, there’s a problem.


  14. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Exactly right. Let the locals decide.

    Yep, if you want to be what South Holland was in the 70s knock yourself out. Not sure this is a state thing.


  15. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    “Go take a look at Google’s “Street View” of the church’s address. The block is mostly empty lots. ”

    And while you are on Google Maps, type in ‘groceries’ in the search box and observe the vast, vast food desert for yourself.


  16. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    The more convoluted the rules are, the more necessary we (our “leaders”) are.

    After all, someone has to help constituents navigate through so many of these difficult situations. Never mind who created these rules or fails to fix them in the first place.


  17. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    == Why do churches get special protection when it comes to who their neighbors should be? ==

    Why do elementary schools or some community centers get special protections?

    This sounds like a case of a grocery store needlessly getting caught up in terribly outdated “blue” tape. That said, if we are going to apply equal standards then let’s make sure we apply them equally to all. Otherwise, valid reasons may exist for some of those “special protections”. Putting say, a strip club, across the street from either a church or a children’s school seems a bit much.


  18. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    == Why do churches get special protection when it comes to who their neighbors should be? ==

    Why do elementary schools or some community centers get special protections?


  19. - Goooner - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Formerly,

    Because schools have unaccompanied kids going to and from them.

    Seems obvious to me.


  20. - Ghost - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    I want a combo liquor store auto dealer open Sunday morning…


  21. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Gooner,

    As do some churches and other community centers on various days, especially during the summer. That particular point is not much of a difference or distinction.

    It sounds as though you have no qualms about any form of “adult entertainment” venues next door to a church, synagogue, convent or mosque?


  22. - Living in Machiaville - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Digging your public service messages Rich. So much sanity needs to be added to the hyper-bolic eager-to-find-dirt press, no matter from what presuasion. Your take on bureaucrats being human and arcane processes are sopt on as well. I’d say “keep it up dude” but that would be superfulous.


  23. - downstate hack - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Put the Liquor department of the part of the store farthest from the Church. That would get it much more than 100 feet away. (Snark)


  24. - Jay Dee - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Blue laws most likely will stick around because there isn’t any political pressure to repeal them; they’re mainly just an inconvenience to the average person while folks who support them, like the church, would probably mobilize if a legislator introduced a repeal bill.


  25. - Chicago Bars - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    That 100′ law is a very outdated state level blue law. It was one reason (among several) Trader Joe’s pulled out of doing a proposed store in the middle of Wicker Park / Bucktown.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140710/wicker-park/wicker-park-trader-joes-plan-dead-after-grocer-pulls-out

    It’s an outdated blue law. Ditch the law and give the local liquor commissions a few months to choose whether to adopt their own silly local blue law. The statute nearly killed the legendary Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap in Hyde Park.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-03-23/news/0003230447_1_liquor-license-parking-lot-bar


  26. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Not much different than residents not wanting bars next to them, which in turn restaurants have to be BYOB.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* No pension bump for Stermer, MJM still not persuaded on special session
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - More comptroller stuff
* 1:30 comptroller announcement expected - Stermer appointed, says he will resign January 12th
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Comptroller stuff
* Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Bears open thread
* More adventures in misgovernance
* Question of the day - Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Petulance all around
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Announcement timing is everything
        * Galaxy Note Edge Review
        * Oppo R5 vs HTC One M8: Thin vs. Powerful
        * Bring Back the Old School with the NES30 Bluetooth Controller [DEALS]
        * OnePlus One mini, BlackBerry Classic, Windows Phone ups & downs | Pocketnow Weekly 127
        * Get off the fence and go get a smartwatch
        * Apple Watch retail, Android Wear Lollipop, Nexus 6 comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap

        * You Will Get to See “The Interview,” Sony Lawyer Says
        * Amazon Web Services adds to its enterprise war chest
        * 9 Amazing Gifts for the Hearthstone Addict
        * Obama Says Sony Hack Is Not an Act of War
        * BackBeat Fit wireless headphones: Made for exercising to music
        * Five Best iPad Cases
        * Dr. Evil Invades SNL to Blast North Korea and Sony (Video)

        * The year in injuries: White Sox have been better, could've been worse
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * White Sox also had a December to remember 100 years ago
        * Terrerobytes: Future of Cuban baseball complicated on both sides
        * White Sox sign George Kottaras to a minor league deal
        * Kottaras to join White Sox with Minor League deal

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Public Pensions Are America's Greece..
        * Republicans On Special Session..
        * Havenstein to New Hampshire Supporters: 'You In.....
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of dogs, housi.....
        * Mother speaks at slain Chicago teen's funeral..


        * Report: Illinois treasurer OK'd raises for dozens
        * 1 dead, many injured in shooting at suburban party
        * Milestone in osprey program as birds migrate
        * Raising juror pay, reducing juries gets mixed reviews
        * Police looking for suspect in Effingham shooting
        * Firefighters battle grain bin fire for 9 hours
        * 1 dead, many injured in shooting at suburban party
        * Mother speaks at slain Chicago teen's funeral
        * Chicago mayor's teenage son mugged near home
        * 2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Quinn signs bill increasing juror pay
        * Quinn names longtime aide Jerry Stermer comptroller until Jan. 12
        * Quinn signs law to nix deadline for asbestos lawsuits
        * Quinn to name comptroller replacement this afternoon
        * Madigan says T-Mobile settlement shields consumers
        * Quinn calls legislature back to Springfield to approve special election to replace Topinka
        * Audit: DCFS loses track of runaways

        * Can Garcia's run for mayor fire up independents?
        * Chicago's newest workout (and personal statement) options
        * A photo shop for photographers
        * The Life of Patrick Ryan: Act II, Scene 2
        * Office conversions kick small firms to the curb


        * Lakeview pot dispensary on hold; Tunney opposes Halsted location
        * Despite community pleas, CPS puts Dyett HS out for proposals
        * Quinn to appoint new Illinois Comptroller today
        * Gov. Quinn appoints longtime aide as Illinois comptroller
        * Watch: President Obama's year-end press conference
        * Rewriting the Sony cyberattack script
        * time for new course in Cuba
        * Are Rahm's numbers creeping up? New internals show him near 50
        * Obama guidance, press schedule, Dec. 19, 2014. Press conference
        * A whole lot of nothing from the City Council


        * Boy, 17, wounded in Far South Side shooting
        * South Loop crash leaves two dead, one hospitalized
        * One killed, as many as 10 more shot at south suburban house party
        * At least 5 wounded in shootings since Saturday evening
        * FBI: 'Play-Along Bandit' hits 6th bank
        * Emanuel's son robbed near family's North Side home
        * Man dies day after Albany Park shooting
        * Demario Bailey funeral: 'The kids are the world. It starts with them'
        * DNA leads to murder charges in 1994 stabbing
        * 1 dead, 16 injured in separate shootings


        * Listen to State Week - December 19, 2014
        * Quinn Picks Budget Chief To Be Temporary Comptroller
        * 'Uber-gentrification' a force in Chicago's West Loop
        * Durbin leaving Congressional roommates behind
        * Worries rise in Russia as ruble falls
        * Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings
        * Chicago 'petcoke' handler says it'll enclose piles
        * Waukegan woman seeks to trademark 'I can't breathe'
        * Obama re-establishing US relations with Cuba
        * Teaching hospitals hit hardest by medicare fines for patient safety


        * Quote of the day: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of dogs, housing and the work ahead as governor
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Cathy Becker: Because it’s the right thing to do
        * T. Ray McJunkins: Justice, righteousness descend to fulfill dream
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Sen. Dick Durbin: Clean water access bill honors Simon
        * Charles Krauthammer: How to fight the lone wolf
        * Quote of the day: Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014


        * Fishel 50th
        * I Can Read! of Southern Illinois celebrates student achievement
        * Off the beat: Two dead in head-on collision on I-55
        * Williamson County commissioners frustrated over lack of changes
        * Be smart: Keep your home safe during holidays
        * Neighborhood watch: Crimes of the week
        * Communities show support for family of Lux Brymer
        * Man killed in accident near Heyworth
        * Historic Route 66 goes electric; charging stations to be added between metro-east and Chicago
        * Ready for a road trip? Historic Route 66 goes electric


        * Bears' Long inactive for Lions game with hip injury
        * West side of A&M's Kyle Field imploded
        * Memphis, BYU meet in inaugural Miami Beach Bowl
        * Mixed reviews for raising juror pay, reducing juries
        * Congresswoman speaks at Bradley graduation

        * Schock touts ABLE Act to help parents, chi...
        * Schock on Cuba Relations - WICS-TV
        * Schock Discusses New Able Act - WICS-TV
        * Caterpillar, farm group welcome Cuba polic...
        * Those with disabilities can better plan fo...
        * US Representative hosting conferences to d...
        * New Philadelphia site now closer to Nation...
        * Mr. President, sign the Water for the Worl...
        * Congressman Schock on 2015 Spending Bill -...
        * Schock says bill will fund billions in upg...

        * U.S. Senator Calling For Better Prosthetic......

        * GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski Supports Gay Marriage...
        * Second GOP Senator Backs Gay Marriage...

        * Rubio.
        * Sunday reads.
        * Mayor Emanuel continues getting cash from firms managing Chicago's pension money
        * Islamic State Mocks US With Photoshopped Santa Held Hostage
        * Islamic State Mocks U.S. With Photoshopped Santa Held Hostage
        * Politically Connected Profit From United Center Parking Scam
        * Ready Aim Fire
        * Havana memories.
        * Walter Esler: “My brother walked from an empty room into a room full of people.”
        * Illinois Policy staff threatened with arrest at union-lead trainings


        * Governor Quinn Appoints Jerry Stermer as Illinois Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Calls Legislative Special Session - Governor Urges Legislature to Set Up 2016 Special Election for Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Announces Illinois’ Unemployment Rate Hits New Low - Illinois’ Economic Comeback Continues; Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level in More than Six Years
        * Illinois Ranks #1 in Volunteer Rate Among the Country’s 8 Largest States - 2.57 Million Illinoisans Give $7.2 Billion in Service
        * Law Enforcement, IDOT Make Final Push to Save Lives in 2014, Roadside Safety Checks Planned Over Holidays - New Episode of “The Driving Dead” Premieres Friday as Holiday Travelers are Reminded to Drive Sober and Buckle Up




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller