When it comes to requests for 3 a.m. liquor licenses, Ward 7 Ald. Judy Yeager casts a no vote almost before Mayor Tim Davlin even finishes reading the ordinance.
As a member of the City Council’s public-affairs committee, Yeager also insists that any ordinance related to a liquor license be placed on the debate agenda, as opposed to the consent agenda, whose typically noncontroversial items are approved as a group.
However, aldermen serving on this and other committees will change when voters pick new city leadership in April. Yeager, who departs this spring after serving on the council for 12 years, worries that future public-affairs committees may abandon the practice of putting liquor licenses requests on the debate agenda, which may ultimately make it easier for establishments to obtain liquor licenses.
“There’s an awful lot of people who are disgusted with those 3 a.m.’s for a variety of reasons — one certainly being the amount of energy and time they consume of the police and fire department,” she says.
On Tuesday night, the council approved one of those coveted 3 a.m. permits for Club 217, on the city’s east side.
The night before, Yeager, whose father was killed in 1954 by a drunken driver, made the motion to place the nightclub’s request on the debate agenda. (Also on Monday, Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards proposed expanding the number of one-time extended hours permits from three to five in a given year so bars can take advantage of three-day holiday weekends.)
Although she especially has a problem with 3 a.m. licenses, Yeager thinks that all applications for booze sales should be scrutinized. She hopes that the person her ward elects to fill her slot carries on the tradition.
“This has not just been Judy Yeager’s personal mission,” she says. “There’s been many people — far more than those who complain about me — who have thanked me for doing this and being the voice that they couldn’t be, and certainly for the voices who couldn’t speak because they have been killed by drunk drivers.”
Contact R.L. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org.