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Greg Page coined the phrase, Home Run Derby.
After a recent Council meeting in which there were a series of emotional speeches preceding what would clearly be a 9-0 vote, I was searching for a term for these sorts of things, and settled on “Home Run Derby.” Why?
Because everyone can get up, take their cuts for the fence in Barry Bonds-ahead-of-the-count-and-nothing-to-lose fashion, while the pitches are coming in straight to the wheelhouse and no one is playing defense.
Last night’s City Council meeting met the criteria for a ‘Home Run Derby’ and then some. Unfortunately, we need a new phrase for the ‘and then some.’ What do we call it, or should call it, when a Councilor jumps in front of a moving band wagon, in the hopes of taking credit for the soon to come achievement.
LOWELL - The City Council sent a firm message to the License Commission Tuesday night that it wants the board to remove from proposed new rules for city liquor licensees the requirements that entertainment end 45 minutes before closing, and entry or re- entry cease one hour before closing.
The Council voted 9- 0 to approve Councilor Ed Kennedy’s motion that called for the deletion of those two items and requested the liquor panel instead consider making them special conditions that could apply to problem bars.
Kennedy stressed he does not want the License Commission to think that by voting to approve the entertainment and re- entry regulations as general conditions that it would be abiding by the council’s wishes.
City Solicitor Christine O’Connor suggested that the License Commission may be able to come up with a compromise on the re- entry and entertainment regulations.
Since the new rules call for ” last call” to be a half hour before an establishment’s closing time, she said that could be a time for entry and re- entry to end.
The issues with downtown bars and an obstinate License Commission goes back to before C.Kennedy was sworn in. The snowball that has been steadily gaining speed is headed towards a Public Hearing. Maybe even the ‘final’ Public Hearing? Well, C.Kennedy, it is an election year you know, has opted to hijack the process. By climbing into the ‘front seat,’ Kennedy is getting in front of what many consider a foregone conclusion, that the License Commission is going to compromise on the new provisions. Yes, I said, ‘forgone conclusion.’ Y’know, like Brian Martin becoming the High School Headmaster.
So, at the last moment, Kennedy thrusts himself in front of the parade, wrestling the baton away from License Commission Chairman Brian Akashian, and marches on towards the City election.
Can you think of a better explanation for this?:
“I would like the council to take a vote and send a message to the License Commission, and for the commission to well receive the council’s vote when making a decision on these two provisions,” said Kennedy.
The councilor has proposed that the two rules instead be considered as special conditions which could be applied to bars that pose problems.
“There are only a couple problem establishments in the city, so the re-entry and entertainment rules should only be used when corrective action is needed,” said Kennedy, adding that many bars cause no issues.
But License Commission Chairman Brian Akashian said the commission won’t be bound by whatever the council does Tuesday.
The chairman said he is pleased with the package of rules the commission is bringing forth to a public hearing, calling the proposed changes a compromise between all stakeholders involved.
He also said the new rules, which the council has sought, were crafted with input from the city’s Law Department and Police Department at the meetings.
Akashian also said he’s not impressed that Kennedy has gone public, rather than stating his objections at their meetings.
I’m glad Lowell is making serious headway on the problems that had been plaguing the late night, downtown scene. I’m even glad that C.Kennedy has helped move things along. But, come on? Last Tuesday’s charade was, not only ‘awkward’ for the City Charter, it was pure election season posing? Has C.Kennedy held his fundraising event, yet? The local pourers will not be poorer, if things work out.
Check Tuesday’s meeting. The motion in question starts at 1:41:33:
Epilogue: It will work better for all, if the more heavy handed elements of the proposed License Commission regs are shifted under the area of “Special Conditions,” only if the infractions that trigger their implementation are stark. The discretion of the License Commission should not be open to criticism, by leaving an ill defined ’strike zone’ for liquor serving establishments. Ensuring that any and all bar owners will meet the License Commission, in it’s current form or future configuration, on a level playing field, with a clearly defined ’strike zone.’
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