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St. Charles mayoral hopefuls talk video gaming

ST. CHARLES – The city’s next mayor likely will support St. Charles’ ban on video gaming, although certain conditions could change some candidates’ minds.

The candidates – Ray Rogina, Jotham Stein, Jake Wyatt and John Rabchuk – addressed this and other topics Wednesday during a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County.

The election is Tuesday.

It would take a lot to persuade Rabchuk to support video gambling, the 62-year-old said, noting he doesn’t see where the activity fits in the city’s identity.

Although Rogina, 65, believes residents of his ward aren’t interested in allowing video gaming in St. Charles, he said he could support the activity if it is set up to share proceeds with a social agency.

Stein, 51, said he opposes video gaming, which preys on the most unfortunate. However, he would rethink his position if neighboring cities allow the practice and draw business away from St. Charles.

Wyatt, 65, said he agrees with Stein’s caveat, but he would seek input from residents before any vote.

Regarding liquor licenses and the city’s liquor code, Wyatt said nothing good happens after midnight. The liquor codes are too loose, and he said he wants distinctions made between restaurants and taverns and defined escalation of penalties.

Rabchuk said the troubles with the bars downtown are symptoms of a problem rather than the cause. St. Charles needs a vision for downtown, he said.

Rogina, a 3rd Ward alderman, noted he proposed changes to the liquor code at a recent meeting, including the distinction between bars and restaurants and the creation of a multimember Liquor Commission to review violations.

As a lawyer, Stein said he would enforce the existing liquor laws. The key, he said, is to bring more businesses downtown; the bars will stick out less, and the bad ones will go out of business.

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