To the editor:
A little over a month ago the Chronicle ran an article which reported on a St Charles City Council discussion regarding whether Aldermen could hold liquor licenses.
The article titled, “St Charles to continue ban on allowing public officials to hold liquor licenses,” was reasonably reported, but it wasn’t the whole story.
The question of aldermen holding liquor licenses was considered because I, Paul Lencioni, owner of Blue Goose Market and a St Charles liquor license holder, asked our city council to consider changing the St Charles city rule prohibiting liquor license holders from becoming aldermen because I am interested in running for alderman.
I had thought there would be plenty of support from the council. Both Geneva and Batavia have removed this rule from their city code with a broad contingent of support.
For background, city rules like this were common in the early half of the 1900s but are now outdated and being removed in many cities. Only one alderman spoke in what I’d call enlightened support of allowing the citizens to choose whichever representative they believed to be best, regardless of whether that candidate was a businessperson with a liquor license.
The St. Charles aldermen got it wrong. First, I disagree that aldermen should limit who is eligible to join their ranks without an incredibly compelling need. Second, I don’t think that it makes any sense to exclude any very civic minded, engaged entrepreneurs like restaurant owners, supermarket owners, or others with liquor licenses from offering to serve the community where they are so connected.
A local businessperson is intimately involved and experienced with so many of the important issues a city must get right to be the best hometown for everyone. áIt makes sense to allow these local leaders to vie for City Council. We shouldn’t exclude any talented, motivated leaders who are willing run for leadership roles in our community.
Third and most importantly, this is a decision that 100% belongs to the citizens. The City Council needs to allow the residents to decide who represents them. If the residents don’t want an alderman with a liquor license that needs to be up to the residents.
I will continue the effort to reason with the St. Charles City Council to change the city rule preventing liquor license holders from serving as aldermen. I am still going to campaign for the position of St. Charles third ward alderman in the April election even though I cannot currently be seated. I continue because I believe the citizens of St. Charles must always come first.
Our municipal decisions must focus on creating goodwill and community for all of us and holding a liquor license doesn’t have anything to do with that.