Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Ward 8 Alderman Ross Arnett invites residents to meet with him on Thursday, November 8th, 7 p.m., at the Eastport Fire Station to discuss, crime initiatives, the 2 am liquor licenses, the bill to ban plastic bags, and any other issues on your mind. CP applauds Arnett for putting on this meeting and wonders, if maybe, just maybe CP's reporting oin the grumblings of many Eastporters about his less than stellar record on communicationg with them had any impact. Herewith is the Alderman's response to CP about the upcoming meeting and its issues:

"I plan to vote no for the current version of the plastic bag ordinance. I don't believe bans are the correct place to start and I don't think paper is much better than plastic from an environmental perspective, setting aside the litter issue. My approach is for the City to provide reusable cloth bags, just like we provide blue recycling tubs. I'd also like to see a bag fee for both paper and plastic bags. That would make the user aware of the number of bags they use and encourage the use of their own bags. In my household we use reusable or no bag at all. The City can use the fee to defray the cost of the reusable bags and also put recycling bins in all the commercial areas. It can also get more serious in helping to recycle plastics and paper of all sorts with some additional funds.

I also plan to vote no on the 2 AM. liquor licenses. The City has virtually no enforcement for the late night scene. The ABC has no staff to enforce and the police only break up fights, they don't go after excessive drinking or under age drinkers. They certainly don't follow patrons back to their cars to make sure that they don't commit unsavory acts. And of course, we have larger crime issues that the police should be attending to, rather than spending late night at the foot of Main Street. If the ordinance were amended to address enforcement, I may reconsider.

But there are two other issues that trouble me. This ordinance undoes the Ward One sector Plan and I don't think it is appropriate for the Council to over ride that agreement, which was worked on and agreed to by a large number of Ward One residents, businesses and the alderman at the time. In addition, other concessions regarding the number of restaurant seats and the food verses alcohol splits were made as part of the plan agreements. Will they be rolled back as well?

Finally, I worry about the economic impact of the ordinance. We all know that the sale of liquor is quite profitable, much more so that the sale of food. Many of the bars owners have told me that these two additional hours will more than double their profits. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it does have the potential to out compete other business and give us a glut of new bars. This is especially true in new redevelopment areas like outer West Street. Remember, this ordinance applies City-wide.

To date the sponsor has not addressed any of my issues, and, failing that, I can not vote for the ordinance.

I do plan to speak about these issues at the Ward 8 meeting and I will listen to the views of those who attend. I'm keeping an open mind, but for now my vote is no for both."


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