Saturday, August 4, 2018

School proximity restrictions about politics more than public safety

The political reporter-type person in me always found humorous the laws that were meant to restrict proximity to a school or church – usually based on the concept that certain individuals or businesses have no business locating hear the youthful or the overly-holy amongst us.
BERRIOS: Name in news despite himself

No strip clubs or dive taverns across the street from a church or convent (remember that bar in west suburban Stone Park that ultimately lost its liquor license because the nuns nearby didn’t appreciate the drunken neighbors?).

THEY ALWAYS STRUCK me as something overly simplistic, and not always easy to enforce. Particularly if they come down to issues of “How close is too close?”

So I was intrigued by a pair of stories I stumbled across Friday.

One involved Gov. Bruce Rauner signing off on a long-standing change to state law that requires the General Assembly to approve amendments to the state’s Liquor Control Law for every instance for every instance where alcohol is served within 100 feet of a church or school.

Now, municipal officials will have the authority to issue exemptions. No more having to get the legislative types who, theoretically, ought to be preoccupied with bigger issues instead of worrying about where taverns are located in the neighborhoods.

THERE ALSO WAS a Chicago Sun-Times report about the company that oversees parking of cars for various public events at privately-owned lots.

In the instance that has the newspaper all worked up, people attending ballgames at Wrigley Field are parking their cars in, amongst other places, a lot that is part of the Inter-American School property two blocks away on Waveland Avenue.

The “controversial” part is that the Blk & Wht Valet LLC employed an individual to work at that lot who has a criminal record for sex offenses – and part of his penalty is that he is required to list himself as a sex offender, which limits the places where he can be.
RAUNER: Giving local officials more control

And as the Sun-Times chose to phrase it, their reporters found the employee in question at work, “with kids swinging on the monkey bars behind him.”

FOR THE RECORD, that employee has since been fired from his job, although it seems the company may wind up losing its contract for claims they didn’t do an adequate background check on their employee.

Although the Sun-Times reports the company saying the worker in question didn’t indicate his criminal record on his job application. Which would put this incident in the category of a person with a record hoping it wouldn’t catch up with him.

In short, an incident where such restrictions aren’t the easiest thing to enforce. I suspect, however, this particular worker is going to think he’s the victim – yet another incident of “the system” working to keep him unemployed.

One thing that caught my attention is the political connections of the company that, basically, is using other peoples’ property to park cars near Wrigley, along with Guaranteed Rate Field and the United Center.

ONE OWNER IS the son-in-law of soon-to-be former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios (he’s married to former state Rep. Toni Berrios) and also is a grandson of a former Chicago Public Schools official with ties to the 11th Ward Democratic Organization (a.k.a., the Daley family).
How tame is parking nearby?

By comparison, Rauner indicated his support of the state law change is meant to create greater local control, since he told the Chicago Tribune that many state legislators used the law to maintain a sense of local influence in their home neighborhoods.

After all, getting the legislator to support your measure would require a campaign contribution to the appropriate authority, with other legislators across the state sticking up for their colleagues even though they often knew nothing of the local situation.

So no matter how much people spew rhetoric about these laws somehow benefitting children and the public safety, in the end, they all come down to political concerns.


No comments: