KCMO liquor permit decision delayed

By Johanna Pounds
Northeast News Editorial Assistant

The Kansas City, Missouri Neighborhoods and Public Safety committee entered its third week of discussion on proposed changes to the City’s liquor card permitting process on Wednesday, October 3, and the debate will continue for at least one more week.

Committee chair Alissia Canady proposed a committee substitute to Ordinance No. 180716 during the hearing that she believed represents a compromise for those concerned about potentially removing the liquor card process entirely.

“I am trying to offer a compromise for those who have expressed concern,” Canady said. “I want to be clear: this committee was considering removing liquor cards altogether.”

Canady’s proposed substitute would disband the three-year hold for non-violent offenders seeking a liquor card, allowing them to immediately obtain a permit upon release. The substitute also says that employees of gas stations, grocery stores, and large arenas will no longer be required to obtain liquor cards to work or volunteer. The committee substitute does, however, keep in place the current five-year hold on those who have committed violent crimes such as aggravated assault, along with a complete ban for those who have committed more extreme crimes such as sexual assault, rape, or child molestation.

The ultimate goal of the changes were summarized by 1st District Councilman and ordinance sponsor Scott Wagner, who pointed out that tens of thousands of Kansas City residents are required to invest time and money to acquire liquor cards, even though violent crimes are perpetrated by only a sliver of the population.

“There’s a specific kind of category of person that we want to be sure is not anywhere near alcohol, and I get that,” Wagner said. “What is the best way to make sure that you keep those individuals out of the business?”

Some members of the public who originally came out in opposition of the ordinance agreed that the changes proposed in the committee substitute were logical. Nancy Phelps, chairwoman for the Marlborough Community Coalition, was a strong voice against the original ordinance. On October 3, though, she expressed appreciation at the changes offered by Canady’s substitute.

“I appreciate that we are focusing on the sales by drink part of this conversation,” Phelps said.

Southern Communities Coalition chairwoman Carol McClure praised the committee for engaging in an extended conversation on the issue.

“I think it’s great that there is a lot of talk going on,” McClure said. “I appreciate this committee for all of the hearings that you’ve had.”

Victoria Pickering, the Director of Advocacy at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), asked the Council committee to maintain the protections that currently exist through the liquor card process in some form, while acknowledging that ex-convicts need steady work as part of the rehabilitation process.

“We know that alcohol is the number-one substance used in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. That’s not a perception, that’s reality,” Pickering said. “We recognize that our community having access to employment is a form of violence prevention in itself.”

Other public testimony in opposition to the committee substitute primarily suggested that the changes constrict the ability of an ex-convict to get a job as a bartender or server.

“My thoughts have changed through the course of this,” said Kevin Timmons, owner of Nick and Jake’s and president of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association. “I am less worried about a server at Ruby Tuesday’s than I am about the guest at the bar.”

Eric Wesson, the publisher of the Kansas City Call who runs a program and call service for ex-felons, agreed with Timmons.

“My concern is for this to open another avenue with which to discriminate people,” Wesson.

Wesson further worried that a lot of concerns surrounding this ordinance have been sensationalized and have not been looking at the actual facts.

“Are we going to regulate everything?” he wondered.

Third District councilman Quinton Lucas and 1st District councilwoman Heather Hall both asked for the ordinance to be held another week, as neither Council member felt they had enough time to look over the current committee substitute. The committee will meet again on October 17, where they will attempt to make a recommendation on the ordinance to the full City Council.

Comments are closed.

  • Holiday Puppy Party at the North-East Library

    7 hours ago

    Dorri Partain Northeast News The Northeast Library teamed up with KC Pet Project for last Sunday’s Holiday Puppy Party.  Participants […]

    Operation Santa kicks off today at Della Lamb, serving over 1,000 local residents

    December 7th, 2018

    This project will serve over 1,000 low-income families, giving them all the items needed for a full Christmas.

    Congressman Cleaver announces $25 million grant to improve Buck O’Neil Bridge

    December 7th, 2018

    The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will include creating a wider bridge span, separated facilities for pedestrians bicyclists, and connector ramps.

    KC Streetcar offers holiday performances for riders

    December 5th, 2018

    Johanna Pounds Editorial Assistant Northeast News This holiday season, the Kansas City Streetcar is holding its second annual Holiday Jam. […]

    Delivery services offer tips on keeping packages safe this season

    December 5th, 2018

    Johanna Pounds Editorial Assistant Northeast News Online shopping season is upon us. Kicking off with Cyber Monday, online sales increase […]

  • Animating the world around us: A profile on Ben Radatz

    December 5th, 2018

    Reese Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News Even though animator Ben Radatz moved from Kansas City earlier this year to Los […]

    Northeast Chamber of Commerce discusses Independence MAX and Employer Pass Program at monthly meeting

    December 5th, 2018

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Tuesday, November 27th, the Northeast Chamber of Commerce held their monthly luncheon to discuss the Employer […]

    Kansas City Fire Department commemorates 30th anniversary of six firefighter’s ultimate sacrifice

    December 5th, 2018

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News The Kansas City Fire Department and the community gathered November 29, to commemorate the 30th anniversary […]

    Historic homes welcome crowds during annual Homes Tour in the Northeast

    December 4th, 2018

    Visitors were able to walk through the homes, meet some of the owners, and see the remarkable restorations that have taken place.

    Online enrollment for KCPS Signature Schools begins today

    December 4th, 2018

    Online enrollment for Kansas City Public School signature schools begins today. Each Signature School has its own enrollment standards and is free for any qualifying child that lives within the KCPS boundaries.

  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

    Bed & Breakfast on Gladstone Boulevard

    Northeast News Now in its fourth year of operation, the Inn at 425 remains a labor of love. The evidence […]

    Anatomy of a Hack Piece

    Once again our ol buddies over at The Pitch magazine have broken new ground in an attempt to remain relevant […]