RACINE — The Racine City Council on Tuesday night decided to send the liquor license of Curmudgeon’s Pub & Grill, 3458 Rapids Drive, to a due process hearing.
Also Tuesday, the Committee of the Whole directed a proposal by City Attorney Scott Letteney to change liquor licensing revocation practices back to his office for a re-draft with requested changes.
The Committee of the Whole meeting included a lengthy back and forth about a demerit-points system included in the city attorney’s proposal that would track offenses by Racine liquor license holders. The discussion was followed by a motion by 4th District Alderman Tracey Larrin that was approved to send the proposal back to the City Attorney’s Office for a redraft that would nix the points system.
Letteney explained that the points system aimed to create objective standards regarding discipline for liquor licensees who violate state laws or city ordinances. The point system was meant to guide city officials in determining whether to consider suspending or revoking a license through a due process hearing.
The proposal would also shift the responsibility of recommending licensee discipline from the Public Safety and Licensing Committee — the same committee that would act as a jury during the following due process hearing — to an independent jury. Many of the aldermen who spoke out against the points system said they favored this part of the proposal.
First District Alderman Jeff Coe spoke out against the points system.
“We’re trying to fix something that’s not broken,” he said.
He added that he was in favor of ensuring that the Public Safety and Licensing Committee was not judge and jury.
Alderman Melissa Lemke of the 15th District said that although she wasn’t against axing the points system, she favored some sort of objective standard by which to judge violations so that the Public Safety and Licensing Committee treats businesses equally for equal violations.
“I just think there needs to be some sort of consistency,” she said.
Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II of the 8th District said that he believes there needs to be a formal process, but questioned the points system.
Mayor Cory Mason also weighed in on the issue.
“I have real concerns about a numeric system standing in for an objective system,” he said.
He called for formulation of a different system.
“I think we need to come up with standards, but I think this numbers-based system is problematic,” Mason said.
Multiple members of the Racine City Tavern League also spoke against the points system during Tuesday’s meeting.
After a redraft, the amended proposal will be forwarded to the Public Safety and Licensing Committee for review and determination of future action.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council decided through its consent agenda to send the liquor license of Curmudgeon’s Pub & Grill to a due process hearing.
On Jan. 10, the Public Safety and Licensing Committee recommended the due process hearing to determine whether the licensee keeps or operates a disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper house.
This recommendation came after an alleged shooting occurred at Curmudgeon’s in the early hours of Jan. 1. This was the most recent of multiple incidents that have sent police to the bar, city records show.
During the due process hearing, a panel will consider whether the bar’s alcohol license should be suspended or revoked.