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Cherokee Street May Remain a “dry” Street

Ald. Craig Schmid (D-20th) is continuing his anti drinking establishment campaign in the 20th ward, which includes parts of Cherokee St West of Jefferson Ave. Schmid has introduced new legislation titled “Prohibiting package liquor in the 20th Ward.” (see BB47) The exception is for restaurants that get at least 35% of their revenue from food sales.

Schmid’s attitude is summed up in the bill as legislative findings:

The existence of alcoholic beverage establishments appears to contribute directly to numerous peace, health, safety and general welfare problems including loitering, littering, drug trafficking, prostitution, public drunkenness, defacement and damaging of structures, pedestrian obstructions, as well as traffic circulation, parking and noise problems on public streets and neighborhood lots. The existence of such problems creates serious impacts on the health, safety and welfare of residents of single- and multiple-family residences within the district, including fear for the safety of children, elderly residents and of visitors to the district. The problems also contribute to the deterioration of the neighborhood and concomitant devaluation of property and destruction of community values and quality of life. The number of establishments selling alcoholic beverages and the associated problems discourage more desirable and needed commercial uses in the area. In order to preserve the residential character and the neighborhood-serving commercial uses of the area.

Wow, why do we allow such debauchery to run rampant throughout the rest of the city? Gee, maybe because he is operating under the false impression that prostitution will cease to exist if only people can’t buy a drink at a bar.

Oh but it gets better:

the Excise Commissioner shall have authority to:

(3) Issue a drink license only with the following conditions applied and enforced in an area with a Cherokee Street address from the west curbline of Iowa Avenue to the east curbline of Nebraska Avenue
A. No package liquor and premises must be operated as a restaurant with gross food sales constituting at least 35% of gross sales; and
B. Operator of the premises must have and maintain at all times written permission to use a public commercial parking facilities within 350 feet of the premis:
with a minimum of at least 15 parking spaces (paved, striped, having a six foot good quality, sturdy ornamental metal fence surrounding it and adequate lighting, and with concrete wheel stops, all complying with City of St. Louis requirements); and if there is live entertainment or live performances, with a minimum of at least 30 parking spaces (paved, striped, having a six foot good quality, sturdy ornamental metal fence surrounding it and adequate lighting, and with concrete wheel stops, all complying with City of St. Louis requirements); and having at a minimum at least 30 additional parking spaces for every 1000 square feet of business space in excess of the first 1000 square feet of business space.

Well, there we have it. More parking in an urban neighborhood commercial district.

And we all love establishments with cafe tables — as long as they keep a clear path. But what about a cafe table behind a 4ft high fence?

J. Sidewalk tables for restaurant purposes only may only be permitted in accordance with an extension of premises permit with an appropriate 4 foot high good quality, sturdy, black ornamental metal fence separating the tables from the rest of the minimum 4 foot wide public sidewalk;

The reality is nobody is going to open a wine bar under such conditions which probably suits Schmid just fine.  This isn’t a class thing for Schmid — the person who downs a $2 bud is just as bad as friends that share a $40 bottle of wine.

To the business association this legislation would be an impediment to competing with other commercial districts where the rules are less restrictive.  To me Schmid only knows how to run off perceived problems — he hasn’t a clue how to bring life back to a once thriving commercial street.


Currently there are "65 comments" on this Article:

  1. josh wiese says:

    Wow. I mean WOW!!

    I’m having a hard time putting the ills of society on the opening of a bar/resturaunt. His ward has been dry for three years and all of the crime that he mentioned is there without a bar.

    Besides being bankrupt of any ideas or competent vision that could further his Ward he is imposing rules and regulations that are archaic. When businesses look to the City of St.Louis and see this kind of nonsense they go where they are wanted.

  2. Wasn’t prohibition repealed a few years back?

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    While I’m not a “dry” supporter, isn’t the argument over having so many wards in the city one of local control? And isn’t this local control? And if the locals don’t like it, can’t they just vote a new person in and/or vote this one out in a special election? I understand the micro argument, but it’s not like there’s a dearth of places to drink and/or eat in St. Louis. In this case, I have to side with the residents (and presumably, their elected representative) over a “new” business wanting to move in.

  4. Adam says:

    “In this case, I have to side with the residents (and presumably, their elected representative) over a “new” business wanting to move in.”
    except that, other than CLAIMING that he has the support of the majority of residents, i don’t believe he has offered any such evidence. nor has he offered any evidence that bars increase crime. i think the chances of a bar like the Royale encouraging prostitution and drug trafficking are preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeety slim.

  5. bowwow says:

    This is the best part of the bill
    Is this legal to ask a business?

    No government access in businesses or homes.

    19 to the Excise Commissioner, law enforcement, Alderman of the 20th Ward, and the City

    20 of St. Louis; and available for viewing by computer internet access in real time with a

    21 password, provided to the Excise Commissioner, law enforcement, Alderman of the 20th

    22 Ward, and the City of St. Louis;

  6. Adam says:

    “In order to preserve the residential character and the neighborhood-serving commercial uses of the area.”
    right, because there are so many “neighborhood-serving commercial uses” beating down the door trying to get in. guess there’s just not room for a bar!
    also, i’m sure the anti-Galen, McCarthy-esque hate mailers that went out during the last election didn’t influence the vote of the ward’s older constituents at all.

  7. Adam says:

    scmid is an a**hole. just my 2 cents.

  8. Adam says:

    schmid is an a**hole. just my 2 cents.

  9. Adam says:

    john w.
    i know you’re going to jump on me for that one – just stating my personal opinion.

  10. Josh says:

    The problem with Schmid is that he’s not acting based on the residents’ and businesses’ wishes, he’s doing these things behind our backs and without our blessing. Is it surprising to anyone that we’re hearing about this (again!) just days before the vote? He has a record of excluding the people he represents, and proposing these initiatives late enough in the game that no one can organize fast enough to oppose them. If you were to poll the 20th ward on this issue, I would be more than happy to wager that a VAST majority of people would be against this bill. All I want, as a resident, is to be considered when big initiatives like this are put on the table. And you’re right, he shouldn’t have been voted in again (I certainly didn’t vote for him), but since he was, I expect him to do what’s right for the neighborhood(s) he “represents”. Since that’s not what he’s doing, the people in opposition (the aforementioned majority) need to have him recalled. Does anybody know how this is done? We also need some ideas on how to oppose this bill in the meantime. Does anybody know some ways this can be accomplished? Demonstrations, meetings, petitions, etc…? I’m in, just let me know what to do.

  11. northside neighbor says:

    Given that Cherokee Street between Jefferson and Gravois is divided between the 9th and 20th wards, what does Alderman Kirner, the owner of a tavern, think of all of this?

    And while everyone knows there’s a Royale subtext to this issue, laws are not supposed to be made to benefit or hurt one individual or business. They are supposed to be for the good of all.

    So can we discuss this issue without using the “Royale 2” as the cause?

  12. northside neighbor says:

    (knock on the head…) not Kirner, Oertmann! Meow!

  13. Adam says:

    “So can we discuss this issue without using the “Royale 2″ as the cause?”
    i only brought up the Royale as an alternative to the type of dive establishment that Schmid envisions. certainly the issue is larger than just steve smith’s proposed establishment, but i believe his proposal is what rekindled the whole debate.

  14. Proud to LIVE ON CHEROKEE says:

    Josh, I THINK THAT YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG!!! “The problem with Schmid is that he’s not acting based on the residents’ and businesses’ wishes, he’s doing these things behind our backs and without our blessing.” I attended a Benton Park West Neighborhood meeting several months ago, and I think that the residents who were there, wanted to raise the percentages. They wanted NO alcohol sales on Cherokee.

    I would like to applaud Benton Park West and Gravois Park and Alderman Schmidt working together on the new bill.

    I think that this is a big step for Cherokee…


  15. other says:

    Schmid has a liquor moratorium ALREADY in place for the 20th ward.
    What is the need for the new bill?

  16. Pam says:

    I attend the Marine Villa neighborhood meetings, part of MV is in the 20th ward.
    Haven’t heard one word about this bill from Schmid. I think this bill will hold up process in the business areas. There are empty buildings!

  17. John says:

    Dear Mr. Proud to live on Cherokee,

    The alderman you are so proud of spells his name without a t, schmid. Maybe you need to spend a little more time at your meetings?


  18. little old lady says:


  19. Amber says:

    A few of my own cents:

    1. I don’t believe you have to go to the neighborhood association meetings to be an active member of the neighborhood. There are a lot of people out there doing things of import instead of going to meetings.
    2. We tried, as most anyone who reads this blog knows, to elect someone else, it didn’t work it, but it was oh so close.
    3. Is this issue still an issue because the residents themselves are divided on the issue or because the Alderman? That is a good question, because I think there are a lot of residents that DO want the liquor moratorium lifted or changed to be less prohibitive. Maybe it’s a bit of both, but there is no denying that our area has a slow leaking of progress while you can look down in the Grove neighborhood along Manchester, that in the 3 years since I moved to BPW, has flourished and has a plethora of development going on. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anymore prostitution or degenerate behavior going on there than any given night on Cherokee.

  20. southy says:

    Cherokee neighbors should be happy their community isn’t in the position of these people: develop with dignity

    Concerns over a couple of liquor licenses seem pretty minimal by comparison.

  21. Cherokee St Resident says:

    I live on Cherokee St. I am old ! I would LOVE to have some nightly entertainment and cocktail’s available with in walking distance. That is what makes a neighborhood vibrant and appeals to people of all ages ! We chose to move to Cherokee Street in hopes of seeing the neighborhood come alive before we die !!! If there were bars, patio bars, entertainment, restaurants, etc with in easy walking distance more “Uppity” people like myself might walk the street at night !! The more us “uppity” people walk the street the less likely we are to have prostitutes, drug dealers and other undesirables taking over the street.

    We are now forced to drive to vibrant neighborhoods, leaving Cherokee St. to the undesirables. Cherokee St is virtually deserted at night ! Why you ask? Simple !! No place for me and my friends from the county (that want to spend money ) to go !!!!!

    What was Soulard like 30 years ago???? How about Lafayette square ? Why to I need to increase my carbon foot print by driving to one of those neighborhoods when I could conserve energy, support my hard working neighbors and preserve the atmosphere in my own neighborhood ??????

    The history of Cherokee Street was brewery workers with a bar on almost every corner !!! Let’s get back to an Historically correct neighborhood !!!

    If you are worried about my laughing after a couple of drinks, I’ll be happy to buy those I offend some of those contractor ear plugs !!

    This neighborhood should be THANKFUL for all the ambitious, young, energetic, hardworking people that are gravitating to this ill neighborhood.


  22. Tim Mulligan says:

    WOW, there is alot going on here… This liquor bill seems to be dealing with misdiagnosed symtom rather than the problem. If the rednecks are pounding the hillbilly’s heads every night at 1 am, ceasing to issue new liquor licenses is not going to fix that problem…

    Doing some research for an out of state client earlier in the week, I was researching land records and crime stats for 4th Ward area. (along MLK east of Kingshwy). One of our tougher neighborhoods. Lots of vacant lots, lots of LRA property and too few businesses. Perception can be subjective, so I queried crime stats online (STLPD and Cir. Atty’s). Here is link to STLPD:

    So today I pulled up the same report and wow… Statisitically the four neighborhoods that make up 20th Ward are among the most crime frequented in the city. One ward = 3.6% of City’s population; For year to date, 20th Ward neighborhoods = 8.8% of reported crimes in city. An area of the 20th ward, 1/2 mile radius centered at Miami & Pennsylvania has yielded YTD 7,127 Service Calls. This appears to be a rate 2-4 times higher than adjacent neighborhood areas.

    Another discouraging reality is the amount of homes going on the market. According to a R/E buddy, in Gravois Park alone approximately 2/3 of listings are foreclosure sales. Lenders are going to want cover their interest and get out. Falling prices is an ugly aspect, especially when the slum lords start to acquire at bottom feeder prices.

    Stop worrying about excise control, I think a better measure for the neighborhood would be to bring in Homeland Security. For the 20th Ward residents, let Craig Schmid know where you stand on this topic. Be vigilant, the nuisance laws do work. One nuisance property on a street can drag down the entire block. It takes time…but you have to call them in and document. For neighboring residents, let your alderman know where you stand on the liquor bill topic and inquire what else can be done to improve the quality of life aspects for the 20th Ward.

    Mr. T
    Benton Park

  23. Steve, I’m surprised you didn’t bring up the idea of private closed circuit cameras monitored by Schmid. The carceral state approaches! Will the bars, excuse me restaurants, that do open on Cherokee {assuming any bar owner submits to these draconian rules } have large HD TeleScreens broadcasting the 5 minutes of hate? Will Craig’s mustached grimace and coke bottle glasses appear commanding loyalty and moral public life? Most importantly, will they serve Victory Gin?

    This is an unfortunate extension of an already ridiculous public policy bereft of any justification. We are turning away investment. This is a net loss for the entire City. That is detrimental to our future especially considering our historic population and economic decline. But bars can never be part of any viable district. Greenwich Village doesn’t have bars. No sir!

  24. Josh says:

    Well, “Proud to LIVE ON CHEROKEE”, I have a couple responses to your comments, and just some other general notes to add. As for going to neighborhood meetings, I’m on the marketing committee of the DSCC, I’ve been to MV Neighborhood Assoc. meetings, Chippewa Neighborhood Assoc. meetings, Gravios Park Neighborhood meetings and others over the past several months… Typically, we’re talking just a handful of residents and business owners that go to these meetings, and they certainly don’t represent the whole of the neighborhood, let alone the ward (not to diminish what these people are trying to accomplish in the least – like I said, I go myself…). I suppose one neighborhood meeting, likely consisting of 10-20 people, that you attended months ago may have given you the impression that a few people might have been in favor of banning alcohol on Cherokee, but I would be ASTONISHED if that’s the sentiment of the majority of residents and business owners in the area. And at none of the meetings I attended was this topic even raised, so I find it hard to believe that there’s been some wonderous collaboration between the neighborhood and Schmid. I know a lot of people in the neighborhood, many younger professionals like myself, and a lot of us have moved into a developing area for just that… development. When you look at many of the neighborhood examples already given here (the Grove, Soulard, etc…), bars and restaurants are a cornerstone of their progress, and in most cases have been the primary catalyst to their success. We need these establishments to serve the neighborhood, but we also need cool new places to help streets like Cherokee become a destination to draw other St. Louisans in. The more we fill these empty/run down commercial spaces with great new businesses, the more businesses will be encouraged to follow… and the more people will consider this area to invest in and establish a residence.

    I could go on and on, ’cause I’m kind of pissed about this whole thing, but instead I’m going to spend my time raising these concerns with Schmid directly and we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully everybody else does the same. If I don’t get satisfaction, I intend to find a way to start the process of recalling him and I hope people are with me. Maybe then, we’ll see just how much (or how little) support he has. I don’t want to have to go that route, but he’s brought it on himself. I’m not going to let him ruin what progress we’ve been able to make despite his archaic policies. If he can’t represent the ward he’s been elected to represent, he needs to go.

  25. dude says:

    good job making some noise on this. With Schmid’s above statements (assuming legit) a policy change may be coming in the next decade. In that case, if a bar opens there, please post about it. I’ll be happy to be there for their opening day. It will be my first time on cherokee street (well, not really).

    I’m surprised how out of touch this is. If you want highschool dropouts with pistols pushing crack/meth on the street corners, ban alchohol. If you want college grads meeting up to spend money, sell alcohol. It is that simple. Well it helps if it is a “cool” bar.

  26. Cherokee Fan says:

    If I were on the board of a neighborhood association in the 20th Ward I wouldn’t get too cozy with this bill. Schmid was bumped from the Marine Villa Neighborhood Association and the momentum is shifting. You can see and feel it on the street. That’s Scmid’s biggest fear. If places that serve alcohol open and thrive and bring in the next wave of retail and restaurants it could change the demographics in the area away from the people who voted him into power. This is a proactive self preservation move on the part of Alderman Schmid and has nothing to do with what is best for the commercial business district of Cherokee or the surrounding neighborhood’s real estate values.

  27. scott & steph says:

    Dear ‘Proud to Live On Cherokee’-
    Count Scott and myself as TWO who would love to be able to have a nice meal and glass of wine on Cherokee street. As is every neighbor I’ve ever discussed the matter with. In fact, we moved here a year ago thinking that the area showed the promise so many of the city neighborhoods I watched turn over in Brooklyn and Chicago had. Little did we know it was crippled by the likes of Craig. In hindsight, I honestly would have taken my rehab energies and money to the Manchester area with the knowledge that my investment would be in a neighborhood oriented toward an active street life and growth.

    I say recall.

  28. Eric says:

    I live on Cherokee as well, and one thing that isn’t being discussed is that “turning over” the neighborhood as Steph puts it can easily be about gentrification. Cherokee St does NOT need to become another hip destination drive-in-from-the-suburbs-at-night-to-get-drunk area, we have enough bars for “urban professionals” in this city. High poverty areas don’t need more liquor stores OR bars. And Cherokee certainly doesn’t need to be a hip destination. It does need more locally-owned small businesses, more investment without displacement, more citizen input into decision making processes, etc.

    But yes, I’m much more concerned with the 24/7 police-accessible surveillance tapes and the recent anti-loitering ordinance Mr. Schmid proposed in his usual vein of cop-loving and poor-people hating. We need to be ENCOURAGING people to be outside, hanging out, performing, vending, having conversations, making street art, etc – not discouraging it. Cherokee and the surrounding Gravois Park is already under constant assault by the cops, we don’t need to give them more discretion.

    Besides which, even a cursory review of anti-loitering ordinances around the country will show that most of them have been found to be unconstitutional, racially-biased in their enforcement, and in general ineffective at lowering crime rates long term.

    Trust me, I’m not romanticizing concentrated poverty – in fact I have spent the better part of the last 6 or 7 years working with non-profits that organize around viewing concentrated poverty and white flight/urban sprawl as racial justice and civil rights issues – I want a vibrant, diverse, and alive Cherokee, but I don’t want to create it at the expense of the people that live here through increased police harassment, etc

  29. OneShoePam says:

    I am a long time residents.
    I don’t want the area to become a hip destination drive-in-from-the-suburbs-at-night-to-get-drunk area.
    I don’t want the housing to become over priced.
    I do want empty buildings filled with businesses.
    Mexican restaurants, Mississippi Mud, APOP Records, Black Bear Bakery, phd gallery, etc. have become destination points for people.
    Then they stay in the area and look around and hopefully shop.
    The Alderman needs to be welcoming and helpful to new business. To help the businesses accomplish their dreams.

  30. Jim Zavist says:

    Is the “problem” the person (aldernman) or one of widely differing expecations, wants and desires? If the “problem with Schmid is that he’s not acting based on the residents’ and businesses’ wishes, he’s doing these things behind our backs and without our blessing”, the simple answer is vote him out, either in the next election or through the recall process. But the reality is that he got elected, presumably on the promise on doing something about crime in the area, and this is his best/current solution.
    I don’t live on the street. I have lived close to streets like this in other cities. I also like to patronize cool bars and restaurants, and I tend to try and be respectful of the establishments’ neighbors, but too many patrons, especially younger ones, aren’t (trash, noise, parking, public urination). That’s why I defer to the neighbors and their elected representatives when it comes to decisions such as this. Change is hard for some people to accept, but ongoing disruptions to one’s daily life, be it crime or just losing sleep and having to pick up trash every day, gets really old really quickly.
    Good cities are messy – they’re not the suburbs. But there’s also a fine line between fun and funky and scary and declining. Neighborhoods that work and thrive require both respect and compromise. Here, it seems like the lines have been drawn in the sand and the pointing of fingers has begun/escalated . . . not a good sign. Hopefully, more focus can happen on results and less on defending long-held positions . . .

  31. scott & steph says:

    Of course locally owned businesses. Of course arts activities. Of course affordable housing. I’m not talking about gentrification, but a more vibrant, healthy community. The neighborhoods I spoke of are still diverse, but now lack boarded up houses and businesses, and feel safe for all people- even lower income people like myself.

  32. southy says:

    For comparison, check out the new Onesto Pizza on Macklind in the Princeton Heights neighborhood. Interestingly, they ID themselves as in the heart of “SoHA”. (aside: maybe Princeton Heights ought to fold?)
    Anyhow, the owners offer a fine product, food and drink, nice rehab, and nice atmosphere, at a corner building in a densely populated city neighborhood.
    Guess what? Mr. Oldster across the street is pissed. A peace pipe from Onesta offered “across the fence” in the form of a fresh baked pie – rebuffed.
    Meanwhile, Onesto patrons take up parking spaces up and down the side streets-just like what happens at lots of these little places. Neighbors bitch.
    Neighbors bitch. Say that again…NEIGHBORS BITCH! That’s life. Newbies and progressives want the world to fit their vision, but neighbors, especially long established ones, have the loudest voices, deepest roots, and usually most standing.
    This ain’t about a built environment or architectural design. It’s about community, people, and relationships. They trump hip, liquor ordinances, all the rest. Wanna build community? Get out and work with neighbors pulling weeds. Maybe then the old timers will listen when you start touting corner bars and restaurants.
    One more thing…these are good problems to have. People protecting their turf, businesses wanting to move in…it’s all good. Patience people. This is an old town. There ain’t nothing new here. New to you maybe, but not the Lou.

  33. scott & steph says:

    What neighborhood in St. Louis with bars and restaurants is Craig afraid of becoming? It would be nice if he could articulate his vision a bit more to the neighborhood.

  34. Adam says:

    put a cap on the number of bars in the ward. there you go. problem solved. now we don’t have to worry about a “hip” new bar filling every store-front in the neighborhood.
    “Mexican restaurants, Mississippi Mud, APOP Records, Black Bear Bakery, phd gallery, etc. have become destination points for people.
    Then they stay in the area and look around and hopefully shop.”
    and a bar would be different how?

  35. Adam says:

    “What neighborhood in St. Louis with bars and restaurants is Craig afraid of becoming? It would be nice if he could articulate his vision a bit more to the neighborhood.”
    that would require an argument. including evidence. he doesn’t have any of that.

  36. theotherguy says:

    I am now putting on my flame retartant sp? suit–

    Why are people so scared of gentrification? Are people longing for the Soulard of the 1960s? If so, I haven’t heard them. The typical Soulard resident got richer and could afford rehabs and gut rehabs. Soulard gentrified, and the republic endured.

    Having new businesses take a chance and invest in the area is a good thing. I cannot guarantee that lower income renters will be able to afford higher rents, but ownership has its rewards, and unless we are going to assign people living spaces by lottery, the market will determine the value of living spaces.

    Alderman and others should be looking for ways to increase the value of the area, not ways to keep it down. Some would argue that Schmid’s proposal does increase, or at least puts a floor, on value. Ok, have that debate, but it is terrible to want to discourage people from trying to make the neighborhood more desirable.

  37. Bill says:

    My opinion is…. That he needs to focus his time on bigger issues going on in his ward.

    Top five ranked south city neighbohoods by incidence of crimes against people.

    1.) Gravois Park in 20th WARD
    2.) Benton Park West in 20th Ward
    3.) Peabody-Darst-Webbe
    4.) Cheltenham
    5.) Marine Villa….. in 20th Ward

  38. Eric says:


    And how would you have him deal with that?

  39. Gentrification conerns should come after the storefronts are occupied and vacant housing is gone. Right now there is room for all, regardless of the perception of competition.

    Cherokee Street does not have to be a rivalrous good.

  40. @ theotherguy —

    There are two main arguments against gentrification:

    1) Rising property values means rising taxes, which can force long-time residents out of their homes and neighborhoods.
    2) Gentrification means some brand of uncool persons will move in and ruin everything with their lattes and their gut rehabs.

    I feel for the victims of #1, but I don’t know what can be done about it. My free market side says that at least those people can sell out for a good price, but that’s only the economics side and says nothing about a person having to leave their home.

    #2, by contrast, is a favorite target for my mockery. OH NO PEOPLE WITH MONEY ARE COMING AND WILL SPEND THEIR MONEY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND THEN STARBUCKS WILL OPEN. Yeah, that’s a really awful problem you got there. I’ve spent too long supporting urban environments to view middle class people moving in as a problem.

  41. southy says:

    Yeah, what’s an alderman supposed to do about reducing crime? Can someone name the top three things?
    1. Create an environment friendly to opening bars
    2. Create an environment friendly to the creative class
    3. Encourage gentrification
    It’s so easy-anyone could be an alderman.

  42. Eric says:


    It isn’t a matter of who is spending money in the neighborhood, or even the problem of rising property values. God knows we spend too much time talking about the horror of gentrification without giving equal shrift to the horror of white flight, urban disinvestment, and racialized concentrated poverty.

    However, even before displacement occurs, a whole host of negative effects can disproportionately fall on local poor residents – increased surveillance and police harassment, shops and restaurants that don’t feel welcoming and feel more like invaders, etc (again, just look at Schmid’s recent anti-loitering proposal and the connection between bar opening and 24/7 surveillance in this bill)

    Until we start to talk seriously about inclusionary zoning, community land trusts, local control, etc, development doesn’t occur in any sort of sane or stable way that seeks to build mixed-income, racially integrated, safe livable mixed-use areas. We need grocers and gardens and hardware stores, bakeries and community centers, thrift stores and clothing stores – as well as places to spend money on entertainment.

    And yes, attracting giant chains to the area IS a concern, as it siphons money out of the local community and into shareholders and CEOs pockets.

  43. OneShoePam says:

    How does prohibiting liquor prevent all the crime in the area?
    Are all the offenders drunk when they are arrested?

  44. Alissa says:

    The other problem with gentrification that hasn’t been touched on is that personal property crimes actually rise with gentrification, as poorer residents are pushed out. Encouraging gentrification is not the answer to concentrated poverty. Encouraging neighborhood investment is.

    Personally, i think you also loose the character of the neighborhood that drew people in the first places. I LIKE our Mexican restaurants, and our small independent businesses. I have no desire for Cherokee Street to become the next Loop, with a Qdoba and and Bread Co to replace La Vallesana and Black Bear. Craig’s bill encourages development like that by stymieing small entrepreneurs that may want to open a small neighborhood bar. (Not to mention the fact that providing such ample parking ENCOURAGES drunk driving!)

    Under Craig’s watch, Cherokee Street is rife with instant tax refund establishments and two shops that openly peddle drug paraphernalia. How is this more responsible development?

  45. Craig says:

    If only all the youngsters that bought cheap property to open up taverns actually lived in the ward, then maybe they could vote the clown out of office.

  46. Bill says:


    You are so correct. Schmid is doing a fine job on Cherokee Street. I love the check cashing place and all the rent to own furniture stores. Talking about ripping off the less fortunate. I’d rather have someone buy a beer at a local restaurant then get raped by the local rent to own furniture store. I think your missing the point here. If you open up more local bars most neighbors would be drinking and driving less because now they are drinking and walking. What a concept.

  47. Adam says:

    “If only all the youngsters that bought cheap property to open up taverns actually lived in the ward, then maybe they could vote the clown out of office.”
    actually, i believe several of them do. and at this point, “all” isn’t that many.

  48. Jim Zavist says:

    OneShoePam – No, prohibiting liquor will not prevent ALL the crime in the area. And, no, all the offenders were not drunk when they are arrested, but more than a few were. Alcohol is a drug, albeit, a legal one. Used in moderation, recreational drugs can be fun and most of their users have minimal impacts on their neighbors. The problems arise out of abuse, addiction (and the financial need to feed the addiction) and a heightened lack of responsibility. In a residential neighborhood, most couples leaving a restaurant after a quiet meal have no impact on the neighbors. It’s the hard partying folks, who close the bar down and use their bar voices while walking to their cars after midnight that make it difficult for residents and businesses to coexist peacefully. Sometimes it’s just easier to say no . . .

  49. Dale Sweet says:

    Oh dear. Steve’s getting everyone all worked up again over alcohol legislation in the 20th Ward. Following are a few thoughts from a neighborhood resident, for those of you who have managed to scroll through the chatter with some amount of sanity intact:
    1. Last time I heard, 11 of 28 wards in the City had the exact same legislation that is currently in place in the 20th Ward. That’s almost half the City, not just a portion of one street. The preamble Steve quotes is probably in all of those Wards’ ordinances.
    2. The current law is not “dry.” It allows for new liquor licenses to restaurants with 50% of gross receipts coming from food. For instance, the Taqueria El Bronco restaurant recently started serving drinks. “Dry” is what you call counties in Arkansas where you have to smuggle your own wine into restaurants in paper sacks and keep the bottle on the floor.
    3. The 50% food rule is—in the City and elsewhere—somewhat common. The Delmar Loop in University City has just such legislation in place. So establishments such as Cicero’s or Blueberry Hill or Brandt’s or the Red Sea or Riddle’s, all of which are wonderful, diverse, successful places, serve 50% of their gross receipts in food. Certainly no one is calling Delmar “dry” or screaming there about a return to Prohibition. Cicero’s, as just one example, has a huge beer selection and is also a music venue. And it apprently serves 50% food, so unless I’m missing something there’s no reason why something like Cicero’s couldn’t open on Cherokee Street. Indeed, the Jefferson Ave. Bistro (in the 20th Ward at Winnebago) has a new liquor license, serves food, has live music, etc.
    4. From my understanding, Alderman Schmid’s new legislation relaxes the food requirement to 35% in a few blocks on Cherokee. When an establishment wishes to serve between 35% and 50% food, certain new restrictions kick in. These restrictions appear as an attempt to balance commercial interests with concerns of residents, as well as provide some security for employees, neighbors and patrons. Sounds to me like what we’d want an elected representative to do.

  50. southy says:

    Okay, so who’s demonizing Alderman Schmid now? He sounds like quite the accommodator by any measure. Can we please lay off Ald. Schmid now? The man is a dedicated public servant. He works harder than most people, and is a good, smart man. Show Ald. Schmid the love. He needs our love and admiration! Love Alderman Schmid!!
    No. It’s not cool to love Ald. Schmid! Ald. Schmid is an ogre and he fights progress! Recall Ald. Schmid!! Yeah!!!! (In my best Howard Dean voice…)

  51. Bill says:

    With all do respect I don’t think a lot of you know much about the restaurant/bar business.
    Some restaurant/bars and I’m not saying all that have to do the 50/50 thing are not very honest. I’ve been working in restaurant/bar business for over 30 years. There are ways of getting around the whole 50/50 thing. now. I think what people want is for Craig to come up with something that is fair in which bars/restaurants will be able to run an honest business.

  52. Cherokee Fan says:

    I think last night was a huge success. Ald. Schmid agreed to extend the current legislation that was about to expire for 90 days and scrap the new Bill with all of the additional ordinances. In that 90 days he’ll meet with the neighborhood and business associations affected and work out something acceptable. I think he’s too smart to not see the writing on the wall. The neighborhood is changing. The people that came out for the Cherokee Station Business Association meeting proved that. It was a small example of how democracy can work if residents get involved.

  53. Josh says:

    Here’s my main problem with the liquor restrictions. Why can’t we just look at each potential business that wants to serve alcohol, and assess them on a case by case basis? It’s the common sense route. If somebody wants to come in and open a dive that serves nothing but $1 Stag cans and stays open until 3am, that might not be the kind of business we want. And maybe they serve 50% food… does this make them a reputable establishment? Not necessarily. What if somebody wants to open a nice wine bar? No food, just a nice place for neighborhood residents to walk down to and enjoy a nice adult beverage. I would think a business like this would be desirable in an up and coming area. Think about places like 33 Wine Bar in Lafayette Sq. That place doesn’t serve food at all, but they run a really nice business, and they’re certainly not going to draw a rough, unruly crowd. They also don’t have a single parking space (I dont’ think…) except for what’s on the street (certainly not an unrealistic 30 spaces! – this is an urban city environment for christ sakes…). I’ve thought about the idea of opening a bar myself, and Cherokee would probably be my first choice of location over anywhere else in the city. I love the potential, I love the diversity, I love the fact that it’s right down the street from me… I’d love to have a place that just served premium beers, nice wines, and high-end liquors. I don’t want to serve food. I don’t know a thing about it. So, I’m pretty much ass out. A resident of the neighborhood, wanting to bring money, jobs, and entertainment to his neighborhood, handcuffed because of an ordinance that is designed to restrict first instead of encourage quality local investment…

  54. Eric says:

    more places that cater to rich people’s tastes! less places that cater to poor people’s tastes! *yawn*

    a “case by case” basis opens itself to all sorts of discrimination and political chicanery

    still not a word on the draconian anti-loitering bill Schmid just proposed?

  55. OneShoePam says:

    Here is the article about Schmid’s loitering bill…
    Tuesday, May 6, 2008
    Bill attacks loitering in high crime areas
    By Jim Merkel

    Rita Ford only lives about two blocks south of Cherokee Street. But she won’t walk to Cherokee because she’s too afraid of loitering gangs.
    “We’re like prisoners here in our own country,” said Ford, the president of the Gravois Park Neighborhood Association, who lives in the 3500 block of Nebraska Avenue. “I wouldn’t take a chance and walk to Cherokee.”
    Now an alderman who represents much of the Gravois Park neighborhood has introduced a bill in the Board of Aldermen allowing the police chief to designate certain areas known for gang activity, drugs and prostitution as off limits to loitering.
    The police know the drug dealers, gang members and prostitutes who hang around these areas, said Alderman Craig Schmid, D-20th Ward, who introduced the bill recently at the start of the 2008-2009 session of the Board of Aldermen. “There’s no mechanism to try to disperse it before it happens.”
    One of the ways that gangs take over an area is by loitering and intimidating law-abiding people, Schmid said.
    The bill balances concerns about breaking up loitering related to criminal street gangs, prostitution and illegal drug sales with the rights of assembly and free speech, Schmid said.
    Around the country, there have been problems with such laws, said David Curry, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
    “It’s usually resulted in crime moving elsewhere,” Curry said.
    Some of the laws have been struck down, Curry said.
    It’s a question of who’s loitering for illegal purposes and who is simply standing on a sidewalk and enjoying being outside, he said.
    In Schmid’s bill, a “no loitering” area could be designated anywhere there have been more than 20 police calls and six arrests in any six-month period in the last 20 months. It also could be declared in any “Weed and Seed” area established by the U.S. Department of Justice to “weed out” crime.
    Under the ordinance, signs could be posted in a designated no loitering area or property owners would receive mailed notices.
    After that, police could arrest people making signals to sell drugs or solicit prostitution. They also could arrest anyone using gang signs or wearing gang colors while with a known gang leader.
    Police also could order people to leave the area and threaten to arrest them if they return within three hours.
    Violators could be fined $100 to $500 and receive up to 90 days in jail.
    Schmid’s bill takes a lesson from a similar Chicago bill on loitering that was approved in 1992.
    The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to strike down the law, which made little difference between law-abiding citizens and gang members.
    But the Court suggested an ordinance might be Constitutional if the language made it clear the law was targeted at loiterers who appeared to be trying to seek criminal control over an area.
    A new law was passed in Chicago making those distinctions and remains in effect.
    In Schmid’s bill, to protect civil liberties, the police chief would suspend enforcement of the law for people involved in advocacy activities, like giving out leaflets.
    People also could obtain a permit from the city to engage in lawful loitering in a “no loitering” zone.
    As far as Ford goes, she believes such a law might improve things for her neighborhood. But she said the Board of Aldermen pass too many bills that are passed and police do nothing about them.
    “The key word is enforcement,” Ford said.

  56. scott says:

    It sounds like you’re worried about CEO’s and chain-stores taking over Cherokee St. but the chances of a Gap Store or even Starbucks wanting to move to a street like Cherokee at this moment of time, I would suppose, is nill. The street is hardly desirable for these types of companies. Your argument may be more appropriate in the future ONLY if the street becomes “alive” and desirable for business. I say the neighborhood should do what it takes to become a thriving, desirable street and THEN worry about chain-stores applying for business. Then pass an ordinance restricting these types of companies, if you want.

    “more places that cater to rich people’s tastes! less places that cater to poor people’s tastes! *yawn*”
    Why do you voice opposition to people who are working hard to make money and would like to spend it locally? Are there even rich people around here? Worrying about where rich people spend their money is the last thing the 20th ward should be concerned about. I would hope that addressing delinquent properties and crime should be the main concern for local residents.

  57. Alissa says:

    All new liquor licenses are assessed on a case-by-case basis, public hearings included.

  58. Eric says:


    As I said before, I am all for being part of creating vibrant mixed-income, mixed-use, racially integrated, bike and ped friendly communities – I would certainly like to see the 20th Ward less abandoned, more safe, more beautiful, more kid friendly. And I realize Cherokee isn’t going to be totally taken over by chain stores or $250k condos anytime soon – especially with the real estate crunch (though with oil prices up and up and no end in sight, I suspect cities will become much more desirable places to to live over the next decade)

    But until we sit down as a community often and with foresight figure out how to do these things regionally, development may revitalize streets and blocks and even neighborhoods, but it just shifts concentrated poverty to another part of the metropolitan area.

    I realize that it is a much larger discussion that liquor ordinances on Cherokee, but the 20th Ward isn’t in a vacuum.

  59. Jake Bartosh says:

    Schmid is correct: bars and booze joints do nothing but degrade a neighborhood. Look at Soulard. The Soulard Restoration Group is dominated by drunks, just as the neighborhood is controlled by liquor outlets. Mardi Gras is the coup de grace. Poor timid Phyllis Young has never been able to formulate or implement any sort of plan to protect the residential interests. Instead, she has allowed the neighborhood to be turned into an entertainment district, and she is pushed around by the imaginationless dorks downtown and the liquor industry. Screw the residents. Soulard is filthy, and Mardi Gras teaches 50,000 more people each year to disrespect the neighborhood. The development professionals downtown, who have the collective imagination of a pile of fence posts, can easily call some area an entertainment district and then knock off for the day, sure that they have brilliantly solved the problems of another neighborhood. If the residents around Cherokee Street don’t realize what sort of trouble they are in and get off their asses and support Schmid, then there will be hell to pay. In Soulard, the bad have been driving out the good for years, and there is slim chance that anybody is going to be able to turn that around. Oh, I know, look at what Mardi Gras has done for Soulard: a fence around Pontiac Park and a doggy poop park. Well, I should hope MG does something for Soulard, since the residents are thoroughly divided, for and against, and those for the present state of Soulard see the neigborhood through the bottom of a bottle. The neighborhood cannot even put on a successful house tour, let alone pick up the trash which fills the streets.

    Meanwhile, all those people who want to sell booze for a living promise that their crummy joints will be nice and quiet, and that they will really not be selling but a couple of bottles of beer to some retired school teachers, yadda, yadda, yadda. When they get their license, then comes the noise, the trash, the noisy motorcycles and all the rest of it. Then the residents can kiss their as+++ goodbye.

    You want the truth: it is possible to redevelop a neighborhood without calling in the liquor industry. The problem is that it takes time, imagination and salesmanship. The liquor industry and those who want to take the quick route show me nothing.

  60. Adam says:

    “In Soulard, the bad have been driving out the good for years, and there is slim chance that anybody is going to be able to turn that around.”
    is this serious? soulard, along with the rest of the city, emptied out post WW2 thanks to the suburbs. these days it’s a BEAUTIFUL, thriving neighborhood WITH ENTERTAINMENT thanks in part to those businesses that you’re complaining about. yes, mardi gras has created problems but i think you’re being a tad dramatic.

  61. southy says:


    Jake’s post does a nice job representing the views of neighborhood residents as opposed to bar/entertainment patrons.
    Of course, one could always say that if a resident is unhappy with the entertaining nature of a neighborhood, they could always move away.
    Now wouldn’t that be ironic! A city neighborhood so successful that its residents were forced to move away!

    Cherokee should be so fortunate, eh?

  62. Adam says:

    “Jake’s post does a nice job representing the views of neighborhood residents as opposed to bar/entertainment patrons.”
    i lived right next door in benton park for several years (2004-2006). the great majority of the homes in soulard are NOT adjacent to bars/entertainment venues. it’s hardly an “entertainment district.” i do agree that mardi gras needs better management, but it sounds like jake wants to run the neighborhood his way. IMO he’s SEVERELY exaggerating what he perceives to be the “problem.”

  63. southy says:

    Soulard Mardis gras purports to drawing 500,000 in a good year. You don’t need to live next door to a bar to feel that.

    As is so often the case, the anti-span word for this post is “denisty”. Are 500,000 people crowding the streets of Soulard to much “density”?

    Should a neighborhood resident be the judge?

  64. Adam says:

    i’m no fan of mardi gras, and i can understand the frustration there. on the other hand, it brings a lot of business to the city for a couple of days out of the year. in any case, comparing local bars to mardi gras is a little ridiculous.

    [slp — Agreed, there are many parts of our region and others where alcohol is served and food is not that has not evolved into mardi gras.  I personally have avoided Mardi Gras the past few years because it is a big overly commercial drunken party.  Allowing a small tavern to serve drinks even though food revenue may only be 15% is wildly different.]

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