Statement from Jim Bergeron, owner of The Wise Boxer Pour House, and candidate for Naperville City Council
An issue has come up with my campaign for City Council that needs to be addressed.
First, I need to give a little history on the issue regarding liquor licenses.
In 1938 the State of Illinois put its first liquor license laws into effect, trying to prevent the mob from being represented in government. The state passed a law making it illegal for anyone having any interest in a liquor license to hold any state or local elected office.
Then in 1960 when the City of Naperville put its first liquor license laws on the books, they mirrored the state laws.
In 2005, a number of state representatives in Springfield decided that it was time for that state law to change.
At that time, a number of restaurant owners across the state were invited to be the example, providing testimony why the law should change and I was one of them. The new law, making it legal for an individual with a liquor license to hold office, passed by a wide margin. So at that time most local ordinances were updated automatically.
Since the City of Naperville is a home rule community, the city would have had to go through its own process of updating the law—and unknown to me, they had not.
So I was very surprised to find out in the ten years since the law was changed statewide that the Naperville law had not been updated.
Being a small part of the change in 2005, had I realized this oversight at the city, I would have worked to have the law updated years ago.
While I truly believe this was just a simple oversight, this law would need to be updated for me to able to renew my Liquor license next year and still be able to remain in office if I were elected to serve on the Naperville City Council.
Ethically, I personally have an issue asking for the Voters’ support not knowing if I can serve the whole term.
That being said, the current Naperville law would need to be updated prior to the election.
Unfortunately, I believe the current City Council is unwilling to correct this oversight prior to the election. Therefore, I believe the ethical thing for me to do is to suspend my campaign as a candidate for Naperville City Council in the 2015 Consolidate Election.
I will continue to work with city staff to have this law updated so that this inconsistent ruling with state law is not an issue in the future.