Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced Monday he will appoint a student to the Alcohol License Review Committee, given the expected success of a proposal coming before City Council today that would add two new voting positions to the ALRC — a citizen member and an alder.
If the proposal passes, Cieslewicz said he will appoint a student to the citizen position of the ALRC.
“[The students] have made a good case that students are deeply involved in these businesses … and I think having a student voting voice on the ALRC is important,” Cieslewicz said.
While he said he will appoint a student in the proposed citizen voting position on the ALRC, Cieslewicz said he cannot support the proposal to create a permanent, “locked-in” student vote because it would create a “slippery slope” of interest groups seeking a voting seat, such as the UW administration, the Tavern League and Capitol Neighborhoods Inc.
“Before you knew it, we would have an ALRC made up of specific slots as opposed to what it really it would really ought to be — nine citizens that have an interest in the issues and have the overall interests of the city at heart as opposed to their particular interest group,” Cieslewicz said.
Ald. Bryon Eagon, District 8, said he will withdraw his original proposal today to add a permanent student voting member to the ALRC, opting to tweak the proposal to retain the non-voting student technical adviser and also encouraging the mayor to appoint a student to the citizen position, thereby having two students on the committee.
Cieslewicz said this is the most he has seen students become engaged in an issue; never before have students sought to have an active voice on a city commission and not focused on a single issue such as the Mifflin Street block party or Halloween.
Instead of “lobbing hand grenades from the outside,” Cieslewicz said, the students want to be involved on the inside on a city commission.
“It seems to me when that happens, the city should say, ‘Great, come on in,'” Cieslewicz said, adding he hopes this will be a stepping stone for students to get involved in other city issues.
Eagon said a permanent student vote on the ALRC would be ideal, but this compromise is a step in the right direction. He added this reaches the end goal of having a student vote on the body, even though it took a different path to accomplish the task.
“I would say this is very encouraging and I appreciate the mayor’s support in coming and saying he will appoint a student as the citizen [member to the ALRC],” Eagon said.
Eagon said it is important for students to show up to the City Council meeting to voice their opinion, either in support of Eagon’s older proposal or the new one. Cieslewicz agreed.
City Council will vote on the proposal to add the citizen and alder position to the ALRC at its 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight in room 201 at the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.