The Madison Common Council passed a proposal to allow the Goodman Community Center access to a liquor license Tuesday evening despite hints that Mayor Paul Soglin will veto the ordinance.
Hugh Wing, Goodman Community Center Seed to Table manager, presented the council with reasons why the center would benefit from the license. Wing said he has specialized in working with delinquent youth for more than 20 years.
“The goal for Goodman Community Center is to create a training center for youth to produce good standards,” Wing said. “The parts we are looking to enhance are to give them an opportunity to work with what businesses are looking for.”
Wing addressed the concern of delinquent youth around alcohol.
He said the youth will work through their kitchen, cafe and catering program, and licensed bartenders will always be present to ensure the enforcement of laws.
“I’m asking you to support giving us an opportunity to train youth for industry standards,” he said. “And also in our investment in our community.”
Goodman Community Center board member John Givens, said he had 30 years of experience working with at-risk youth.
Givens said an alcohol license would not negatively affect youth at the community center.
“Youth are working in the cafe and catering and are already exposed to [alcohol],” Givens said.
Givens said alcohol consumption is unregulated under the current system and the youth at the community center are frequently exposed to overconsumption.
“The lack of security tempts them to act irresponsibly,” he said. “We are asking it to be regulated only in a way a license can be regulated. I think the license will help.”
The new event space at the center attracts higher-end events, Becky Steinhoff, the center’s executive director, said. Almost every weekend the space has an event, and the new space is helping to fund the center, according to Steinhoff.
“We can’t have that kind of high-end space without allowing customers access to alcohol,” she said. “Some months we have 11 events with alcohol. Alcohol is already in the facility.”
Steinhoff reminded the council that the center does have rules, regulations and a mandatory cut-off time. However, the host of the event currently purchases the alcohol.
The center strongly encourages bartenders, but the hosts don’t always bring one.
“Most of our events go fine,” continued Steinhoff. “But we’ve had problems with overconsumption.”
The center does have a catering business, which sets them apart as a community center, she said. With an alcohol license, no alcohol would be allowed in the facility without going through the catering manager.
With the license, the center would be able to always have bartenders that would be able to determine if a customer had had enough alcohol.
Steinhoff added that with the license, the center would always have staff in the room during the consumption of alcohol. Leftover and half-consumed alcohol would then be locked away and given to the customer the next day.
Problems with overconsumption would decrease, she noted.
The motion to allow the Goodman Community Center access to a liquor license was carried.
Mayor Paul Soglin did not speak during the meeting, but has stated numerous times in the past that he intends to veto the liquor license, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.
Verveer said if Soglin chooses to veto the license, the City Council will be asked at its next meeting to override his veto, which requires a two-thirds vote from the council.
“It’s very seldom that a mayor vetoes any piece of legislation adopted by City Council,” Verveer said. “The last time it happened was at least a decade ago. It’s even more rare that a veto has been overridden.”
Verveer said the motion to grant the liquor license, which was taken verbally, appeared to be unanimous.