Wednesday, October 27, 2010



I sent the following letter to our local paper, the Naperville Sun. Note that Naperville operates under a city manager system, leaving the long time mayor, George Pradel, with little to do, besides issuing liquor licenses to those he deems worthy, but appear as Santa Claus in the town Christmas parade and go to the grade schools to read to the children. He prides himself on these two vital tasks. Understanding this will help the reader understand the first of my two punch lines.



Show Me’s (sic) Restaurants is about to open its fourth Illinois location at the former Famous Dave’s location on Ogden Avenue, about three blocks from our home. Show Me’s (sic) is a bar/cafĂ© very much akin to those paragons of good taste and refinement, Hooters and The Tilted Kilt, but with (believe it or not) less class and less clothing on the servers.

The neighbors are understandably upset. While almost all those opposing the new restaurant would understand if the new Show Me’s (sic) were located on the vast commercial strips on Routes 59 or 53, this new entertainment venue would be located immediately adjacent to and across the street from single family homes. Combine the theme of the restaurant, which is essentially men who apparently have trouble getting anything anywhere else ogling women half their age in various stages of undress and the 2:00 o’clock closing time with the quiet residential character of the neighborhood, and one can see why the residents consider the new Show Me’s (sic) a recipe for disaster.

The feelings of the residents will in all likelihood prove to be irrelevant in this instance, however. Why? Mayor George Pradel, who is also Naperville’s liquor commissioner and thus in charge of dispensing liquor licenses, has already determined that the restaurant will open, or at least that is the distinct impression residents get when they attempt to contact the suddenly uncharacteristically reclusive Mr. Pradel but instead are pawned off to members of his staff.

Why is Mayor Pradel in favor of granting a liquor license to Show Me’s (sic)? One could possibly understand a principled libertarian argument, though not from the decidedly non-libertarian Mr. Pradel. (I say “possibly” because even those of us with libertarian leanings recognize such things as zoning to be legitimate functions of local government, unlike, say, buying Children’s Museums in order to maintain the family friendly character of Naperville.) But Mr. Pradel’s argument is not one of principle; he apparently likes Show Me’s (sic) and thinks it would be a “good fit” for Naperville. The Daily Herald reported on October 27, 2010:

Pradel, who also serves as city liquor commissioner, said he visited the Springfield location Saturday night and had a cup of coffee while watching the Iowa State-Texas football game. Based on what he observed, Pradel said he thinks the establishment could be a “good fit” for the empty lot along the busy street.

“I went down and took a look and I brought back some information to share with the commission and the (city) council, if it gets that far,” Pradel said Tuesday. “I like that they sell reasonably priced food and more food than beer. And I like that it seems like a nice friendly place to watch a game or have dinner.”
Two thoughts come to mind when one hears Mr. Pradel gushing about the “nice, friendly” character of Show Me’s (sic) and its being a “good fit” for Naperville, which constantly reminds anyone who will listen that its most salient feature is its family friendly nature:

--The next time Mr. Pradel goes to one of our elementary schools to read to the kids, perhaps he ought to point out to the little girls in the audience that a worthy career aspiration would be waitressing at the “nice, friendly” Show Me’s (sic).

--Mayor Pradel is running for reelection on February 22, 2011. Perhaps voters should relieve him of his duties so that he can spend more time at the “nice, friendly” Show Me’s (sic) that he seems to enjoy so much.

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