Late Night Ordinance

Alcohol is always a polarizing issue.  This item has been controversial for years. Issues such as these are always more challenging as there is a great deal of emotion tied to them.  There were many people that were passionately opposed to the ordinance which I appreciated. I also listened to each and every comment and gave it great consideration. I went into this vote with an open mind and tried to gather the opinions of as many people as I could.  My findings were that many more people were in favor of the ordinance; however, they were not as passionate about their convictions as some of those that were adamantly against it.  However, before I would ever cast a vote on an issue such as this, I have to be very sure that I feel like I am making the best decision for the citizens of Frisco which includes my family. Based on my research, I feel that the 2 am ordinance is the right thing for Frisco at this time.

 

I am a husband and a father of 3 young children.  I plan to raise my children in Frisco and I hope one day they will want to move here and raise their families to.  Therefore, I do not take these decisions lightly.  This decision, at least for me, was not a decision for economic gain at the expense of public safety or family values. I was more compelled by the arguments that a 2 am ordinance would make our city safer than the contrary.  The results from area cities that recently passed the ordinance also demonstrate that.  Studies by MADD show that communities are much safer when they all share the same closing time. While I would not cast a vote just because of an opinion by MADD, I do buy into this argument they make here.  When they have differing times, that promotes “bar hopping” and has patrons getting in their car twice.  When an area is consistent, those patroning bars are likely to stay at the same location where a single server can keep a closer eye on them.  When someone comes from another bar, a bartender does not know how much they had to drink at the previous bar.  I had a long discussion with the National Media relations person at MADD and their stance in our situation would be to support us changing the ordinance, although they cannot give an official opinion unless they study the region.  If we would have been the first to adopt 2 am, my opinion would likely be different.

 

The Police Chief does not have concerns with the ordinance change. I asked him if he would have requested more resources this year had he know about the later times and he said “no.”  He also contacted Police Chiefs of surrounding cities that recently adopted the later hours and they all conveyed that “it had been no big deal.”  I also spoke with many police officers and could not find a single one that opposed the ordinance.  The general consensus was that they can manage the situation better when they know where people will be (at a specific bar rather than a house party or coming back from another city), when we have less transient drinkers bar hopping, and when patrons will be watched by a single server.  These are all unbiased opinions that have been able to remove the emotion from the equation and they have told me that our city will now be safer. I also think we should support the later time now with out 12 o’clock curfew. 

 

The economic impact, although a consideration, was not the basis of my decision.  I also do not think extending drinking hours to 2 am will have an impact on family values.  This argument was made when the beer and wine passed, when concerts such as Jimmy Buffet and Nickleback started coming to town, and when FC Dallas chose to move here.  However, I have seen no negative impact from these prior decisions on our family values nor would I expect this ordinance to.  Frisco is what we make of it and I expect families to continue to move here as a result of our great school system, our vibrant entertainment district, our local sports teams, our great shopping, our developing park system, our family-friendly activities, our local job opportunities and our close knit groups that make Frisco home.  This is the vision of Frisco I voted to continue.

 

Despite all of this, we as citizens have personal responsibility. Bar patrons have the responsibility to not drink and drive.  Bar owners have the responsibility to not over serve their patrons.  The Police Department has the responsibility to keep our streets safe with the known risks we have.  Changing our citizens drinking time does not create the problem. 12 o’clock would not prevent people from being irresponsible and drinking and driving. I understand they may have more of an opportunity for alcohol abuse but they still have responsibility for their own actions.  None of us want alcohol-related problems.  However, given that our surrounding cities have adopted this ordinance, those patrons wanting to go out until 2 am have a close alternative and will exercise that right.  My vote is to keep those people within close eye of our own police force, within eye of a single bar tender, and not having them getting in their cars multiple times.  I also expect our Police Chief to maintain our safe community.

 

I want Frisco to be a wonderful destination city that families seek out to put down their roots. I invested a lot of time in this decision gathering feedback and although we never know what the future holds, I did cast my vote with confidence that it was the right thing to do not just for Frisco but for all of our families. 

 

Although my opinion is to maintain the 2 am ordinance, the Citizens of Frisco will have the opportunity to voice their opinion next May when it is on the ballot.  I just hope the voters are able to remove their emotion from the vote and think through the impact of the decision.  The fact that we are voting on a time (12 to 2) and not casting a vote in support or against alcohol in general.

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