Sunday, January 23, 2011

Like Banquo's Ghost

Source: The Elyria Reporter, Elyria, Ohio, July 4, 1900, page 6.


The Anti-Screen Ordinance Will Not Dows - Bonds Issued

The anti-screen ordinance introduced at a former meeting and referred back to the city solicitor for revision came up again at the meeting Tuesday evening, and the council acted toward it about as they might have done had it been a stick of dynamite, or a hot poker.

The ordinance regarding the closing hours of saloons and providing for a extension of the hour of closing on Saturday nights to 10:30 o'clock was brought up.  This ordinance was intended to pave the way for the ordinance providing for the taking down of screens during closing hours, it being pretty generally understood that the passage of the latter measure depends upon the passage of the first.  The matter, it will be remembered, was gone over pretty thoroughly at the last regular meeting.

The president asked what the pleasure of the council was regarding the ordinance providing for the extension of the time for saloons to remain open on Saturday nights.  An oppressive silence followed.  The members showed about as much inclination to tackle the question as a hobo does a wood saw.

At length Mr. Mueller, with an air that reminded one of a man who has made up his mind to go and have a tooth pulled, moved that the ordinance be accepted.  What he meant by that was not plain.  President Smith and City Solicitor Stevens suggested that Mr. Mueller change the form of his motion, a motion to suspend the rules being in order.  The gentlemen from the third ward, however, did not appear anxious to resume the initiative and disregarding the suggestion said he should like to hear from the other members on the subject.

Mr. Boynton resumed his tactics of the preceeding meeting.  He was anxious to oppose the ordinance, but was embarassed and handicapped by not having any particular argument to advance against the measure.  He said he thought the present laws adequate if properly enforced.

Mr. LeMaster made a clean cut statement of the situation.  He said that there was a disposition on the part of the temperance people and the better class of saloonkeepers to join in doing something to secure a better enforcement of the law.  There is a class of saloonkeepers who are honest and obey the law, but there is another clique of saloonkeepers that have no respect for themselves, for God Almighty, or anybody else.  Mr. LeMaster's remarks were made largely for the enlightment of Mr. Boynton and the attempts of the latter to pick flaws in the ordinance were squarely met.  Mr. LeMaster explained that the proposed measure would give the police a chance to see into hotel barrooms as well as into ordinary saloons.

Mr. Grundy expressed himself in favor of the ordinance.

Mr. Mueller moved the suspension of the rules for the purpose of putting the ordinance upon its final passage.  Mr. Grundy seconded the motion.

Mr. Boynton wanted to make the ordinance apply to drug stores as well as saloons, saying that he had drunk more in drug stores that he had in saloons, not because he expected to get a better article in drug stores, but because he was particular and noticed that the more aristocratic people drink in drug stores.  President Smith reminded Mr. Boynton that the law allows druggists to sell intoxicants only on prescription and for pharmaceutical purposes.

"The whisky I've bought was not on a physician's prescription or for pharmaceutical purposes." replied Mr. Boynton.

Mr. Philpott expressed himself in favor of the ordinance.

Mr. Smith, who was not present at the former meeting when the matter was well canvassed, said the present hours for keeping the saloons open are long enough.  He did not think the people wanted the hours extended and he wouldn't vote for the extension.

Mr. Eady said he did not favor the extension of hours, but would vote for the ordiance because he wanted the anti-screen ordinance to pass.

George H. Chamberlain, who was present, pronounced the ordinance an absolute necessity and said that a large number of people want it even if the hours have to be extended in order to secure its passage.

President Smith pronounced the ordinance to extend the hours a compromise and the acceptance of an evil.  He used the time honored reference to the saloonkeepers, "taking the bread out of the workingman's children's mouths," but in the course of his remarks about bread, did not say anything about the equally venerable phrase to the effect that "half a loaf is better than no loaf" and appeared to prefer that there be no anti-screen ordinance if it could be had only by extending the hours.

Grundy, replying to Mr. Smith's remarks, said: "There is but one drug store in the city where you can't get booze."  The single exception, he stated, is the store kept by Mr. Eady.

Mr. LeMaster also replied to Mr. Smith's objections, and said that workingmen would stay at home with their families on Sunday if an ordinance were passed making it possible to enforce the law, but that as it now is they make saloons a rendezvous all day Sunday, spend their money and that is the way the bread is taken out of their children's mouths.  Mr. Mueller withdrew his motion and both ordinances were passed to their second reading.

An ordinance providing for the issuance of $150,000 of waterworks bonds at 4 per cent, ten to mature annually after 1910, was passed.

Some resolutions for cross walks were passed.

John McNulty asked for permission to occupy a space on Mill street with his popcorn stand.  The matter was discussed and the president finally told Mr. McNulty that the council had nothing to do with it.

William Clifford LeMASTER (1871-1922), was the 4th ward councilman of the city of Elyria, Ohio; he was my paternal great granduncle.

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