Council prepares to reduce downtown liquor store hours
The Nome Common Council introduced a measure for first reading Monday night to set the hours of sales and amounts of liquor purchases in downtown Nome.
The ordinance limits hours at Front Street package stores to the four hours between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. south of Sixth Avenue and limits the container size of liquor products to one liter or larger.
The measure will go on to second reading, discussion, and a vote on passage at the next regular Council meeting.
The change in the law is aimed at reducing public inebriation in the Front Street area.
Councilman Mark Johnson voted ‘no’ on the reduction of liquor store hours. It didn’t seem right to him to limit business of stores, he said. “There must be other means than to limit their business to four hours,” he said.
Alaska Commercial company handles most of the package liquor, either through their outlet on Front Street or their store on Center Creek Road, the latter of which could continue business as usual.
“It’s drastic,” Councilman Stan Andersen said, “but I can’t think of another way to approach it.”
Additionally, the Nome Common Council introduced measures Monday evening to allow the City of Nome to secure unpaid personal property tax and utility charges owed the public coffers.
Council members voted into first reading an ordinance authorizing liens on property to secure utility charges.
Next came an ordinance to provide a procedure for demanding payment and selling personal property to recover delinquent property taxes.
Again, the public vigorously used the two public comment periods on the agenda mostly concentrating on public safety issues and the need for productive protocols for police handling of domestic violence and sex crime issues.
Lisa Ellanna with the sex victim advocacy group said they had reviewed the NPD operating procedures manual and found it lacking, literally, by redactions [crossed-out passages], plus no mention of personnel policies, no sex assault crime investigation procedure, no procedures for reports, no protocols for required training and no policies for follow up refresher training, and no victim interview training.
“This is a continued conversation,” Ellanna said.
She and others asked for a citizen’s input group to help create a productive liaison between the community and law enforcement.
Trinh Johnson, who has experience working with issues at Bering Sea Women’s Group stepped forward to present a written complaint from a parent whose child had been riding along in a police car and receiving randomly timed calls to perform babysitting, according to Johnson.
This is being handled by a much bigger agency, Tom Moran, city manager, said. Chief John Papasodora had called the state Dept. of Public Safety and asked for an agency assist right away, according to Moran.
Nichole Frank took the podium to say that agencies and contacts provided in a public service announcement did not pertain to police department investigations. He had been trying to turn the situation around, Moran said.
“Since May 7 [when the issue of lack of response to sexual violence cases came up], I have been working to right this ship,” Moran said. “I thought I had offered an olive branch when we brought out a resolution and hire a new police chief.”
If someone had said something earlier, he would have been able to solve the issues, Councilman Stan Andersen said. “If I heard anyone venting this crap, I would have done something.”
“We need to have another meeting,” Councilman Jerald Brown said, referring to a town hall meeting Aug.18 that was not well attended.
His hands were tied when it came to discussing all he knew about police goings on, Moran said.
There are a number of external investigations going on, according to Moran. “I can’t discuss personnel matters and ongoing litigation.
At the end of the Monday night’s discussion, Lisa Ellanna had three requests: The Sexual Assault Advocacy had for several months asked that police wear body cameras as in other towns. Second, she asked the Council to form a citizens’ advisory council for the police department, that would include members of the community, and finally, that all minutes since May 7 be transcribed verbatim.
Robert Estes, Nome’s newly hired police chief will begin on Sept. 15, and undergo orientation with Nome Police Dept. Chief John Papasodora, whose contract ends Sept. 30.
Papasodora did not renew his contract.