Investigator: Saturation of liquor licenses in Ward 2

CLEVELAND -- Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed is calling out Governor John Kasich over his fight to keep new liquor licenses from being acquired from businesses in his area.

"We are being saturated, we've been inundated, by this problem of alcoholic beverages being sold in our community, " Reed passionately explained. "I'm calling on John Kasich and the Liquor Control Commission to put a moratorium on those places."

Reed, whose personal battle with alcohol has led to three driving under the influence convictions in 2005, 2008, and 2013, recently told Channel 3 News that his ward currently has 32 active liquor licenses for places to sell a combination of beer, wine and hard liquor.

Another five businesses await approval from the State, with an additional 18 established businesses sitting on the outskirts of this ward boundary.

"I can speak for this ward and I can speak for the City of Cleveland, it's a problem in the city of Cleveland," he said. "It's a joke. They are being passed out like candy."

The 14-year councilman also says an excess of business selling booze is contributing to an increase in violent crime. The Cleveland Division of Police confirm homicide and rape case are increased from a year ago.

"Some people don't know how to handle their alcohol out here and there's a lot of killing going on," Ward 2 resident Evaryce Hicks admitted.

The Liquor Control Commission stands by their polices, and practices of issuing new licenses. Public Information Officer Matt Mullins referred Channel 3 News to the Ohio Revised Code 4303.29 (a) that states:

Subject to division (B)(2)(b) of this section, upon application by properly qualified persons,

one C-1 and C-2 permit shall be issued for each one thousand population or part of that population,

and one D-1 and D-2 permit shall be issued for each two thousand population or part of that population,

in each municipal corporation and in the unincorporated area of each township.

Subject to division (B)(2)(b) of this section, not more than one D-3, D-4, or D-5 permit shall be issued

for each two thousand population or part of that population in any municipal corporation and

in the unincorporated area of any township, except that, in any city of a population of fifty-five thousand or more,

one D-3 permit may be issued for each fifteen hundred population or part of that population.

Reed's latest battle is attempting to block an old corner store at East 113th Street and Miles Avenue from obtaining a new license. The store has been vacant for nearly two years, and has the signs to prove it.

Overgrown grass, broken windows, and an overflowing dumpster sit on the property.

"The place is a hell-hole, it's a mess, why would you even consider to give this place a liquor license?" Reed said. "The State of Ohio doesn't give a rat's butt about the location, what it's doing to the community, and what it's doing to the people in those communities. They just don't care."

On Thursday, Reed scored a minor victory when he convinced the state to limit alcohol sales at a Dollar General store to beer only. Overall, he's challenged seven liquor licenses issued in his ward so far this year, and he's lost every fight.

He returns to Columbus on August 23 to contest more locations.


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