The advisory group has been established in response to the public's plea for reform, according to the Commissioners. In their statement to the press, Liquor Board Chairman Mark Fosler said: "This will be a giant step forward in bringing harmony to the City and the quality of its residential life." Commissioner Ed Smith stated: "Everything we do will be on the merits and out in the open. This will be a breath of fresh air for many of our citizens who have suffered noise, public indecency, criminal behavior and a few liquor licensees who have become public nuisances to residential neighborhoods."
The BCLAC will review the Board's Rules and Regulations to promote community input, fairness, transparency of Board proceedings and powerful enforcement incentives to replace the existing antiquated rules. "Business interests, beverage associations, appointed city officials and license holders will all have the opportunity to be members of the BCLAC," stated Foster. "Nobody will be left out."
Baltimore resident Leigh Ratiner will head this new effort. A former community activist and advisor to the County Executive of Anne Arundel County, Ratiner has served as president of two community associations and was vice president for government and media relations of the 50,000-citizen Federation of Community Associations.
This story was published on April 25, 2006.