BACK MATT REPLY: Jeff Ward: Anyone afraid of butcher shop is a

Dear Jeff, I am in total agreement with your article, as a former candidate for Alderman at Large I have seen the three stooge affect at work in Aurora's city council. We had enough problems combating our reputation of Drug Dealers, Gangs Bangers and Sex offenders. But now we have to deal with this B.S. We should be focusing on the bigger issues of new business and job creation. Along with looking to help our police department which has been cut by 12% with new technology's to help fight Gangs Bangers and Sex Offenders, with the ability to have electronic monitoring of the newly released convicted child sex offenders that live here, so that we can keep our children safe. And of course we should be looking to bring about a radical change of doing business here. By looking to encourage small and large business to relocate here. Not drive them away with council wars against business. In my opinion the third ward alderman is a bigot in the largest scene of the word, let me ask this. If this was a kosher butcher shop that wanted to open in the same area and perform the same type of service for the Jewish community, do you think the potential owner would have this much of a hassle? I believe they would not..... The Jewish community would be so outraged that the major media groups would swarm upon us like locus. The city council would have no choice but to pass it without any nay votes. The third ward alderman is trying to make hay so that she could move onto another gig, but she can't tell why she really isn't worried about the back lash from voters. Again in my opinion, the Hispanic that she is offending, are not voters and by being reelected to a second term she now has her pension and health benefits for life. So what does she care if she offends people and ruins our ability to create new business and added revenues for our cash strapped budgets. But let a piece of broccoli be harmed she be all over it! Great articles Jeff keep it up. Cheers, Matt Harrington 9th Ward Resident and former candidate for Alderman at Large

AURORA BEACON NEWSPAPER ARTICLE Jeff Ward: Anyone afraid of butcher shop is a chicken May 6, 2011 12:35PM
Let Mr. Benitas open his butcher shop. Geez, Aurora! When you decide to take a ride on the crazy train, you go all in — and that includes the aldermen. In these dire economic straits, when an entrepreneur asks you to open a business, you might want to consider saying something along the lines of “aye!” With Mayor Tom Weisner breaking a 5-5 tie, you did try to say “yes,” but with two aldermen missing, the six affirmative votes didn’t add up to the seven required by city code. And it took a former city official to point out that error the next day. Ain’t that embarrassing! So just as Aurora resident Fermin Benitas thought he could open his specialty butcher shop at 629 S. River St., the City Council pulled that rug right out from under him. The vote never should have been that close to begin with. Benitas already owns a similar successful Chicago enterprise that slaughters and sells turkeys, ducks, chickens and rabbits. To paraphrase a famous playwright, “ain’t that the real rub?” Do Aurorans really think those Encor Salisbury steak TV dinners just magically appear in the frozen food section? The way some residents (and councilmen) shrieked about this prospect, you’d think Mr. Benitas somehow got his hands on the Easter Bunny. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, someone had to call PETA. These People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals make the birthers look like they have a clue. Let’s take a look at some of their more interesting pronouncements: First, they sponsored a TV ad in which a mother and father encourage their teenage daughter to have frequent unprotected sex and dump her progeny on shelters. Then they asked the pop group Pet Shop Boys to change their name. As difficult as it was to top that one, objecting to fish sticks, they insisted fish be called “sea kittens.” After all, there’s nothing quite like curling up with a purring catfish. Though PETA may be one egg short of a dozen, their “slaughterhouse horrors” argument has some merit. But which would you rather have? Tyson hanging chickens upside-down on a conveyor belt leading to a circular saw, or someone humanely killing them one at a time? As Alderman Rick Mervine stated, there’s no evidence Benitas’ Chicago shop ever violated any applicable statute.

Despite what all you too-ready-to-proselytize vegetarians think, that diet doesn’t work for everyone. Both the Dalai Lama and I tried it and it nearly killed him. My negative experience was typical for folks with type O blood. Though I have no plans to observe the slaughterhouse process, it would be hypocritical for me — and anyone else who enjoys a juicy drumstick — to come out against a legitimate business because they kill animals. Some residents objected to the location because the Aurora Animal Control Shelter is across the street. I suppose if they’re serious, they could set up a series of “underground railroad” safe houses so the chickens and turkeys could seek refuge at that shelter. Wait a minute — they euthanize animals, too! Alderman Bob O’Connor also disagreed with the location, but if that isn’t the perfect semi-isolated spot, then what is? It’s not like he’s gonna be butchering chickens on the front lawn. What more do you aldermen want? Benitas promised to fix up the property and, as Alderman Rick Lawrence noted, “This a piece of property that is very challenging to do anything with. He’s taking a tremendous amount of risk.” Meanwhile, Alderman Stephanie Kifowit fretted that once a conditional-use permit was issued, it would be difficult to take back. Puh-leeese! You do it all the time. What happened when a bothersome restaurant owed the city more than $100,000 in back taxes? With those contentions summarily dismissed, we finally come to the real reason some Aurorans don’t want this business. Let’s all whisper it together: “Mr. Benitas is Hispanic.” Lawrence said it out loud and other sources privately said residents complained about “another Hispanic business in town.” Sharing my keen perception for the obvious, Mayor Weisner told me, “Humans have been eating chickens for 8,000 years. There’s no entirely rational reason not to approve this business. The council’s job isn’t to respond to their own or constituents’ emotions without the facts.” Given our errant initial vote, this issue will be reconsidered at the May 10 City Council meeting. And if, for whatever reason, aldermen can’t find the courage to do the right thing — then there’ll be a lot more chicken (bleep) in Aurora than any butcher shop might bring. Jeff Ward can be reached on Twitter, @jeffwardsun; Facebook; or