The ongoing saga of the youth hostel liquor license granted to its owner Representative Stat Smith, does not want to go away.
Tim Flaherty, candidate for state Senate in this fall’s elections, has come down strongly on the side of the city’s school children and area residents, criticizing the recent granting of the liquor license to Smith’s “Backpackers Pub.”
Two weeks ago, the Licensing Board on a 2-0 vote granted the liquor license for the first floor of his youth hostel despite strong opposition from neighbors, parents, and the Everett School Department.
Smith’s youth hostel is located at 13 School Street, and is in close proximity to two public schools, the Sumner G. Whittier Elementary School on 337 Broadway and the Adams School, which presently houses a Pre School Program, on 78 Tileston Street. It is also close to St. Anthony’s Elementary School on 54 Oakes Street.
“I believe that the people of Everett should be able to send their children to neighborhood schools and not have to worry about their safety walking to and from the buildings,” Flaherty said.
“As a former Assistant District Attorney, far too often I prosecuted cases in which people were ‘over-served’ and made bad decisions because of it, he added.”
At the hearing two weeks ago, Superintendent of Everett Public Schools Frederick F. Foresteire detailed his concerns about children’s safety, reminding Board members that an Everett High School student was killed by a drunk driver only a few hundred yards from the location of Smith’s “Backpackers Pub”. Foresteire was opposed to granting a liquor license to an establishment so close to three elementary schools, where many parents walk their children to and from these schools Monday through Friday throughout the nine-month school year.
Mr. Flaherty condemned the actions of Everett’s Licensing Board for granting a liquor license to Rep. Smith’s wife (Judith Locke-Smith).
Phil Antonelli, Chairman, and member Brian McCarthy voted to grant the liquor license to Smith. A third member of the Board was not present and did not vote.
“The decision of Everett’s Licensing Board to allow a liquor license for a drinking establishment in such close proximity to the Whittier, Adams, and St. Anthony’s schools is not only threatening the safety of students attending these schools, it also sends the wrong message to the community” said Mr. Flaherty.
Flaherty also questioned why the Board approved the locations hours of operation (from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Monday through Friday) which allows the drinking establishment to be open during school hours every day of the week.
“The main objective of government should always be the safety of the community, and I do not believe that the Licensing Board took into consideration the negative impact this establishment could have on the three schools and the many children they service” Flaherty said.
Flaherty’s outspokenness about the granting of the liquor license is not a surprise. Dozens of area residents have protested the action of the Licensing Board. However, Flaherty is the only local political voice to have chimed in for the people up to this time.
“I applaud those community leaders, parents and neighbors who stood up and voiced their opposition and I urge them to continue to speak out until this situation is rectified” Flaherty said. “I want them to know that I will be there, by their side, doing anything I can possibly do to make this ‘wrong’ a ‘right’ for the citizens of Everett!”
Flaherty urged concerned citizens to call and express their opposition to him at (617-398-6491).
Flaherty is a former Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney, an attorney in private practice, and currently a Professor of Business at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. He is a candidate for state Senate this fall in the Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk District, which includes the city of Everett.
He is running against Everett Senator Sal DeDomenico