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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Aurora Votes to Restrict Tattoo Shop Licenses in the Name of Health and Safety

After more than an hour of conversation, our City Council hammered out an ordinance to improve health and safety for all citizens of Aurora. We will be safe from the ravages of disease festering in our community because of an ordinance designed to control the conditions at eight local tattoo parlors. The second largest city in Illinois again stepped up its attack on local businesses when the Finance Committee worked diligently for weeks drafting and polishing an ordinance to protect us. When asked if there had been health complaints regarding tattoo shops, Ed Sieben, Manager of Aurora Land Use and Zoning replied, NO - after a small hesitation. When asked about police problems at tattoo shops, Sieben again said it was minimal - if at all. 

According to shop owners, there isn't a problem - with either health or safety. Heck, a policeman told me that the police have not had problems associated with tattoo parlors. Regardless, the Council agreed to require the existing eight shops to pay a $500 license fee for year one and to pay another $250 each year for renewals. Consider it another tax on the consumers who buy a tattoo in Aurora, because all taxes are ultimately paid by consumers - passed through business to the government.

It seemed surprising to those on the dais that numerous citizens rose to oppose their idea. Dan Hites, a major developer in Aurora sees a significant benefit available if Aurora can become a cultural and art center - a place where body art is an integral part of the arts community. Hites said, "Aurora needs these people to help revitalize downtown". He also stated that he fails to see the rationale for regulation from the municipal level - as the state and county already oversee this industry.

Kevin Mathews called the proposed ordinance, "gross government over reach". Mathews checked with the CDC and suggests if Aurora wants to crack down on disease it should focus on systems other than tattoo parlors. Mathews echoed Dan Hites when he mentioned the possibility of a body arts festival in Aurora - to bring creative people to our town to "celebrate diversity". 

Jennifer Evans, a homeowner and a professor at Waubonsee stated that it would be a mistake to pass an ordinance aimed at shutting down some small businesses and pointed out that there is no place for this alarming "cultural discrimination".

Todd Stirn said he opposed licensing because there are already powerful controls on the books dating back to 1979 when Illinois passed regulations for tattoo shops. Todd's wife, Angela echoed her husband, then rolled up her sleeves to show she had no tattoos, and announced her plans to have both arms covered. "I want sleeves in full color", stated Mrs. Stirn.

Despite opposition, the aldermen forged ahead and passed the ordinance - modified somewhat. Aldermen Richard Irvin and Allan Lewandowski proffered the lone NO votes. Alderman Rick Lawrence was not present for the vote. Therefore, rest easy Aurora. Our health and safety have been assured by the stalwart actions of our aldermen.

NOTE:  Starting today, OpenlineBlog welcomes the important contributions of Larry Frieders, longtime business owner  of The Compounder and observer of what's happening in Aurora from City Hall to the community.  We will crosspost selected articles from Larry and his blog, Lawrence of Aurora, to share with our audience and encourage our viewers to respectfully express your views, comments and ideas.

OpenlineBlog will continue to share contributions and reporting from others, sometimes separately and sometimes together, to provide our audience with diverse information and views.  If you want to express yourself on a particular issue, topic with your own featured post or video, let us know at


Anonymous said...

Richard Irvin voted no across the board. You have to give credit where credit is do. Lawrence was not present to vote. Property owners throughout the city fail to take notice that the city council just wiped out a hole future industry that is now on its knees at their beck and call to beg for a license. To me this all reeks of reverse racisem. The alderman stated the whole thing came about because of concerns with loitering around the shops. Have they ever noticed the "loitering" around the african-american owned barbershops throughout downtown? I dont hear of any health and safety concerns there. What they call loitering one could also call waiting in line for a tattoo! Its not like there is anywhere to sit down and wait as there are few if any coffee shops. The council should, if TRULY worried about health and safety would address the situation brought up by the citizen about the Hessed House having Tuburculosis, Hepatits, MERSA, and Leprocy! And they all drift daily into the Library, Train station, McDonalds, Subway, City Hall, and the Casino. Can you say potential outbreak! Far more dangerous than any skin art! Aurora-ya done it again!

Anonymous said...

Lawrence would have voted no on the ordinance, so it would have been 9-3, but Kifowit told people she would vote against it until the mayor told her she had to vote for it. She's such a phony. God help us if someone that disgusting gets into office as state rep.

Anonymous said...

when is the city going to clamp down on Hesed House and the image it creates for downtown?

Anonymous said...

I attended that meeting last night.

Dan Hites made some very good points exposing the incongruence between the council on this matter and its desire to become an art and culture center.

IMO, Craig Murphy seemed far more interested in using the city council to decimate his competitors and put them out of business than actually standing up for the rights of business owners.

Kevin Matthews really shined and came across as a champion of liberty for all people. I have listened to him on the radio several times and he has a strong command of the Constitution and the proper role of municipal government. . It is obvious he is guided by principle. I loved his quip about how the city will now be able to shake down these tattoo parlor owners for contributions to their contributors pet projects, now that have oversight over their businesses. It is obvious he knows how the city or Aurora really operates. After he finished speaking many citizens greeted him to applause, hand shakes and several hugs.

Speaking of shakedown artists Stephanie Kifowit naturally voted for all the proposals. Stephanie is always 100% for the government ruling over people’s lives, as long as she is the person doing the overseeing. She probably harbors dominatrix fantasies.

Lawrence was sorely missed last night, he appropriately excused himself as this was a “fait accompl” from the get go, but his erudite commentary was needed badly. Normally Rick publicly challenges the council members and their motivation, and it was needed last night.

Mervine continues to be a clueless buffoon, obviously only on the council at the Mayor’s beck and call. It was hard to tell who was vying to be the biggest elitist last night, what with O’Connor, Mervine, Elmore and Kifowit trying so hard to vie for the title. But somehow Mervine actually managed to win the title of high handed prick of the universe last night.

And speaking of elitist: elitist, gutless coward and all around prick Bob O’Connor continued to show his disdain for a vocal public and snipped at them not to comment and be quiet. Hey Bob, gee, after all you were only voting to eliminate people’s chosen vocation and deprive business owners of their right to sell their business for a profit. Why should that upset anyone? They should all be good little sheep and board those trains to the gas chambers eh?

Irvin voted the right way and essentially parroted Matthews comments throughout the proceedings. After the meeting I saw Matthews shaking Irvin’s hand and sincerely congratulating him for being on the correct side of an issue. It was amazing seeing Irvin do the right thing for the first time.

Lewandowski acquitted himself fairly well last night, voting no on the strict licensing requirements for the tattoo parlors but voting yes for the city’s right to license tattoo parlors and voted yes for the 500.00 fee. I am still scratching my head over that one. But he did ask some of the right questions and clearly showed that the city’s main motivation is to eliminate tattoo parlors in Aurora.

And who would have expected noted homophobe, bigot, and racist Whitey Peters to stand up for the rights of a minority?

What last night demonstrated is that we need a clean sweep of the city Council. The fact this proposal even got out of committee shows that the council needs to be replaced. Keep Lawrence and maybe Lewandowski, one right vote by Irvin does not a good alderman make. Replace all the others, especially O’Connor.

Mark M.

Anonymous said...

The council should, if TRULY worried about health and safety would address the situation brought up by the citizen about the Hessed House having Tuburculosis

That was Matthews.

Anonymous said...

As I said on another post, I find it HILARIOUS that Openline is coming across as this big defender of tattoo artists, when in the past he's slammed Weisner and the council about all the tattoo parlors in town.

Anonymous said...

Similiarly, we have an Alderman wanting to govern tuition paying college students where they can rent for the health and safety of the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I think bad laws bring people out to defend against an erosion of freedom. Im no tattoo person, but I know bad law when I see it. I think openline is just a forum for discussion. Certainly more so then the Beacon which seems to have very little feedback or intelligent discussion. The Tattoo law is bad and misguided and should be fought by people who understand free enterprize and capitalisem and the overreaching of government, as well as opening up the city to lawsuits that the citizens end up having to pay for.

tattoos designs said...

tattoos shop are not responsible for people's health problems , while getting tattoos designs people should be careful .