Lynn mayoral rivals joust over bar closing times

October 18, 2013

LYNN — Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and mayoral rival and City Council President Timothy Phelan jousted Friday over rolling back bar closing times to 2 a.m. during their last scheduled debate before the Nov. 5 final city election.

Meeting in their seventh campaign season faceoff, the pair fielded questions from debate moderator Taso Nikolakopoulos before a Porthole Pub audience of about 110 people. The Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the debate.

Kennedy said she supports a 90 day trial period for rolling the liquor establishment serving time from 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.

Kennedy said the possibility of a casino opening in Suffolk Downs in Revere and East Boston could bring the need to review the closing time back to the License Commission. “At the end of that 90 day period we evaluate to see if crime or accidents went up in that period,” she said.

Phelan said he opposes a rollback to 2 a.m. and said he will not change his mind until Police Chief Kevin Coppinger changes his mind about public safety concerns associated with a rollback.

The commission voted in 2008 to roll back closing times from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. citing police concerns about the 2 a.m. last calls.

Even if he supported a rollback, Phelan said it should be done “incrementally” by introducing a 2 a.m. closing in phases with several establishments trying the later time out before it is restored across the city.

Kennedy said that phased-in approach will anger some bar and restaurant owners.

Thor Jourgensen is covering this story and will have more in Saturday’s edition of The Daily Item.