Aldermen balk at scalping ban, peddler rules

Evanston aldermen tonight objected to efforts by Northwestern University to bar people from reselling tickets to NU football games.

Evanston aldermen tonight objected to efforts by Northwestern University to bar people from reselling tickets to NU football games.

The city’s Administration and Public Works Committee put on hold a proposal from the city manager requested by the university’s athletic department that would make reselling tickets a local ordinance violation.

Scalping tickets already violates state law, but because people arrested under the state law have to be taken to the police station to be booked, city police have chosen to ignore violations in the past to keep maximum manpower at Ryan Field for traffic control and other needs on game days.

Under the city manager’s proposal, people could be issued a traffic-ticket-like citation for scalping that wouldn’t require officers to leave the stadium site.

But Jeanne Lindwall, 625 University Place, said she’s a season ticket holder at NU games and that she and other ticket holders like having the option of selling extra tickets in the parking lot on game days. She noted that because the games never sell out, people generally are reselling them for less than what they paid for them.

Asked by aldermen whether the university has a program that would let ticket buyers sell their tickets back to the school, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the school has a program that lets ticket holders donate their tickets for use by a local charity, but doesn’t offer to give money back on tickets that are turned in.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she sees issuing citations to residents for selling tickets as a huge public relations problem for the city and the university.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said she didn’t see a need for the city to get involved in the issue. "What’s in it for us," she asked.

The aldermen also objected to proposed changes in regulations for peddlers that were also initiated at the request of the university, which has been seeking restrictions on game-day sales around the stadium.

The proposed new rules involve a substantial rewrite of the city’s peddling ordinance and, among other things, would require peddlers to change their location at least every half hour unless directed by city officials to operate in a stationary location. Aldermen voted to hold that ordinance in committee as well.

The city manager promised to have more answers to questions raised about both measures when the issues come up for discussion again in two weeks.

Both issues were originally raised last fall, but were put off until after NU’s football and basketball seasons were over after aldermen raised objections to the initial proposals.

(Image above: An online promo for NU football season ticket sales.)


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