Council shores up Wrigley peddling ban

In yet another win for the Cubs, the City Council agreed Tuesday to relax the peddling bubble around Wrigley Field to make the decade-old ban easier to defend against a court challenge.

The watered-down ordinance championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel allows peddlers to operate outside Wrigley, but not on game days, concert dates or when other big events are happening on the open-air plaza adjacent to the ballpark.

In 2006, the City Council banned peddlers from the sidewalks surrounding the landmark stadium year-round. The goal was to ease sidewalk congestion so exacerbated by peddlers, it had forced many fans entering and exiting the stadium to walk down the middle of the street.

The peddling ban will now apply only on “game” or “event” days at Wrigley. The term “event days” includes “any date on which an activity or amusement is scheduled to be conducted at Wrigley Field Sports Plaza . . . or any date on which an activity or amusement is expected to have more than 12,500 people in attendance is scheduled to be conducted at Wrigley Field.”

The new ordinance also lifts the requirement for a $100 peddler’s license for periodicals, pamphlets and similar written materials.

Mark Weinberg, who filed a pending lawsuit challenging the Wrigley peddling ban, has argued that banning peddlers from the sidewalks surrounding the open-air plaza on game or event days was yet another big-bucks win for the Cubs.

“They’re trying to do everything they can so they get rid of anybody else who makes a penny off the Cubs. They use the excuse of congestion but it’s really about lining their pockets,” Weinberg told the Chicago Sun-Times last week.

“A $2 bag of peanuts on the outside costs $6 on the inside. For the team, it’s millions of dollars a year in extra profits. In the meantime, they get rid of little guys trying to make $100 a day. The real people who suffer are the fans who have to bear the burden of the monopoly prices the Cubs charge.”

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