Beer will be sold at this year's Jeff's Jam festival in downtown Delaware on Aug. 15, despite attempts by a city councilman to stop the sales.

Beer will be sold at this year's Jeff's Jam festival in downtown Delaware on Aug. 15, despite attempts by a city councilman to stop the sales.

Delaware City Council voted 6-1 on July 20 to allow a beer garden in the City Hall parking lot during the event. Councilman Jim Moore voted against the ordinance.

This was the second ordinance council passed to allow beer sales at the daylong event. The first allowed the beer garden on South Sandusky Street, where it was located last year.

After the first vote, which was taken with only one reading of the ordinance, Moore circulated petitions to stop the sale of alcohol on the street. He collected 1,387 signatures, more than enough to get the issue on the Nov. 3 ballot. That put an immediate stay on beer sales for the event until a council vote was taken on the second ordinance.

By passing that second ordinance, council lifted the stay.

The elections board is certifying those signatures and expects to return them to the city clerk, who would then certify the issue for the ballot.

Moore said he stands behind the three principles that caused him to circulate the petitions: that the sale and consumption of alcohol on public property should not be allowed; that children and teenagers should not be exposed to people drinking alcohol; and that public debate should be allowed before any vote is taken.

When Moore filed the petitions with the city, event organizer Joanne Meyer asked council to consider the second ordinance, which moved the beer garden to the City Hall parking lot. Council discussed it at the July 13 meeting and set a second reading and vote for July 20.

People on both sides of the issue packed the council meeting room July 20. At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Windell Wheeler told the crowd that he would hear testimony only on the ordinance before council, not on the first ordinance and not on claims by some people that they were misled into signing the petitions.

"This evening, I want to keep this a very responsible, respectful meeting," he said.

Jenny Nicolosi, a supporter of the event, spoke first and addressed a certified letter she said she received from Moore following her testimony at the July 13 meeting.

Moore took exception to Nicolosi's claims that he asked her to sign the petition and misled her as to its impact. Moore said a supporter appeared at Nicolosi's door, not him.

"In the courts, I believe what you have done to me is referred to as 'defamation of character' by what I believe are your libelous and slanderous statements," he wrote.

In the letter he asked for a "full apology" at the July 20 meeting in front of council and media and would consider the matter over if Nicolosi did as asked.

"If you refuse to apologize in this manner, I will consider all legal options available to me necessary to protect my reputation and good character," Moore wrote.

At the July 20 meeting, Nicolosi said Moore's letter amounted to "extortion." She said she thought it was Moore who came to her door.

"You accused me of coming to your door and lying about the petition. ... I never came to your door," Moore said. "When you come to the microphone speak the truth."

"While it was not you at the door I believe it was unfair of you to send this letter. ... I will not be bullied," Nicolosi said.

"I think the goal of this should be Jeff's Jam and doing something for the community," said Delaware resident Laurie Williams. She took her two young daughters to last year's event and "they had a wonderful time," she said.

Powell resident Guy LaFontaine and manager of Bunnie's Sports Pub on Winter Street said he was "100 percent in support of the event."

Delaware resident James Lendon thanked the council "for putting yourself out there. ... I've gone to Jeff's Jam and taken my children.

"They had a wonderful time and I did not put them at risk, did not jeopardize their safety," he said, by taking them to an event where adults were drinking beer. He also reminded council that the annual festival at St. Mary's Catholic Church has a beer garden and most consider it a family event.

Delaware resident and pastor Marvin Hintz spoke in opposition to the beer sales ordinance, stating that the "consumption of beer on public property is not vital to the success of Jeff's Jam." He suggested that downtown merchants contribute part of their sales from the day to make up for what the event would lose by eliminating beer sales. He said moving it to the parking lot "is not an acceptable solution."

He also reminded council that 1,387 residents signed the petitions, which tells him that there is considerable support for not allowing drinking alcohol on public property, and council has the "responsibility of listening and being responsive to those who chose you to represent them."

Delaware resident Donna Fisher said she also was opposed to the sale of alcohol on public property if children are present.

Before the vote, Wheeler said he attended last year's event and would support this year's.

Councilman Gary Milner suggested the churches put together some sort of information booth to educate people about the dangers of underage drinking.

Jeff's Jam was established by Meyer, owner of the Backstretch Bar, after her husband, Jeff Meyer, died of cancer.

The event honors his memory, features a host of musical performances, generates money for music-related scholarships for local youths and helps support the Delaware Music Boosters.