Sunday, July 29, 2007

2 AM Licenses: Solve the Problem, Not the Not-Problem

AP is slightly worried about a beat-the-dead-horse situation with another post on 2 am licenses, but this recent letter to the editor shows many of my arguments, all in one convenient location. There will be less frequent commentary than usual, so as to better display the flow of the letter, and the mistakes of logic.

Here we go:

Regarding a letter on liquor licenses:

The residents of Acton's Landing will soon witness the problems outlined in the letter. When I lived on South Street:

-My car was vandalized.

-Two of our vehicles were damaged by a hit-and-run driver.

-Seven cars on Charles Street had their windshields damaged late one night.

-Our neighbors had to clean condoms off their yards.

-Beer bottles were left on the sidewalk.

-Rowdy revelers returned to their cars late at night.

-Drunks relieved themselves against the wall of our abode (and on a driver from Reliable Cab Co.)

Everyone agrees that these things are problems. But here is where the reasoning in this letter starts to go array:

To solve these problems:

-Bartenders should not continue to serve drunken patrons.

Or, people could exercise SELF, REPEAT SELF-restraint and not drink themselves silly. Even so, many (if not most) bartenders are required to take alcohol training classes such as TIPS or TAM to help them identify recklessly intoxicated patrons. The main point remains: it is YOUR responsibility to monitor and maintain an acceptable level of sobriety for YOURSELF.

-Alcohol should not be served past midnight on weeknights. (If, however, one establishment gets a 2 a.m. license, they all should!)

I could not disagree and agree with you more! Let's start with the 'agree'. You are correct: if one gets it, all should get it. The planning commission, however, expressly stated that equity is not one of their goals! Go figure. Now for the 'disagree'. You say that a solution to the above problems is to move back bar closing times to midnight, and further distinguish weeknights from weekends. What problem does this solve? Seriously, how does changing hours of operation affect any of these things. I ponder:

-Does it matter what time your car gets vandalized?

-Are hit-and-run accidents time sensitive?

-Is it better to clean condoms off your yard on weekends than on weekdays?

-Do drunk revelers urinate less at midnight than at 2 am?

Answer: HELL NO! The point is: the time doesn't matter. All of these things are already against the law. Changing the closing times of bars is largely arbitrary and irrelevant. If PEOPLE behaved appropriately, perhaps because they knew they would be fined or go to jail if they were caught doing any of the things you mentioned, bars could theoretically be open 24/7.

Should we ban cars because people speed? Should we ban the internet because people use it to steal identities? Should we abolish our entire government because Congressmen are involved in scandals? NO!!! Get it? It's the PEOPLE that are the problem!

Also, the residential parking regulations are backward. Non-residents can park in residential districts for two hours during the day, but all night starting around 8 p.m. There should be parking only for residents, or guests for whom parking passes have been purchased, from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Agreed. Residents work during the day and need their spots at night. But let's be honest--the city does not want to take the effort to coordinate parking enforcement outside of their business hours.

Here's an idea: fully staff the police department, then have the extra officers ENFORCE the public intoxication laws and the parking laws at night! Agreed? Ok. Great.

Also, people, you gotta remember that 3 types of people need to park downtown: residents, workers, and consumers. Downtown has the uniquely charming aspect of having residential areas next to business areas--that's why they call it DOWN-TOWN. You have to share the space with businesses and patrons. If you don't want to, move out of the middle of the town.

Just because Acton's Landing is about five blocks from Main Street, that doesn't mean it isn't affected by drunken patrons. As long as the law's aren't enforced, the revelers will continue to annoy.
CARYL P. WEISS, Annapolis

Exactly perfectly correct!!!!! Let me repeat that last sentence:

As long as the law's aren't enforced, the revelers will continue to annoy.

You have just wiped out your entire letter and supported my point in one single sentence. You said, if the current laws are not enforced, nothing will change. In other words, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT TIME BARS CLOSE!!! Enforcement, enforcement! If this doesn't happen, nothing else matters. The fact that many citizens and elected officials do not understand this threatens to cause unnecessary harm and hardship to local business-owners.

So much for lightening up on the commentary.