Tuesday was meeting day. I went from covering a Licensing Board meeting where every excuse was used to prevent bar owners from staying open just an hour later on New Year's, to meeting with the local and mbta police on some Munroe Street incidents, where I mentioned we could have a positive impact on our safety if we were out in the streets at night.
In DTL, we walk to and from bars and restaurants. In DTL, we're trying
to build an arts scene. I've never known an active art scene that didn't
put on shows or party until who-knows-when. And I don't think most DTL
residents came here just for early morning craft fairs. In fact, many of
us, including myself, find ourselves in other cities and states
attending art events, shows, etc. because of the extended hours of not just
bars - but of the art/music venues and food establishments. Elsewhere, we can be out eating something better than fast food (that I can't even eat, anyway) at just about any time. And then, there's Lynn..
The rollback actually hurts our efforts to build a neighborhood. The
recent traffic incidents on Munroe? They happened at hours that had
nothing to do with the closing of bars. The thefts in the garage? They
had nothing to do with the closing of bars. Getting people out there
more hours, will do a lot to prevent crime, however.
Yet the Licensing Board, which is heavily swayed by police opinion, instead of looking for solutions with bar owners to both keep the public safe and hold onto businesses, only puts up roadblocks and excuses.
They didn't like O'Brien's proposal because they said it allowed for all bars to stay open an extra hour on New Years, but they said they trusted his establishment. Fine. The City Council approves things with amendments all the time. Why couldn't the Licensing Board have amended, and then voted on an amended version allowing for a select number of bars passing a criteria of no trouble in X amount of days to stay open the extra hour?? Somerville has handed out provisional 2am licenses after being a 1am city, and you can't argue with what's happened there.
It's because the answer was going to be 'No' anyway.
Video of the Licensing Board meeting is here.