City Club Crackdown: The SNMA Responds
posted by January 12 at 16:06 PMon
The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association, a lobby group for Seattle’s music industry, just completed its analysis of Mayor Greg Nickels’s proposed nightlife license and new regulations for bars and clubs. Not surprisingly, it’s a scathing takedown of a proposal that already seems unlikely to survive in its current form. The SNMA begins by pointing out that, although Nickels included club representatives on his Nightlife Task Force, they had nothing to do with the drafting of the legislation—belying claims by the mayor’s staff that the proposal had the full sign-off of the club representatives. “This was extremely frustrating and, in our opinion, resulted in a product that is far less effective and fair than something which had been developed in true collaboration.”
Other highlights from the SNMA’s analysis:
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns in the definition section relates to the new concept of “impacted public area” which is defined as “a public place within fifty (50) feet of the nightlife premises where prospective patrons gather.” Obviously the concern regarding this definition would be for an establishment having responsibility for other people’s property or behavior who may not even have visited an establishment. This essentially conveys public safety responsibilities from the police to bar owners. We feel this is not good public policy.
New requirements that club owners prevent violence and other criminal activity and litter in and near their property are “ones which most, if not all
establishments try to meet and which there are existing regulations and penalties which
the city or state can enforce. New standards such as preventing litter 50 feet from your
business are excessive.”
It appears that the legislation seeks to target specific types of establishments, yet provides no findings or other pertinent data to justify their reason for imposing additional regulations on such establishments.
The Mayor’s proposal will dramatically reduce investment in the nightlife industry and will impair Seattle’s international image as a music and entertainment capital. At a time when other cities and states are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince the “creative class” (educated 25 to 35 year olds) that they have a vibrant night life in order to entice them to live in their cities and states1, the Mayor’s office is proposing that Seattle squander its advantage. … The Mayor’s proposal assumes that the nightlife industry is only a source of problems; it is inherently flawed in that it fails to recognize that the nightlife industry is the key to this city’s economic future.
One thing they didn’t point out is that the mayor himself has dedicated hundreds of thousands of dollars to promoting Seattle’s music industry. Given the city’s claim that the music industry contributes $650 million annually to Seattle’s economy, it might behoove Mayor Nickels to listen to what that industry is telling him.