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There's no grassroots effort on the part of yuppie condo owners to shut down noisy neighborhood bars? Say it ain't so.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 1, 2007 1:24 PM

Maybe he means Fremont?

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 1, 2007 2:01 PM

I'm sure the Mayor didn't write this letter himself, but whoever did should be reprimanded. This letter is divisive and makes claims that are outright falsehoods.

First, if you read the whole letter, it starts off setting up a false conflict between residents and nightclub owners. The issue of density in urban centers is much more complex and these groups need want the same thing - a safe, vibrant nightlife. To achieve this they need to work together. The real issue is individuals on the street violating existing noise laws, drug laws, public urination laws, etc, and there being no police on the beat to enforce these laws. Some of these people are in the neighborhoods because of nightclubs - others because of other restaurants and bars, still others are homeless, many are drug dealers, some are petty criminals. Targeting just a few 'nightlife premises' (whatever that means), will not solve the majority of the issues - especially the issue of noise on the street at night which no nightclub owner can control. The majority of residents live downtown and want nightlife, they just people on the street to be controlled. The Mayor's ordinance does nothing to deal with this.

The letter goes on to claim that the ordinance was developed with input from a task force. This is untrue. There was a task force, but it's input was ignored. If the leader of the task force, who no longer works for the Mayor, would have listened to the task force members a real, workable, sane solution would have resulted. That didn't happen.

This ordinance will stop new investment in Seattle's nightlife businesses by making the risk of starting new investment too high. It will result in the closing of many current venues. It will create a system where once again the Police and City Attorney can close any club for almost any reason - so minority owned businesses or ones that attract a minority or fringe audience should be especially concerned as they will be targeted. This law also dodges the real issues which will result in those issues needing to be dealt with at a later date - more legislation to come.

The reality of this ordinance is that someone with no knowledge of the issues led a process that was completely botched and resulted in horrible legislation. The Mayor's staff knows this, but instead of taking the time to fix it they have dumped it on the Council to handle. Licata needs to do the right thing and not refer this at all. Stand up to the mayor and tell him his lame attempts at solving a serious issue by pawning it off to inexperienced and unqualified staff, and then dumping the shit results on the council won't be tolerated.

Either way, this ordinance needs to be killed. It will be bad for residents and bad for the city.

If you're interested in making sure Seattle has a vibrant nightlife industry, with clear safeguards for neighborhood residents and businesses, I urge you to contact the Seattle City Council and encourage councilmembers to take action aginst this legislation.

If you would like to e-mail the Mayor with your comments, please visit

to contact the Council go to

Posted by Meinert | February 1, 2007 3:25 PM


Your wrong on a number of points.
1. There is a conflict between residents and nightclub owners. Your Orwellian attempt to deny this only strengthens that point.
2. The Nightlife Industry as a whole has no ability to police itself. The necessitates some form of city regulation.
3. A few common sense ordinances won't kill the industry it will protect it from itself.
4. It is urban density, one of the things that make a city a city, that is in danger here. Who would want to live where there are not basic standards of safety and liviability.
5. At least Club owners got to be ignored. Residents were not even included in NTF discussions.


Posted by Zander | February 1, 2007 4:36 PM

RE: Dave, Zander's comments,

There is TOTALLY a conflict between neighbors and club owners! Besides the well-to-do condo owners above what is now the Twist nightclub, Belltown residents have had little ability to push back against the clubs owners who act like they don't give a shit about the neighborhood.

The issue is complex, but until something can be worked out, Belltown residents are going to have to do what they've been doing; fight tooth and nail to keep clubs accountable.

Posted by Will | February 1, 2007 4:51 PM

Zander, you are a good neighborhood activist. But an activist nonetheless.

To your points - Residents were included in the task force and have had far more input with the Mayor than anyone else. In fact the Mayor is sending a lobbyist to neighborhood council meetings asking the members to write the council in support of the ordinance. This is a fact.

There is no cohesive 'nightlife industry'. That is a term some half-witted bureaucrat invented. Individual businesses police themselves quite well. When the break the law, they should be punished. When they do it continually they should be closed - which is exactly what happened with Mr. Lucky and Larry's. But the good operator should be protected, and in the Mayor's Ordinance good operators can be easily closed. This is wrong, and bad policy for all.

These are not 'common sense' ordinances. Unless by 'common' you mean ordinances that make sense to people with no experience running a business. All the good, successful club owners agree some good ordinances would be fine. But these aren't them.

I don't want to live in a city where there are no standards. Worse yet is a city where there are standards that aren't enforced. Or where individuals aren't held accountable for their actions and where business owners are punished for those individuals' actions that take place outside of their businesses.

This ordinance will not solve the problems the residents are having. And I agree the residents did not get enough of a voice here. We need to get the residents and business owners together with policy makers in order to come up with some real solutions to noise, public drunkeness, crime, drug dealers, etc. But regulating clubs and putting them out of business won't solve these issues, though some new regulations will certainly be part of the bigger solution.

Public urination, public drunkeness, crack dealing - they are all illegal but there are not enough police in the right places on the streets at night to enforce these laws. When individuals are yelling on the street at night, they need to be ticketed. And we also need parking lot owners to be accountable for their businesses. And we also need to reconsider closing times as other cities have (and they have had good results).

Zander - you know this process was a sham. I think you are willing to punish all clubs, no matter how well run, because you are bummed about a few that behave badly. Get past that and let's all work together to create a vital 24-hour city, not the suburban vision of the city Tim Ceis and the Mayor (is that redundant) have.

Posted by meinert | February 1, 2007 7:09 PM


True I am a neighborhood activist. Is it not also true that you are a club promoter and sometime owner?

For the record I am not out to punish all the clubs. Most are well run and don't have problems. Those that aren't need to be shut down. These proposals will make that process easier.
You have argued for more cops. More cops will be available if they are not babysitting these clubs. It is time Seattle's citizens ened what amounts to a subsidy. Private security for the clubs provided by public taxes to pay the police.
Here's a suggestion why don't you guys pass the hat to cover their overtime. I doubt you get many contributions though. This is all about a few club owners making more money. When you boil it down your case is about protecting the profit margin on a martini.
It is only when your cash flow is threatened that you start to get concerned about public safety and art.

Posted by Zander | February 1, 2007 8:34 PM

Zander - I'm not a club owner or club promoter, though have been both in the past.

You may not be out to punish all club intentionally, but that is the result of what you are pushing. This ordinance and those pushing it, intentionally or not, are truly the enemy of sanity and safe, successful nightlife in Seattle.

We don't need more cops to patrol the clubs. We need them to be where people are causing problems, not inside clubs but on the street at night in dense neighborhoods that operate 24 hours a day. As the city becomes more dense and the hours people operate at change, we need the services the city provides to change with them. But what we face is a political climate where our electeds don't want to make the changes because they can't accept the fact the city is becoming a city instead of the dense suburb they envisioned.

Ironically, nightclubs used to hire police and pay them overtime, but Nickels refuses to let this happen anymore. So sure, tax every drink 10 cents and have that go to pay for more cops, and at the same time tax parking at night. Of course that unfairly targets a few businesses out of many that attract people into the city at night, and also ignores the other issues happening in the dense neighborhoods. Also keep in mind that the music community alone (not counting the revenues from non-music related bars and restaurants) contributes over $11 million per year to the City in taxes and drives over $1. billion in economic activity.

Reality - many people moving to the city where there is nightlife are doing so BECAUSE there is nightlife. And they like it. Much of the business coming to a bar in any neighborhood is from people who live close by.

This isn't about a few club owners making money. It's about the health of the music industry in Seattle. I want music, and the backbone of the music community is live performances. We need good, well run venues. If we discourage good, smart people from investing in new venues (as the Mayor's ordinance will do), while closing others, what do you think the result will be? You'll create a vacuum that will be filled by fly by night operators running unsafe and shitty venues.

Zander, I know you don't believe this ordinance will take care of the issues most residents care about because you told me so to my face. You agree there needs to be more police, or at least that's what you have said directly to me. If what you want is good, safe, and sane nightlife, we want the same thing. This ordinance won't achieve that. We need to work together to come up with a plan that will.

I am also worried about the future of the city. People will move to Seattle and support it's growth if we have great street level arts and entertainment. If not, they won't. I want a vital, economically healthy, interesting city. Not a dense suburb.

Posted by Meinert | February 2, 2007 9:51 AM

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