Wednesday, November 04, 2009

CB3 supports deregulation of bars

I don't blame bar owners for wanting the police to quit ticketing them. But how could the Community Board buy the argument that ticketing bars threatens the economic viability of the Lower East Side? How many bars have been closed by excessive ticketing? Any?

CB3's priorities support deregulating bars -- police enforcement was the only tool regulating bar excess. CB3's capitulation doesn't protect a needed business, it merely adds profit to an already profitable business of questionable value to the community and of known harm. Is that the CB's role -- to hand more money over to a business that isn't in trouble, at the expense of regulation and the well-being of residents?

No doubt the bars have raised real estate values in this neighborhood, both commercial and residential. In fact, the creation of destination nightlife has skyrocketed real estate values and undermined commercial and residential stability. What have bars done for our community but gentrify it into an overpriced, overhyped destination for transient children of wealth? Does that build community or destroy it?

The tax revenue generated by the bars does not come back to the neighborhood. It goes to the city. And the reason the bars are "the only industry we have down here" is because the bars have driven out everything else.

CB3 members, you have brains. Use them.


Anonymous said...

Well, for one thing, the bars have made our streets tremendously safer. Having some people out on the street past midnight makes a huge difference. If you lived here in the 80s and early 90s, this point would be blindingly obvious. You're probably not a woman who has to walk home late at night, which lets you rant about "transient children of wealth" with blinders on.

The Lo-Down said...

I think it's important to note that CB3 DID include the resurrection of the "cabaret units" in their list of priorities. In their meeting the other night, they moved the item further down on the list of priorities. Two CB3 members (both bar owners) felt strongly than the units unfairly targeted bars. There were also board members, including SLA Committee Chair Alexandra Militano, who argued that the cabaret squads helped keep rogue restaurants in check. As Rob points out- there's a bigger issue here: what kind of businesses can/will the neighborhood support? Right now I'm not sure members of the CB3 feel like they know the answer to that question.