Thursday, August 10, 2006

Council Summitry

As we reported yesterday the City Council leadership has jumped on the issue of night club safety and has proposed a number of legislative/enforcement measures. Part of the Council's approach is to call for a "Safety Summit" in the fall.

As the NY Times reported it appears as if the Bloomberg administration is in accord with the Council's approach. Mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser told the paper that, "We will work with the City Council to draft legislation that will increase the use of technology to root out underage drinking...and hold establishments accountable when they break the law..."

All of this is quite breathtaking as well as disturbing. The night life industry is generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year for this city and the political response to a few tragic incidents is to look for ways to increase the regulatory burden without looking for complementary approaches that can help these businesses grow and expand.

It is, therefore, counterproductive to hold a "safety" summit. A summit should be held but its focus should be more global. It should look to focus attention on what the city and its police force needs to do to help club owners make their environments safer. Every time the PC opines on this subject it is to divert attention away from the NYPD's failures.

There are other cities with vibrant night life activity and their policies focus on celebrating and promoting these important businesses. The only time we hear elected officials talking about night life business in NYC it is to carp about its failings. At the rate the council is going there won't be an industry left that escapes its regulatory wrath. We're looking hard for the pro-business councilpersons and getting eyestrain for our efforts.