In today's NY Post Councilman David Yassky writes an Op-ed piece that for some reason is not posted on the paper's web site. Yassky, who chairs the Council's Small Business Committee, comes out with a four square defense of New York's Nightlife industry. While he agrees that safety needs to be improved, he observes that, "Some ideas on the table-such as freezing the number of liquor licenses-seem aimed more at shutting down bars and nightclubs than at making them safer."
Hooray for Yassky! Finally we have someone who's willing to come out strongly and publicly in defense of a vital city asset. Yassky goes on to advocate that if it's safety that concerns you than the city should be permitting the clubs to hire off-duty cops to make the streets in the neighborhood less chaotic.
Here's the money quote on this: "Fortunately, there is a simple way to address the safety concerns without driving well-run clubs out of business or underground: Let the clubs and bars hire off-duty police officers to maintain public safety outside of their establishments."
Yassky goes on to discuss the fiscal benefits of the paid detail initiative and outlines ways to prevent corruption from seeping into the program. If this approach is adopted, along with a more aggressive effort against ID fraud, there is a good chance that the city's safety worries will be addressed without any concomitant crippling of an important New York industry.