Thursday, December 28, 2006

City Council Boogies on Fake IDs

In a report released yesterday on the city's nightlife industry, the City Council came up with a number of important initiatives that reflect a balance between the Council's concerns for greater patron safety, and the industry's concerns about its economic viability. As the NY Post reports, in a front page story this morning, the council is pushing for a crackdown con the sale and use of phony IDs-something that the clubs have been stressing as a key enforcement tool needed to address the problem of underage drinking.

In addition, as the NY Sun reports, the Council is also proposing the creation of an "Office of Nightlife Affairs," that will coordinate between the clubs and a not always friendly NYPD. In this, as in a number of the other proposals, the council is recognizing the significance of the $10 billion nightlife industry to the city's economy. The proposals also reflect the successful lobbying and public relations campaign that was launched in the middle of an anti-club media blitz after a couple of unfortunate incidents last summer.

One proposal that wasn't adopted, the so-called paid detail initiative that would allow clubs to hire off-duty cops to patrol outside their places, was apparently nixed because of the opposition of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. It is hoped that the new Nightlife Office will help to induce the department to treat the industry with a greater degree of respect that reflects its economic contribution to New York.

As a whole, the council's recommendations indicate a degree of legislative seriousness that we have criticized the body for lacking on the public health front. Perhaps this will be a harbinger of a more proactive response in this area as well in the New Year.