You've gotta love a good election season crackdown. Hot on the heels of the increased NYPD activity around the West Side Clubland and Friday nights closing of Spirit the Post gives word of a new scheme being dreamed up by the City Council to "fix" the problem of drinking young folk. That solution? Kick the State Liquor Authority to the curb and give its power to a NYC-only authority.
According to the Post, Councilwoman Melida Katz (D-Queens), who tried to introduce a similar bill in the State Assembly in 2000, is behind this new effort to create a City authority. If she gets her way the NYCLA would issue all the licenses in the city, have the ability to revoke or suspend those licenses, and most creepy to us would have the power to "prohibit sale of alcohol during 'any time of public emergency'"! She makes the argument for this new authority saying:
"They don't have enough inspectors, and since we're the ones paying for all the enforcement - it's the cops and the Buildings Department and Sanitation that write most of the SLA summonses - we should be the ones with the authority to shut places down."
Which makes sense to us, except that in the past year the SLA has really turned around and now takes Community Board recommendations very seriously. See some of the troubles that restaurants and bars have recently been having getting liquor licenses passed by Community Boards 2 & 3 for examples. Also, we're not totally sure that the City can legally take the SLA's responsibilities. But then again, we have the sense this is one of those pipe-dream politician things that sounds good in the Sunday paper and then quickly fades away. Would you support a city-only liquor authority?