22-Sep-2010 (Wed) Wherein the alcohol tax is dead.

Mayor Newsom vetoed the alcohol tax today. He only needed to do that because it (just barely) passed the Board of Supervisors. So this means your drink prices aren't in immediate danger of increasing.

This whole process was frustrating in a very typical way. Roughly once a week for a month, I would get a panicky email from the CMAC folks imploring me to get as many people as possible to show up to the Board of Supervisors meeting... only to find out, after that meeting, that for one political or procedural reason or another, discussion of the tax had been postponed another week. This kind of thing is really, really common, and makes me hesitant to put out the call for people to show up to things like this, because someone only needs to get burned like that once before they stop listening to future requests, and I might really need them to show up some day. The infrastructure of politics seems almost custom-designed to lull you into crying wolf, causing the public to disengage... Conspiracy? Or something far stupider? You decide.

Anyway, the alcohol tax is dead, yay. Not to worry, though, Marin Institute shill Supervisor Chiu is still hawking this idiotic idea of a "promoter permit". The magical fantasy here is that if some gangbanger talked a naive restaurant owner into letting them use their venue for a teen-crack-and-guns party, that A) said gangbanger would have registered with the city first, and B) anyone would have noticed or cared. In other words, if only there was a law, then venue operators who didn't do their due diligence in checking out the people they chose to partner with would somehow magically be protected from their own incompetence?

The only way to make something like this actually work would be basically the same as requiring every venue to apply for a single-event permit for every single event. This would require a vast city infrastructure to support it, and where would the money come from? Permit fees, I guess. So I'd be expected to pay hundreds of dollars each night in the vague hope that somewhere in the middle of this, a miracle would happen that prevented bad venue operators from working with troublemaking promoters. Yeah, ok.

It's just such a pinheaded idea that I can't believe it's still getting press. I guess Chiu needs a crusade to make people think he's useful, though.

The cops are also making noise again about requiring clubs to install video cameras and metal detectors, because if there's anything that could possibly make the nightlife of this city more attractive, it's making it feel more like a trip through the security line at the airport. Barry was quoted in that article:

"If there is an event where I believe I might need a metal detector, I will choose to not book that event," Synoground said. "How often are there assaults at the Giants games? But we don't say, 'Gosh, we should have metal detectors at the Giants game.' That would be horrific PR."

I wish all these people would just go away. I'm sure there are some lovely small towns in the Midwest or the South that would appreciate their careful, parental ministrations.


Beer distributors oppose Prop. 19

On Sept. 7, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors trade association gave $10,000 to a committee opposing Proposition 19, the measure that would change state law to legalize pot and allow it to be taxed and regulated.

"Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear," Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in statement. "Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. Their mission is to drive people to drink".

You stay classy, beer distributors.

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