Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Yazoo Brewer Drops Opposition to Single Serve Ban, Lends Support

Over at the Yazoo Brew blog, microbrewery owner Linus Hall has an overnight change of heart on supporting Gilmore and Jameson's beer blight bill up for second reading at tonight's Metro Council meeting:
Given that this bill won't affect either our business, or the ability of beer geeks like me to buy our favorite Belgian ales in single bottles, I have to say that I am in favor of this bill. Why? Well, I've been a east Nashville native for the past 13 years, the first 11 years right across the street from one of these "markets" that this bill is targeting. I had to pick up beer bottles in our yard daily. I had to yell at and call the police on people loitering in front of our house, drinking beer out of a paper bag and selling drugs in the alley. I was there throwing tomatoes at Rick's Market when it got torn down. And over here at Marathon, I've seen the positive results from the city and neighborhood's efforts to close down the Nile Market. What was once the most dangerous block in Nashville is pretty calm nowadays.

I agree with some commentors that say that this bill will just push the problem into other neighborhoods outside the downtown district. But if it works, it will give the police and the council another tool to use to clean up crime-infested neighborhoods. Mike Jameson's figures showing that the top ten people arrested for public intoxication had a total of 1,350 arrests shows that police enforcement of the existing laws is not working.

So hey, I support it. Just my opinion, form your own.
Linus's reference to both the Nile Market and the movement of problems to surrounding neighborhoods is consistent with my sense that sketchy traffic in Salemtown at the Volcano Discount Tobacco Market has increased since the closing of the Nile Market. Hence, we need a more comprehensive policy for moving crime out of urban neighborhoods. If ban opponents don't like it, why aren't they offering their own solutions to this ongoing community problem?

UPDATE: More from Linus about the ill effects of single-serve 40s on neighborhoods where he has lived:
beer is always going to be regulated one way or another. This is a narrowly focused bill that has the support of both the community and of the police. It will be another tool to try to crack down on markets that decide to cater to the criminals of the neighborhood, instead of the residents, whether those residents are new-comers or have lived there all their life. I have seen the positive changes in both my neighborhood in east Nashville and over here at Marathon when local markets that cater to the local criminals were shut down. And the market across the street from my old house on Porter Road is a perfect example. When I moved there in 1997, it was a hot-bed of drug dealing late into the night. Then the owner got shot in a holdup, and sold the business to someone who decided to cater to the neighborhood instead of the thugs hanging around the store. He quit selling crack pipes and bongs and blunts. He quit selling as many 40's of malt liquor and started stocking a lot more craft beer. The neighborhood responded, his business is doing great, and the rough element that always used to be hanging around is gone.
The key there is having an owner who is willing to change. The Volcano owner is not. Somebody else will have to be the catalyst for change in Salemtown.

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