Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gilmore's Beer-Blight Bill Up Again Tonight

Nashville's holy print media trinity (Tennessean, City Paper, and Scene) have all editorialized against Erica Gilmore's legislative attempt to curb blight and crime in her Downtown precincts by prohibiting the sale of single serve beers. Her bill, which the Council will discuss tonight, seems to be a modest attempt to respond to deteriorating conditions in urban neighborhoods even as it doesn't appeal to the editorial voices who have their heads in the clouds and the ears tuned to the grocery and convenience store lobby (a.k.a., the real exploiters in these conditions).

This is simply a matter of regulating commerce in residential neighborhoods. CM Gilmore gets to the heart of the matter in her defense of the bill by pointing to cheap accessibility and the fact that police spend their time and resources on the top ten offenders of public intoxication. Cutting the problem off at the source in residential neighborhoods is reasonable for the health and safety of those who have to live around the stores, innocent pedestrians, and school children who onload and offload buses nearby.

If the media is serious in their nebulous arguments for greater law enforcement, then let them get out and make some citizens arrests themselves. Of course, there is always the other tried and true option of raising single serve sin taxes so high that consumption in these neighborhoods is driven down with rising costs. That would really get the grocery lobby and absentee slum lords screaming. I prefer another less regressive way (the same argument about after hours clubs applies to single serve commerce): let's get dangerous commercial blight out of residential neighborhoods and into specific zones and, since journalists are rushing to be the champions of the lords of blight and their patrons, let's designate the zoning proximate to any newspaper headquarters.

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