September 2, 1:28 PM click here to comment > 4
Last night The Stranger and the Washington Bus hosted a public forum at the Hunter Gatherer Lodge in Capitol Hill to discuss the Seattle Nightlife Initiative. The Mayor’s Office is doing outreach as well, to community groups and precinct councils, but The Stranger made an excellent point. We weren’t talking to people where they will be most affected by the Initiative – in the bars and clubs themselves.
The Stranger and the Bus brought out dozens of people we might not typically hear from in a public input process like this, to ask questions of a panel which included Mayor McGinn, Alan Rathbun from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Bob Scales from the City Attorney’s office, Dave Meinert, music and nightlife advocate and one of the organizers of the Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle Nightlife and Music Association president Pete Hanning and Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer.
There were some great questions about how the staggered hours proposal will work and requiring new tenants and home buyers in nightlife areas to sign an agreement recognizing that nighttime noise is an inevitable side effect of living in a vibrant, active area. Meinert replied that some municipalities already have this requirement in place, so it’s certainly possible, and Hanning pointed out that a building across from his bar, the Red Door, requires tenants to sign that type of agreement before moving in. Meinert argued that though club and bar owners should be accountable for the noise they produce, and home buyers and renters should research their new neighborhoods before committing, some of the burden should fall to developers. “There can be two buildings next to a club, one where you can hear nothing and one where you can hear everything. The City can do a better job regulating developers to make sure all new buildings are shielded from noise.”
We caught up with Toby Crittenden from the Washington Bus after the forum to get his take on the event. The Bus is all about getting young people engaged in politics and building a progressive coalition that transcends some of the specific issues that divide us. He told me that nightlife reform is a great opportunity to energize young voters and activists because it makes them realize what a huge impact these policy decisions, usually made behind closed doors by people in suits, have on their everyday lives. “What I love about this issue is that it makes people who don’t think they’re political, realize that they are.”
Toby says – YOU are the Bus!
Stay tuned at the Mayor’s blog for more on the Seattle Nightlife Initiative.
Posted by: Words: April Thomas Pictures: Jen Nance