A recent article in the New York Times titled This Remaking of Downtown Has Downside discusses a recent proposal to limit the number of bars in downtown Madison to its current level.
The idea, presumably, is to discourage the opening of establishments that offer alcohol and little else. These kinds of joints, some say, are responsible for dispatching thousands of drunk and disorderly young people into downtown streets each week, forcing the police to pay a disproportionate amount of attention to them.
In the article, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says "Frankly, nothing has worked very well, and there's still a culture of binge drinking."
Is that the intent of this particular proposal? To try and alter that culture in order to class up downtown for the new condo dwellers (who evidently didn't take a good look around before moving in)? And what about the unintended consequences of establishing a non-competitive zone for the bars currently in business downtown? Won't this proposal discourage creative entrepreneurs in favor of the entrenched joints that are there now?
This business of fighting or accomodating the city's true culture is a tough one, especially when everyone has his or her own idea of what that culture is. Maybe the best policy is to empower the police to do their jobs and enforce existing ordinances that deal with public drunkeness, underage drinking and violence. The root cause of those problems has a lot more to do with human nature than the number of bars in a geographic area.
My guess is that fewer downtown bars will only mean more business for keg purveyors, not a shift toward a more wholesome culture for college students coming of age in our city.
MAYOR CIESLEWICZ WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
10:30 a.m. Mayor's Management Team meeting, Mayor's Conf. Room
12:00 noon Common Council leadership meeting
6:30 p.m. Common Council meeting, CCB 201
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
8:00 a.m. Governor Doyle's inaugural community breakfast, Monona Terrace
10:00 a.m. Staff meeting
12:00 noon Governor Doyle's inaugural ceremony, State Capitol Rotunda
3:00 p.m. New Cities Project/Mayors Innovation Project Steering Committee conference call
4:00 p.m. Jeanne Hoffman
8:00 p.m. Doyle-Lawton inaugural ball, Monona Terrace
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Out of the office
Friday, January 5, 2007
10:00 a.m. Mario Mendoza