Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Private club ordinance continues to advance

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 6:50 AM

EARLY CLOSING: Discovery is one of the late-night clubs that could be hurt by an earlier closing hour for private clubs.
  • EARLY CLOSING: Discovery is one of the late-night clubs that could be hurt by an earlier closing hour for private clubs.

I've mentioned here — and will shortly post a weekly column — about behind-the-scences maneuvering to impose an earlier closing hour in Little Rock on private clubs.

A handful of clubs with old state permits open until 5 a.m. City Director Joan Adcock is pushing hard for a 2 a.m. closing. I've reported earlier — and heard further details yesterday — about a competing proposal to roll the hours back to 2 a.m., with a couple of nights with 3 a.m. closing. Nothing is on file. City Director Brad Cazort, who's done some late-night visit to Midtown Billiards, Discovery and other successful late-night venues, is leading this effort.

My original tip on this developing ordinance was that the issue would first appear in August. Nothing is on file yet, but Aug. 12 still is mentioned as the date the idea could first surface officially.

I've written before that my own experience says that nothing good comes of staying out until 5 a.m. drinking.

But not everyone works 9 to 5. Most big cities have after-hours options. An earlier closing will cost jobs, maybe put some clubs out of business.

The excuse is pressure on police.

There are lots of ways to reduce pressure on police. You could ban the sale of alcohol along Clinton Avenue in the River Market District. You could prevent schools such as eStem from locating in the heart of the downtown grid, where a huge corps of cops and safety officers is required during every afternoon rush hour to assure traffic flow and safety of school children. You could refuse Razorback games in Little Rock.

I jest. But you get the idea. All types of things create demands on public services, worthwhile though the activities might be. I think we need to think long and hard about whether the initiative to curb private businesses arises more from disapproval of the activity they offer than from a simple concern about expenditure of resources.

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