Nightclub Owners Want Politicians to Be 'Urbanist', Just Without the Panhandling

Your sign might be hilarious, but please don't bother us when we're in our Saturday night best, trying to get past the red rope.
The line of people hoping to catch a glimpse of and Ludacris at Trinity earlier this month stretched from the middle of Occidental all the way down to Yesler. If you weren't on the guest list, that line was your only hope of getting through the door--but standing in it wasn't easy. Women in strappy stilettos shuffled awkwardly on their tired feet. A puddle of vomit on the sidewalk gave the air a gag-inducing aroma. And to make matters worse, the line-dwellers found themselves a captive audience to several panhandlers that refused to let up.

It's because of scenes like these that club owners and nightlife promoters are supporting Tim Burgess' anti-aggressive-panhandling law. The city council votes on the ordinance today at 2 p.m.

Ironically, one of those supportive nightlife denizens, Dave Meinert, backed Mike McGinn's candidacy, fearing that Joe Mallahan would bring a "suburbanist" vision to the city. Words like "suburbanist" are code for the law-and-order mentality that inspired the hated Teen Dance Ordinance and Operation Sobering Thought - both seen as political attacks on nightlife.

It's not that there aren't good reasons to be frustrated by the panhandlers. Trinity's entertainment director Guy Godefroy wrote a letter to opponents Bruce Harrell and Nick Licata suggesting that the scene before the Black Eyed Peas after party wasn't unique. "When customers are attempting to go from their car to our nightclub, they have to 'run a gauntlet,' which is bad enough for me, a 35-year-old man, but for a 22-year-old young woman who has driven in from Carnation to go dancing, it's terrifying," Godefroy wrote.

But Meinert was less diplomatic. He addressed Harrell specifically in a comment on Publicola saying: "Here's an idea - if you're an elected, study the problem, propose a solution, and create some action on it. Otherwise, shut the hell up, you're not a valuable part of the conversation."

That's the problem with an "urbanist" vision. You don't want cops to interfere with you or your business, but you still want to be protected from smelly guys who won't quit asking you to spare a dollar. I believe there's an old-timey saying about having and eating cake that pretty well describes this. McGinn says he will veto the panhandling law, assuming it passes today.

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