Stewart’s Blog: What Were These Three Thinking?

Stewart’s Blog: What Were These Three Thinking?

Last year, Leon County, propelled by incidents in the City of Tallahassee, was ranked number one in the state in crime.

In addition, preliminary data for 2015 from FDLE indicates the crime rate continues to increase. Especially violent crime, like rape and aggravated assault.

So what does our City Commission do – expand the hours for night clubs and bars.

Are you kidding me?

Last week three members of the City Commission, Mayor Andrew Gillum, Commissioners Nancy Miller and Curtis Richardson – who seem to vote together a lot these days – voted to allow bars and night clubs to stay open until 4 a.m.

National study after national study has found that increasing bar hours puts more stress on public safety resources.

Here locally, police officers tell me – off the record – that the increase in hours will create more work for police officers – the kind of work we do not need!

What were these these three thinking?

Not about crime!

But it gets worse.

The decision by these three will affect the most important economic asset in our community: Florida State University.

Most college towns understand the need for a party life, but they also understand limits. Most bars and nightclubs close at 2 am.

But not in Tallahassee, thanks to Gillum, Miller and Richardson!

There are at least three bars in FSU’s College Town that will “benefit” from this change in closing times. And if what is going on until 2 a.m. continues until 4 a.m.,  FSU’s  “brand” will really be enhanced.

For example, over the summer of 2015, BeatBox was introduced to Tallahassee at the Recess in College Town.

What is a BeatBox you ask? BeatBox holds five liters of booze and it carries a pop. It is 11.1% alcohol compared to 4% for light beer.

Under the extended hours, can you buy a BeatBox before 2 a.m. – when law requires bars to stop selling alcohol – and drink until the new closing time of 4 a.m.?

Take a look a the BeatBox introduction to Tallahassee. Warning: You may be offended.

And guess what? Your City tax dollars help support this through millions of dollars in tax breaks through the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

Yes, instead of a northside community center or sidewalks in neighborhoods that need them or lower fire service fees, we support this type of economic development with our tax dollars.

Does this look like the kind of economic development we want in our community?

And then there is this. The Coliseum, a night club that has been able to stay open until 4 a.m. due to a quirk in the law, has some very aggressive security guards handling a crowd last year.

Check out the security guard stomping on a patron.

Can we expect this kind of event at other nightclubs with the extended hours?

What were these three thinking?

Not about Tallahassee!

Bars and nightclubs should close at 2 a.m.

15 Responses to "Stewart’s Blog: What Were These Three Thinking?"

  1. Stewart, My son will be graduating from Leon High School on Saturday, May 28th. As per the long standing tradition, on graduation night at 11PM, the graduating Seniors will be welcomed at FSU’s Leach Center for a safe, festive, final high school celebration. This event, as in all of the years past, ends at 4AM, the exact time that our elected officials decided to keep our local bars open until.

    I pray to god, that no parent, student, guardian or other is injured on this night (or any other) because they were on or near campus picking up their recent graduate at the 4AM, Saturday night bar closing time. Think of the horrific outcome these elected officials would encounter if something did happen. My recommendation if I were one of these elected officials is to sleep with 1 eye open and hope that none of the hundreds of people involved in this event are injured because of their decision to allow people to booze it up until 4AM!!.

    Please forward this reply to our elected officials and put them on FURTHER notice of how their incompetent governing affects our community.

  2. I totally agree with Joe. It’s just like my daddy used to say, “No good comes after midnight; be home by ll:30pm.”

  3. 30 years ago, I was a practicing alcoholic and found it difficult to leave a bar before closing time. As do a significant percentage of other regular drinkers, today. So, whenever I visited a friend in the community of Hawthorne, outside of Gainesville, I appreciated the weekend bar closing hours of midnight and the weekday closing hours of 10pm. You read that right, ten o’clock bar closing hours during the week, and a bar fly appreciating it. Instead of encouraging our young people to drink into the morning hours, we should close the bars earlier. There’s simply no need for anyone to be drinking alcohol in a restaurant or bar past midnight during the week.

  4. First, there are TWO CRAs. The Frenchtown Southside CRA are located in primarily African American communities whose infrastructures are below acceptable standards: no side walks, poor lighting, flooding dangers, housing below standard and empty parcels of land and vacant dilapidated buildings, etc. These issues and others like them come under the heading of BLIGHT, blight mostly caused by poverty and “past” segregation: Jim Crow. These are typically minority “neighborhoods.”

    Then there is the Downtown CRA which came into existence under a law suit which got negotiated – as I understand it.

    The Downtown CRA is that area BETWEEN the boundaries of the FRENCHTOWN /SOUTHSIDE CRA. As any breathing person can see, MOST of the new development has happened BETWEEN the original CRA neighborhoods.

    I could go on and on, but two things are important here.
    1. While flooding has been addressed and low income housing has been brought in line( Good Bread Hills) little else in Frenchtown has occurred. CRA staff have spent millions on projects that are on the borders of Frenchtown and have spent millions to move the shelter: 1.5 million to private foundations. In the meantime, Frenchtown continues to languish to the whims of private developers with ties to the city staff. The battle homeowners and business owners in Frenchtown are fighting have to do with getting the NEEDS of the community met. Infrastructure issues! Issues the money is supposed to address.
    We are summarily ignored. We are victims in some grand plan that we did not devise. What you’re seeing has little to do with what we’ve asked for. Driving through the community is the ONLY proof you need to see that Frenchtown is NOT getting what it should have. Instead, we are the Blight needed to qualify for the money. Without that Blight there is no program. Believe me, we are not ignorant to our status and we continue to battle. We hope we are gaining ground, but it is too soon to tell. And by too soon, I mean 16 years!
    2. The Downtown CRA has its own set of rules that allows them to “call their own shots” more or less. But then that “neighborhood” is not made up of minorities or those whose lives were curtailed by Jim Crow.

  5. Miller is just looking out for the campaign support/constituency that she will need for re-election. She needs to go!

  6. People:
    Trouble, oh we got trouble.
    Right here in River City
    With a capital “T”
    That rhymes with “T”
    And that stands for tool
    And that stands for fool
    We’ve surely got trouble.

  7. Both the City and County Commission has been corrupt for a very long time. These commissioners and others keep getting re-elected over and over again by an uneducated following, to the point that they actually begin think that they are important. Once they leave office, they find out the hard way that they are not important at all. They will try to call in favors and no one will come to their rescue. Why? Because they are no longer in office and can’t do anything for the lobbyist, special interests, etc. and therefore are of no more use to them (i.e. UNIMPORTANT).

  8. Government matters. We will have high crime rate, high unemployment and low economic growth until we change our local government. Local government is a disaster. Thank you TR for shining a light on the incompetence of our elected officials.

  9. When the increase in alcohol-related arrests, illnesses, crime and possible deaths start to rise in our college town, who will our City Commission blame? It will happen, as there are always consequences to stupidity.

  10. This is not accurate. The City, and only the City, are responsible for closing times no matter what state alcohol license a business has. The Mayor is providing misinformation.

    1. I haven’t looked at the state liquor licensing law; I was just passing along what the Mayor said last night … at least that’s what I thought I heard him he say.

  11. At last night’s The Village Square, Mayor Gillum, I believe, made the point that the state, not the city, issues the license with the closing times. Some state licenses allow retailers to sell alcoholic beverages until 2:00 A.M.; some allow sales until 4:00 A.M.. According to the Mayor, the city’s ordinance simply allows those bars that are licensed, can afford, and want to stay open until 4:00 A.M. may do so. If one’s state license does not allow one to sell alcoholic beverages 2:00 A.M., one may not sell alcoholic beverages after 2:00 A.M.

  12. Tallahassee residents had to pay the largest increase in property taxes in the history of our community to subsidize city bars, city grocery stores, and city subsidized student apartments. Who is going to run against these incumbents?

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