At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, Commissioner Nancy Miller, who previously voted with Commissioner Curtis Richardson and Mayor Andrew Gillum to extend bar hours from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., made a motion asking the Commission to reconsider that vote.
The motion to reconsider the vote passed 4-1. Commissioner Curtis Richardson was the lone vote against the motion. However, after the vote and later in the meeting, Commissioner Richardson changed his vote to reflect his desire to further discuss the issue. The issue will be revisited during the July 13th City Commission meeting.
On Wednesday, Commissioner Miller gave no reason for her motion to reconsider the decision.
However, since the 3-2 vote to extend bar hours, several things have occurred that could have prompted the reconsideration.
First, FDLE released crime statistics for 2015 which indicated Leon County was ranked No. 1 in crime rate in the state of Florida for the second consecutive year.
Second, City Attorney Lew Shelley told TR the new ordinance may have created a situation that presents enforcement challenges for the Tallahassee Police Department. You can read our report here.
And third, Commissioner Gil Ziffer, less than two weeks ago, described the extended bar hours as a “very bad decision” when asking officials to explain how Tallahassee would deal with an attack like the one that took place in Orlando.
During the debate on extending bar hours back in January of this year, Commissioner Maddox and Ziffer argued that public safety resources could be stressed with later operating hours during a time when the City is struggling with crime issues.
Commissioner Richardson and Miller argued the earlier closing time would have a negative impact on jobs. However, Commissioner Miller and Commissioner Richardson never directly addressed the public safety issue and Mayor Gillum made statements that indicated it was not an overriding concern.
TR wrote a story about campaign contributions donated to City Commissioners by bar owners prior to the vote and also published an opinion piece about the decision.
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to have to buy alcohol after midnight. Period.
Occasionally a blind squirrel finds a nut. Well I have watched her the last few years and this is a welcome change to her usual wrongheadedness. This was a bad idea to begin with and 2 Commissioners saw right through what this was trying to do – which was help the Edison once again. Good thing she has changed her tune, as she will reverse the vote.
I’m sure she will find some stupid program to fund and a tax to raise before I hit “post comment” and send her congratulations.
Maybe since the closing of 101 the same owner as the Edison Ms. Miller no longer feels a strong allegiance to currying favours to this venture.
Hope voters will keep this in mind at the polls since commissioners dropped the ball on public safety. They should be voted out across the board.
It seems so obvious that extending the hours is/was a bad idea. Hopefully this bad decision can be remedied.
I agree with “James” whoever he might be. Leave the bar hours up to the bar owners. The economics of the situation will soon play into action and solve all facets of the problem.
Credit to Commissioner Miller
To me, it looked like a political decision on the part of a landlord (city) to help their restaurant investment. Not naming any names! Glad Commissioner Miller is seeing the error.
What used to happen was a massive 2:00 AM flushing of the bars and massive drunken traffic jams that all led to either What-a-burger or Waffle House. Allowing a later closing time just pushes that scenario back to 4:00 AM when Police resources have been cut to the overnight skeleton crew. There is no way to shut down a town full of hard drinking legislators and college kids early so…..
At this point we should consider scrapping the whole thing and just let the bars run until they decide there is not enough business to cover costs. It avoids a singular dump of traffic and stops pretending like any City imposed “time out” is going to alter the course of criminal behavior. A trickle out is easier to manage than a rush. Stopping alcohol sales for a few overnight hours is pointless when kegs and cases are cheap. We are tying to put out fire that perhaps should be allowed to just burn itself out. It may even reduce the “after party” noise issued plaguing many neighborhoods.
Most cities, including those in Florida, do not have “extended” hours for bars to remain open past 2 a.m., due to the obvious and high probability of additional crime and drunk-driving problems. People drinking at a bar past 2 a.m. is simply not a wise judgement by individuals or city officials’ policy-making.
Creating even harder conditions for Tallahassee’s Police Dept. is equally a bad move, yet our city commissioners ignored that. I imagine that the campaign contributions from bar owners helped them with such a difficult decision.
Also, it should surprise no one that Mayor Gillum “makes statements indicating public safety is not an overriding concern.” Tallahassee’s No. 1 violent crime rate in Florida is ample proof of his “concerns”.
I’d love to hear the perspectives of the bar owners. Have the extra two hours been a boom for them? Or has it been more trouble than it’s worth? What about police stats, has there been a change during the hours in question?