Fast Lane to the Rescue: Bar District Safety

Hold the presses: Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane wants to hold a meeting with bar owners about bar district safety. No, make that “meetings,” plural. That’s like his assistant, JP “vodka with a” Twist wanting to have a meeting with bartenders about drinking and driving.

Hundreds of citizens [including yours truly: Noisy Neighbors] have been complaining to Lane and the City Council for YEARS about concerns related to noise, litter, and crime in the bar district. Meanwhile, Lane (and council members Dennis Robbins, Linda Milhaven, Suzanne Klapp; along with former council members Ron McCullagh, and Lisa Borowsky) have steadfastly defended the “private property rights” of bar property kingpin Shawn Yari [Developer’s Vision of Scottsdale].

They’ve done so with a steady stream of campaign funds [Bar money buys the mayor] from Yari associates and bar owners; and from the bar lobby association BACIC [Beverage Alcohol Community Information Council] of now-Maricopa County supervisor Steve Chucri. And they’ve lied about the financial revenue from the bar district [citing a ‘study’ commissioned by Chucri: Life’s a Beach Club] while they’ve voted to create the highest concentration of bars in Maricopa County (maybe the entire state) literally a block away from an historic retirement community.

Lane posted this on his campaign website:

Bars are self-sustaining. Mayor Lane said the new study more accurately portrays the economic impact of the district, and all the bars and restaurants in the downtown. They are big numbers and should have huge economic impact on our city and on the overall, so in that sense it’s positive.

At every city council meeting, there are anywhere from a half-dozen to two dozen new liquor licenses on the agenda. Even though many are for establishments which will operate safely and in full compliance with the law, virtually all are approved on the “consent agenda” with no discussion whatsoever about public safety and neighborhood impact [Mayoral Forums].

In rare exceptions when discussion of a particular application actually does take place–and even if dozens of residents testify against the permit–Lane dismisses their concerns and votes to approve anyway [e.g., Downside Risk: Knowing Your Friends].

Lane has actively interfered with city administration in violation of the City Charter [Mayor criticizes loaned Glendale police tower]  to reduce public safety manpower in the bar district, and he has publicly berated police chief Alan Rodbell [again in violation of the Charter, Public Safety Drama, Ethics, What Ethics?] because of budget overruns I believe are mostly related to bar district enforcement. Lane and the council were warned well in advance that bar district revenues were going to fall significantly short of budget demands on public safety.

I think the worst part is that the Arizona Republic doesn’t see fit to report half of the information I’ve presented here.

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  1. I just went to the AZ Central site and the headline states that the bouncer who was stabbed recently at Martini Ranch has died. Another person involved in the altercation was treated and released.

    It’s true that this could have happened anywhere but the way bars keep materializing in the bar district only increases the odds.

  2. Not being a shy violet, I will say that none of this had to happen if the Mayor and Council had taken to the time to revisit the Downtown Plan and incorporate the policies and ordinances to guide development of the bar/entertainment district. Heck they don’t even have a definition for it in the Downtown Plan which was approved in 2010………guess the cat was out of the bag and they didn’t know how to herd cats.

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