Bar District: Bad Decisions

An AZCentral article last Thursday describes a case pending before the Arizona State Supreme Court in which hundreds of driving-under-the-influence cases could be thrown out because of faulty blood analysis equipment.

This challenge started with a hearing a couple of years ago before the Maricopa County Superior Court. According to the Republic,

The 2013 hearing examined whether a decision to install old software on a new blood-testing machine affected evidence analyzed by Scottsdale’s crime lab. Emails showed people working in the lab knew about the problems, which included equipment that quit running during tests, erased baseline information from measurements and mislabeled vials with wrong names or numbers, according to court documents.

I don’t blame the crime lab folks for these problems nearly so much as I blame Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council for squeezing the police department budget, while simultaneously subsidizing Phil Mickelson, the PGA, and Jason Rose’s polo matches.

These problems began around the time Mayor Lane and members of the city council were berating public safety chief Alan Rodbell over police overtime costs related at least in part to the burgeoning bar district. Yours truly filed a complaint over this interference in the administration of the city (specifically prohibited by the City Charter), and the complaint was upheld by a retired judge. Unfortunately, there were no real penalties proscribed, and this went totally unnoticed by AZCentral and the Arizona Republic.

But the Republic’s quote of a Scottsdale Police Department spokesman inadvertently gets to the root of the problem:

Regardless of how the Arizona Supreme Court eventually rules, Scottsdale police will continue to focus DUI enforcement around Old Town Scottsdale. Sgt. K.C. Moore said that’s because the area is home to bars and restaurants that, like Las Vegas, can put people in a position where they can choose to drink excessively.

“We see the amount of alcohol that is being consumed,” he said. “We understand people make bad decisions in an environment like that.”

That’s not to mention the steady stream of reports from the bar district of pedicab crashes, golf cart accidents, assault, sexual assault, stabbings, shootings…and DUI-related injuries and deaths, because no DUI task force can catch them all. And of course the politically intoxicated folks in the Scottsdale city hall Kiva whose poor decisions enabled all of this.

Sgt. Moore inadvertently hit the nail on the head, though. Many political observers have pointed out time and again how a concentration of liquor licenses like that in our bar district (highest in the state) is against every principle of planning and zoning, and inevitably leads to these kinds of problems.

But Lane and the council get far too much campaign cash from the liquor industry to heed our warnings, which were proven true almost from the start.

The original version of this story referred to Sgt. Moore as “Officer” Moore. Apologies.


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1 Comment

  1. Oops! Left one out. We have our public intoxication ordinance in violation of state statutes. Been that way or a couple of years. The City attorney and Mayor and Council are all comfy sitting back to see if somebody else will fix things. Meantime the ER at Scottsdale Osborn, fills up fast on Friday and Saturday nights and many nights during the season. Hospital security has their hands full babysitting those folks, and it is required to register them in and do the proper admitting work-up. Some of them are so rambunctious you can see them wandering around trying to hide from staff.
    On a really more serious note the hospital has had to divert really sick people to other hospitals because Osborn was full of drunks. Way to lead Council.

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