Good Night Mr. Lewis: Vote Against Daniel Squadron

imageA business meeting took me to Philadelphia yesterday. Although the election outcome in New York is a foregone conclusion, many believe Pennsylvania may be close. I saw Barack Obama volunteers everywhere — even a cute little old lady with a table giving out buttons. One of the great things about Philadelphia are the murals on the sides of buildings. Here too was Obama staring righteously at us as we navigated the streets of the city of brotherly love. I showed my partner Marc Dizon an orange sticker 3 feet wide and 18 inches tall in the window of a building erected just after the signing of the Constitution of the good old USA. This sticker is a notification to the neighborhood that someone plans to open up a drinking establishment. People have 30 days to raise objections, or as I understand it, the license is issued without much ado. My Philly meeting told me that if someone objects, they go before a mediator and objections are heard, the future establishment explains how they will deal with the issue, and most of the time that’s that. Philly is like the fifth or sixth biggest market in America. They have thousands of bars, restaurants, clubs with diverse crowds, and as many big-city problems as we do in New York, and this is how they deal with the process of obtaining a liquor license.

Shoot, they even won the World Series. It’s a legit place. They close most of their joints at 2 a.m., although some places get to stay open till 3. There isn’t much of a tourist base except for families visiting the Liberty Bell or Ben Franklin’s house, and it’s pretty established for a working-class town.

New York is the city that never sleeps; Frank Sinatra said so, and he knew about these sorts of things. Community boards are rapidly turning this town into a bedroom community, and the loss of tax dollars, and eventually tourism, will be crippling. I’m not talking about the Empire State Building tourists, but the fast set who stay in expensive hotels and eat the good food. These peeps are spending beaucoup bucks, and if they can’t have fun here, Vegas and Miami and other such places will gladly take them. Nowadays the shopping is making its way to these towns, and we no longer have a monopoly on stylish places. Almost every joint that hits it big here has an outpost there. Everybody is looking for brands to import.

So why am I telling you this on Election Day? Well, I know you’re gonna vote for Obama-Wan Kenobi, as he is our only hope. And those voting might just continue down the Democratic ticket to drive those evildoer Republicans out of office. But there’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the 25th Congressional District, which covers a lot of downtown and parts of Brooklyn. Daniel Squadron, an extremely anti-club, anti-licensing, bad, bad man, is running for State Senate. It is, according to David Rabin of the New York Nightlife Association, urgent that this candidate be defeated.

He favors even more power be given to community boards, which are destroying not only the hospitality business, but in turn all the other businesses supported by people who go out at night. That’s cabs, delis, restaurants, etc. Daniel Squadron must not be elected. Spread the word, and when it’s clear that Obama is victorious, take a minute to pray for him. He will need our prayers and patience. Then go out to your favorite joint and party like it’s 2006.

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