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The Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance (MPNA) is out of line in its efforts to curb public drunkenness (“Coffee or Teetotaling?” 6/16). Sure, nobody wants a wino pissing on their lawn or sleeping on his steps, but the businesses they are targeting are abiding by the existing laws.
Kay Kim at the Brown Street Market, for instance, is a model business owner. She and her family have done a great deal of community-building over the years. They know their core clientele and treat people with more respect and kindness than you’ll find at any 7-Eleven. Yet the MPNA is trying to hold up Brown Street Market’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board renewal—a move that could cripple the store’s (not to mention the owners’) future, until they “voluntarily” sign a document saying they will limit their alcohol-selling hours. Since the store closes by 8 each night, that condition could mean only that they are going after the early-morning sales—Sales that ANC1E-06 Commissioner Bill Mosley himself admits are “a small part” of “reducing alcoholism and public drinking” (The Mail, 6/23).
In fact, MPNA seems to be running roughshod over a lot of Mount Pleasant businesses by using the ABC challenge as a club. In addition to the issue of early-morning and late-night liquor sales, it is using the ABC threat to force new restaurants to sign agreements to have no live music whatsoever. Even acoustic! Miss the mariachi bands that used to play in your favorite Mount Pleasant restaurants? Now you know why they’re not there anymore. It’s interesting that an organization that probably doesn’t have more than 500 members, or 5 percent of the total population of Mount Pleasant, could wield so much power.
If MPNA members wish the laws were different, they should work to change the laws. Lobby someone on the city council to draft legislation prohibiting businesses that sell liquor from selling during certain hours. If the law passes, businesses will likely comply. If they don’t comply, there will be legal recourse. Meanwhile, the MPNA should stop strong-arming and hassling law-abiding business owners.