After spending an hour walking along 18th Street and spending plenty of phone time with your reporter, Jason Cherkis, to say I am not pleased with his article “The New Prohibition” (4/18), would be an understatement.
I pointed out numerous ABC and DCPA violations that occur along 18th Street in Adams Morgan, yet there is very little about that in your paper. Cherkis knew we would be having a community meeting on April 17 with the police and ABC to discuss these violations and he was aware that we had requested information on about a dozen establishments for which concerns had been expressed. These concerns ranged from noise, to illegal expansions, to serving underage drinkers. We were given a report at this meeting that indicates that the concerns of the citizens were valid in some of these establishments. One of the establishments we had on our list had 98 police calls over a 12 month period. (Coincidentally, this establishment, as well as others with violations, advertises in your paper.)
For many years, the District has been relying on the liquor industry to provide it with revenues. Therefore, I believe, there has been very little enforcement of ABC or DCPA regulations, most of which are established to protect the health and safety of the patrons and the neighborhoods.
Because the District has not enforced regulations, owners of establishments have been trying to get away with more. If we had had adequate enforcement over the years, when there was a larger staff, some of the serious safety problems would not currently exist. The positioning of a liquor license should not require a task force and five visits, as reported by Cherkis.
I am pleased that Washington City Paper at least opened up the issue of ABC violations, but I am displeased that Cherkis’ piece failed to look at the more serious violations, which do in fact merit scrutiny by the city.
Kalorama Citizens Association