So let me get this straight: Homeowners in a diverse middle-income pocket of Capitol Hill, backed by the neighborhood association, want the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board to force a store to live up to an agreement it voluntarily signed to stop peddling Thunderbird and half-pints in brown paper bags, and what do they get in return? A smarmy Washington City Paper column (“Bottled Fury,” 3/14) that mocks their effort to stop their street from becoming a combination latrine, trash bin, and hangout for drunks.
Homeowners Stewart Harris and Karen Carrie deserve a slap on the back instead of a slap in the face for trying to force the store in question, Trants in North Lincoln Park, to be a good neighbor. Is it too much to ask for an urban grocery to help keep its street free of broken glass orheaven forbiddiversify its sales so that it doesn’t rely on the sale of singles and half-pints to alcoholics for a whopping half of its revenue? Apparently City Paper whiner/writer Paul Belden thinks so. And he has local boozer “Larry” (who Belden apparently couldn’t get to remember his last name) along with a crack-possessing neighbor to back him up.
As someone who lives around the corner from a street with three liquor stores and five bars, I sympathize with Harris and his Lincoln Park neighbors. Nearly every day I fish a few Colt .45s and broken glass out of my azaleas, chase bellowing drunks out of my alleyway (I just love doing that at 3 a.m.), and fend off the corner bums who bug me for change every time I walk out my front door. It gets old quickand it’s just the kind of thing that sends people to the ‘burbs.
Do I think there are bigger fish for D.C.’s inept city government to fry than to keep drunks in line and get liquor retailers to act responsibly? You betcha. But homeowners who are trying make this city a better place to live by simply getting the ABC to enforce its own rules don’t deserve media ridicule on top of inattentive government.