In Other News
It’s hard this morning to focus on much news beyond the riveting manhunt for the surviving alleged Boston Marathon bomber (Boston.com is running up-to-the-minute blog and Twitter updates, including, questionably, the movements of law enforcement personnel).
But here goes:
Last night, the License Commission, by a vote of 3 to 2, rejected Mayor Domenic Sarno’s proposed 1 a.m. curfew for bars. Commission Chair Pete Sygnator and member Denise Kelcey backed the mayor’s idea; members Robert Casey, Raymond Berry and Orlando Ramos opposed it.
As Jack Flynn reports in this morning’s Republican, Sygnator argued that arrests had dropped after Sarno imposed a 1 a.m. curfew on entertainment in bars (such as music) last year. The Police Department (whose opinion, presumably, should carry some weight) and a number of neighborhood councils supported the earlier curfew; bar owners fought the idea, saying it would hurt business but do little to address crime and violence in the city. Opponents of the proposals have even organized on Facebook.
This morning, Sarno issued a statement saying he was “very disappointed” in the vote. “My Administration has been steadfast in continuing to combat these establishments that cater to underage patrons, gangbangers and weapon caring thugs,” he said. “Our initiative in strong control of entertainment licenses has worked. The Springfield Police Department’s stats show a substantial decrease in crime with the way we are dealing with these establishments.”
The mayor also criticized the Commission for being too lax in certain disciplinary matters that have come before it. “My Administration is looking for a partner that will help in turning the tide of negative attention the Entertainment District has been attracting in an effort so that good tides will raise all ships instead of a few bad apples bringing everyone down.”
Sarno—who appoints all License Commission members—also appeared to suggest that the incumbent members might not be long for their positions: “Now let’s see if the current License Commission has the intestinal fortitude in backing the Administration’s tough stance in the name of public safety, good business practice and a better reputation of our City.”