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They call this pro business?

By   /   January 15, 2013  /   Comments

City officials like to claim that they are pro business. but tell that to the owner of Charley B’s.  To be fair, the process of opening a business in Albany is far easier than in many other locations throughout the nation.  However, it takes a lot more than that to make a city government “pro business”.  On that front, the city continues to fall down.

The latest is the city’s efforts to close down a popular night spot, one that they can find has done no wrong directly.  Usually when the city tries to pull a liquor license, the bar in question was the location for quite a few problems, often resulting in the loss of life.  In many of these instances, I argued against such actions.  I couldn’t help but think that the goal post would move and eventually even the most minor of problems would result in attempts to take away the licenses.

Looks like I was right.

Charley B’s crimes include a couple of fist fights – which are hardly unusual at a bar – and a DUI.  The only other “crime” is a large number of beer bottles found in the parking lot.  Let’s take a look at each of these for a moment.

First, the fights.  They happen.  How many have happened at the Albany Mall?  Plenty.  How many have happened at Dougherty County schools?  How many have happened elsewhere?  The fact is that a fist fight is one of those things that happen.  A couple of them happening at a bar is hardly a cause for concern.

In Norfolk, Va., I was in a bar that had two fights in a single night.  What did the city of Norfolk do?  They dealt with the participants in the fights, and left the bar alone.  All the other times I was in that establishment?  I didn’t see a single fight.  Why?  Well, for starters, while some places are known for attracting a dangerous element, other places just have a couple of guys who had a few too many and get a little wild.  Heck, I can’t count the number of fights I saw at the old P2 (I’m telling my age here).  The city never tried to revoke their liquor license.

Next, let’s talk about the DUI.  I have never been a real fan of blaming an establishment for the actions of their patrons.  A DUI is the result of poor decision making skills by the person who drives while intoxicated.  The legal limit for one’s blood alcohol content is .08.  Please explain to me howany bar is supposed to make sure no driver exceeds that rather low limit?  The truth is that someone could have a couple of beers and fail that test.

As far as the bottles in the parking lot, I’d like to point out a couple of facts.  Fact number one is that the parking lot in question is privately owned.  In fact, it’s owned by the same folks who own the store front Charley B’s works out of and has for decades.  If it was a problem for them – again, the people who own the parking lot – then isn’t it up to them to deal with it?  Opting to not renew their lease would have been perfectly acceptable.

Second, do we know where those bottles came from?  I don’t.  Apparently, city officials don’t either.  That’s not stopping them however.  Nope.  They’re hell bent on shutting down a business that appears to have complied with every regulation, just because some of their customers are jerks.  If they ever apply that standard to other businesses, then movie theaters are doomed in Albany.

Here’s a thought.  Arrest the people do things wrong, and leave law abiding businesses alone.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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