Rock N' Roll is Not a Crime T-Shirt
A Bay Bridged reader tipped us off to this post over at the Chronicle‘s City Insider blog, the latest in the paper’s coverage of the ongoing conflict between the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and some of the City’s best venues, including Bottom of the Hill, Cafe Du Nord, the Great American Music Hall and the DNA Lounge.

You can find our previous posts about this issue here and here for more background, but here’s a quick recap: the ABC, charged with issuing and enforcing alcohol licenses throughout the state, has been challenging the liquor licenses of a number of historic City music venues, either by attacking technical or otherwise insignificant discrepancies in the licenses, or by imposing new, unreasonable conditions on their continued use. These licenses allow these venues to hold all ages shows, something already in too-short supply in the City.

The last we had heard, State Senator Mark Leno had a “positive meeting” with ABC chief Steve Hardy that resulted in a “commitment to working toward a resolution,” including ideas to draft new legislation to clarify venue licensing requirements or the creation of a new type of license specifically for music venues. All of this, tentatively, sounded like progress.

So why are the ABC’s enforcement actions to revoke these venues’ licenses still proceeding forward? As the Chron reports:

Club owners assumed Hardy’s statements meant the agency would halt, or at least slow down, the cases against them. But this week, Bottom of the Hill received notice that they will be in ABC court again on May 6. Cases are also pending against Cafe Du Nord, Slim’s and the Great American Music Hall…

“The fact that they decided to go forward with the enforcement action is kind of disgusting to me, after the conciliatory tone last week,”

[Bottom of the Hill co-owner Tim] Benetti said. “The end game hasn’t changed, if they are successful with the enforcement action then they will take our license and we will go out of business. That’s exactly what they said they didn’t want to do. What’s the point of going forward if they are going to work with us on another outcome?”

State Senator Leno rightly suggests that the litigation be put on hold pending the development of a workable solution. While these cases proceed, the ABC’s claims of openness to compromise seem, to put it gently, pretty disingenuous.

T-shirt image provided by Slim’s/Great American Music Hall. Proceeds from the sale of this shirt will help finance the ongoing legal fees accrued to keep these two venues open.