Puleez. Part of me, the old Assignment Editor/City Desk me, understands. It's past midnight on a gorgeous night, and nothing's happening Then the police radio squawks something about closing First Avenue in Belltown. To paraphrase The Music Man, "And the next thing ya know your son'll be playin' for money in a pinchback suit."
Leap of illogic: the bars let out, people flood the sidewalk, and the cops decide to close the street between Blanchard and Bell Streets. Let's point out, for the sake of the record, that this is exactly one block. It's not as if "Belltown" had been shut down. But the "press" (that is, blogs that feed city desks that feed newspapers that in turn feed their own columnists and that feed TV stations) love--LUV!!--to beat up on Belltown, pretending that Belltown is the city's hotbed of crime and grime. But that's all it is, pretending. Belltown is no more "dangerous" (whatever that is) than Ballard or West Seattle, with amorphous borders (depending on where the copy desk intern grew up) that can stretch from the downtown library to the Ship Canal.
The incident is a reminder of why Seattle asked the state Liquor Control Board a year and a half ago to look at letting the city extend some bar hours to stagger closing times. It was part of an initiative to improve nightlife, says Robert Cruikshank with the mayor's office.
Well, for shame, Robert. For shame, "Mayor's Office." The Liquor Board already told you that "staggered closing times" won't work. Half-assed tricks like closing a city street for an event that has occured for years and recurs regularly, won't fly. You want to see a thousand people on the sidewalk and in the street in perfect peace? Try Capitol Hill, 12th and Pike/Pine.. Mr. Mayor, Mr. Cruikshank, Mr. Lacitis: give it a rest.