Barrett Brick responds to The Washington Post on ABC bill
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Barrett Brick responds to The Washington Post
on ABC bill

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street NW
Washington DC 20071

To the Editor:

The Washington Post's editorial of January 9 urging Mayor Williams to veto the ABC bill runs the gamut from hypocrisy to hysteria. The Post's sole objection to this comprehensive bill is that it permits bars that wish to offer nude dancing in the downtown business district the opportunity to seek licenses on a case-by-case basis. Yet to read the editorial, one would think that the entirety of progress in the downtown business and entertainment district is about to come to a screeching halt.

The Post argues that "[n]o one was arguing for a ban on such establishments . . . ." The Post then cites with approval Council member Harold Brazil's plea that such establishments not be permitted "near where people work or live or pray or play." This certainly sounds like a ban to me. The Post claims that the overwhelming majority of council members "ignored" the voices that warned of the potential for rowdy behavior arriving with these establishments. The council members did not ignore those voices. They calmly evaluated the claims and found them unsubstantiated. The Post ignores the fact that the "gentlemen's clubs" that have existed for years on M Street NW in the heart of downtown do not appear to have done their neighborhoods any harm. The council members clearly understand that any particular establishment that may be shown to cause problems can be dealt with individually, as is currently the case for all ABC establishments, without prohibiting an entire category of licensure.

The Post claims that the council members were "listening to the beat of other interests," in some sinister, unidentified manner. The other interests the council members seem correctly to have listened to are the interests of the citizens of Washington who do not need nannies telling us how we should choose to be entertained. Those who don't choose to go to bars offering nude dancing need not patronize them. But, contrary to the dictates of the Post and Council member Brazil, it is not the prerogative of those who disapprove of a particular form of entertainment to foist their dislikes upon the rest of the city.


Barrett L. Brick
Washington DC

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