Craziness: Proposal to Ban Late Night Pizza

23:55 Thu 29 Nov 2007. Updated: 01:28 30 Nov 2007
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This is one of the most insane local government ideas I’ve ever seen: San Francisco’s Planning Commissioners are considering ordering North Beach pizzerias to close at 02:00—to combat drunkenness.

Yes, that’s right. Apparently drunken people exiting clubs in North Beach have a hankering for food (shocking) and cluster around two pizzerias that are open late. This allegedly results in rowdiness and fighting. Obviously the right thing to do to combat alcohol-fueled unruliness is to close the places that serve food.

Really, this one leaves me flabbergasted. I just… they want to force the pizzerias to shut? Because too many people want food?

While I don’t go in much for late-night drunkenness, and am rarely in North Beach at 02:00, I do like my cities to be open and active late, and on principle want late-night eateries to be left unmolested by the authorities. But even if that were not true, I’d oppose this particular idea due it its sheer inanity.

I just can’t get over the fact that the proposed solution to drunken violence is to pick on pizzerias instead of the clubs themselves. Obviously the clubs are too well-connected for that, but still, this is so brazenly stupid and not addressing the problem.

I suspect the reasons behind this are some mix of the following: the City wants to be seen to be doing something about the problem, and won’t touch the clubs, so is randomly casting about for other things that will appear on the surface to be fixes; the City/Police don’t want to pay overtime to the officers necessary to patrol the rowdy crowds and so want to simply eliminate the crowds; the Police are fine with the overtime but don’t want to have to actually patrol the crowds to earn it, and so (again) are trying to eliminate the crowd issue.

The Planning Commission is staffed by political appointees, and the cynic in me says that that figures.

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