Ever since Emmett Watson passed away, it seems the city’s columnists have been vying for the honor of replacing him as Seattle’s official curmudgeon. Take for example Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, who brings us this story today about Rose Walter being carded at Von’s Grand City Cafe in Seattle; when the 91-year-old great-grandmother couldn’t produce an ID with proof of age, she was denied service and asked to leave the bar. To Danny, this anecdote apparently says something deeper and broader about Seattle.
“In the good old days,” Rose says, “I don’t remember things being so fussy.”
Welcome to Seattle 2008, Rose. Fussy is our middle name.
You probably won’t be surprised the manager at Von’s feels he no longer has a choice but to ask for ID, even if it’s a centenarian hobbling in with a cane.
“Obviously you have heard what’s going on downtown lately, with the mayor and the Police Department and the liquor board,” said Greg Galuska, Von’s manager. “They’ve blatantly put out an agenda that they’re going to penalize bar operators.
“We decided that to protect ourselves in this environment, we had to move to 100 percent ID compliance,” he said. “No exceptions. It’s not worth risking imprisonment on the part of me or my staff.”
Yeah, well, my question for Danny is… when was the last time you’ve been carded?
I’m 44 years old, and with my falling hair and greying beard, I pretty much look my age (if I don’t always act it,) and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been carded in Seattle or anywhere else. I’d guess Danny’s a few years younger, and his puckish demeanor and boyish good looks only accentuate his youthful appearance. So tell us Danny… how often are you asked to produce your ID?
It’s not that I’m defending the mayor’s overly zealous anti-club crusade, it’s just that Rose’s ridiculous carding strikes me as more a comment on Von’s policies than on those of the city or the state. According to Danny…
Even the state Liquor Control Board says bars only have to check IDs of “youthful appearing persons.” Which it has defined as “anyone who does not look at least 30 years of age.”
[…] Elizabeth Walter, Rose’s daughter, says this incident is trivial by itself.
Yet she does wonder what’s become of her city.
“We’re supposed to be so liberal, but then we have this police state that’s encroaching on us, in small ways, just little by little by little,” she said.
That’s the downside of all these rules and regs and zero-tolerance policies. They’re well-intended. But they trample common sense.
Um… huh? How the hell is the LCB’s “youthful appearing persons” standard a “zero-tolerance” policy? And how exactly is this incident evidence of anybody “trampling common sense” except the folks at Von’s? (Or maybe, Danny, for attempting to conflate an isolated incident into a cautionary tale of Seattle’s slow decline into a “police state.”)
Yeah, sure… perhaps Seattle can be a little “fussy.” But if so, the fussiness starts with our columnists.