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.
Ease up, Goldy
You’re in no position to criticize Westneat. Maybe if he were mining your blog for over 50% of his material, then you could bash him, but he’s not. It’s the other way around. You and the other bloggers here rely on the The Seattle Times for much of your material. He comes up with original stories. Do you? You wouldn’t have a blog if you didn’t have the morning papers.
Danny, keep up the great work.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Huckabee Is A Two-Faced Flip-Flopper
“Although he made a point of being compassionate toward illegal immigrants as the governor of Arkansas, he took a resolutely anti-immigration stance in South Carolina, … promising not to give amnesty to illegal immigrants.”
Um… read my tagline: “the straight poop on WA politics & the press”. I do media criticism. Of course half my posts comment on media coverage… that’s half my mission statement.
If you don’t like it, don’t read it.
Roger Rabbit spews:
“I’m 44 years old, and with my falling hair and greying beard”
Don’t flatter yourself, Goldy! The grey (if there is any) isn’t even noticeable, and you still have more hair than most twentysomething athletes! Don’t be in such a fucking hurry to become a senior citizen — wait for your turn, like the rest of us had to.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@1 I’m sure Goldy will be happy to set up his own newsroom and hire his own columnists if you’re willing to contribute a few million dollars to the cause.
Well? How about it?
Roger Rabbit spews:
@1 (continued) If you can’t swing that, how about contributing a buck? (You’ll have to send Goldy an e-mail asking him where he stashed the “Give Me Money” link, because I don’t know where it went to.) Surely you can spare $1 to support this blog which YOU regularly use to vent YOUR useless and worthless opinions? No? Then that makes you a hypocrite, not to mention a freeloader.
OK fine Goldy; Westneat picked an anomaly as an example of a trend and you pointed that out. Point made. However, it seems petty to just criticize Westneat with your usual “Um..” wise guy routine about the point he is lamely trying to make. There are all kinds of other examples out there of the regulatory trend to create broad zero tolerance regulations rather than using common sense: (GMA/CAO and “zero tolerance” anything in our schools to name two). We’ve all heard of the kindergartner suspended for drawing a picture of a gun or the high schooler suspended for bringing Advil to school.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@7 Given there are 300 million people in this country, there’s bound to be at least 3 as stupid as the examples you give. Which proves what? That regulation is bad? For every government bureaucrat who’s an idiot, I can show you a corporate bureaucrat on a private payroll who’s equally or more idiotic. So what’s your fucking point? That it’s better to be screwed by an obtuse private-sector bureaucrat than by a thick-headed government bureaucrat? Why?
Roger Rabbit spews:
It would be interesting to know how this story got into the papers. Probably the bartender called the paper, or maybe the daughter called after the bartender carded her mom knowing the daughter would call — hell, maybe the bartender even suggested she call and gave her Westneat’s business card. I wonder how many weeks that bartender had to wait for an octogenarian to come into his bar so he could stage this little grandstand play for the benefit of the media (and the special interest he’s trying to push)?
The only people who still give a shit about the CAO are lunatics like Ron Ewart, opportunistic Republicans, and large developers who want to gut environmental laws.
For others, it’s just a shibboleth. Family of mine who own land in rural King County are so over the ginned-up fake outrage.
Laura in WA spews:
Honestly, I’d see nothing wrong with an across-the-board policy where anyone buying alcohol (whether 21 or 100) has to show their ID. It puts cashiers and servers in an awkward position having to try and figure out how old someone “looks” (many people are a lot older or a lot younger than they look), and it makes it too easy to forget the ID check. And if all establishments that sold alcohol had that policy, people would know to bring their ID and it wouldn’t be a big problem.
I really don’t think having to show your ID when you buy alcohol (even when you’re old) makes a society a “police state”.
Roger, I’d say Laura made my point. I hope she doesn’t vote.
And Will, I don’t give a shit about your relatives opinion of the CAO. My point was that it is “zero tolerance” policy. Regulators no longer have to determine whether an action harms the environment, the CAO makes that determination for all properties using a very broad brush. One size fits all, Will. That’s what I’m talking about, try not to warp it too much to fit your knee jerk response any time CAO is mentioned.
When I used to work at a business that sold beer&wine, I pretty much carded everybody. I saw first hand how the WSLCB & local LE uses con-artist style tricks to pile up citations, and it is a criminal charge (cigs are an infraction).
It’s all just a scam to collect revenue and keep some gov’t employees from having to get real jobs, or cops from having to go after real criminals. When I worked that job, I would often ask kids about how they got around carding. None of them had much problem obtaining alchohol or cigs. So, if the intent were really to keep booze & cigs from kids, more effective measures would be pursued. It’s just like the Craigslist escort stings that the city has become so enamoured of. Obviously it doesn’t dent the sex trade, but it fills city coffers, and lets some mentally disturbed cops get jollies.
Any place that cards a 91-year-old woman deserves to be out of business. End of discussion.
And Laura @ 11: Congratulations. You’re the “good little German” of the day.
Hmmm…the last time there was so much chatter about joints having a hard time dealing with the cops and the liquor board around here, was back in the day when even the most respectable establishments made “paying off The Man” a regular part of their operating budgets. That era finally got to the point where the recipients of such under-the-counter largesse got too greedy, and there was a major purge that went right up to the police chief and the upper floors of City Hall.
My wife and I are in our 50’s, and get asked for our ID’s pretty often, particularly in place where there’s entertainment.
What I really want to know, is whether the Mayor ever gets carded.
Goldy, I too am 44, and find myself being carded about 50% of the time in Seattle, and 0% of the time in Portland. I think Danny has a valid point. It’s gotten a little out of hand in Seattle recently with the Mayor’s anti night life agenda, and bars are going overboard to protect themselves.
There’s no control like nanny state control…
Goldy – you’re wrong. I read Westneat’s column. Your tolerance of the Mayor’s crusade is pathetic. “I, for one, welcome our new tee-totaling overlords.”
But seriously, the phrase you’re looking for here is “chilling effect”. One undercover operation by the SPD and WSLCC led to a massive crackdown by the bars and taverns. On one hand, I like the efficiency of the move. On the other, I deplore the reasons and the motivation behind it.
I’m the same age as Goldy and in roughly the same condition. The next time somebody asks for ID for booze, my response will be, “Keep it, if you’re too stupid to figure out I’m of legal age, I’m not supporting your business” and walk out.
Delbert, that’s understandable, but you’re just shooting the messenger.
You know, this could all be fixed if the WSLCB and police would undertake to find where kids actually get their booze, and go after those sources. For example, they could run stings against people accepting a lil extra in exchange for skipping the ID check.
By going after those who might inadvertently sell to a minor, it should not come as a major shock that bartenders and 7/11’s are going to try to eliminate such inadvertence.
The real problem is that there are not enough under-the-table guys out there for WSLCB and local PD’s to make a living off of. Maybe we’d actually be better off if we could go back to the old protection rackets.
And here I am still trying to figure out why this state is so completely psychotic about alcohol enforcement.
We go to a restaurant and the tables are full, but we can’t sit in the bar area because, OH MY GOD, we’ve got an INFANT with us and guess what? He’s under 21. Never mind that we’re his parents and we’re right here. Call me crazy but I don’t think he’s going to get a chance to sneak out of the basket to get wasted.
And the restaurant doesn’t dare allow it because WSLCB is waiting to pounce. I mean WTFF?
Has anybody ever been to, say, Oregon? or, like, any other state?
We’ve got SPD vice running craigslist stings, strip club stings, beer and cig stings. Somebody please explain again how Seattleites are liberal, unlike the bible-thumper facist republicans who want to impose their morality on us.
@ 12 what’s your prob w/ ‘zero tolerance’, zip? Do you want ‘customized speed limits’ (for those who aren’t cops)? Oh, I know, “it’s the Natural World” out there, & we’ve always bent whatever rules there may be- or just ignored ’em, if we’re big enough (yeah, Boeing can build in a wetland, yeah, Metro can pave over a swamp, etc). Get over your ‘broad brush’ bs… or just sit down with the whole WAC & wack on it- for US… ^..^