The Politics of Clubbing

Nightlife task force meetings in Miami Beach might be the only place you'll find dudes with forearm tattoos and sideways baseball hats sitting at a conference table with a city commissioner and diplomatically discussing city policy. On Friday, the owners and managers of some of the Beach's most popular entertainment venues -- Crobar, Mango's, Finnegan's- told commissioner Victor Diaz the city over-regulates bars and clubs.

Steve Blisar of NITE (Nightlife Industry Task Force Committee) opined that the city has "made this industry into a whipping boy." Legislation almost always restricts instead of promotes business, he said. (Commissioners have recently pooh-poohed passing out fliers and rooftop DJs.)

To solve the problem, Diaz suggested a new idea: More rules up-front. (Not exactly a crowd-pleaser.) Incoming operators would to have pass what amounts to a check-off list, he said. Then the city wouldn't need to legislate so much.

"I know I have a reputation for being a hard-ass," Diaz said. "You want to party? Great. Party behind closed doors, not in the open air, and clean up after yourself. The more you start impeding surrounding neighborhoods, the more it gets political. And the more you're going to see a backlash against nightlife."

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