Still going after last call
Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen, who last year championed a failed effort to make last call earlier, voiced a renewed appeal to address late night drunken crime at the City Council meeting Tuesday night under an agenda item titled: "Lawlessness after 2 AM."
"It is so important to acknowledge that we do have a problem," he said.
During his campaign for Public Safety Commissioner, Mathiesen referred to that problem as a "toxic atmosphere" on Caroline Street late at night.
The issue was long-debated at the City Council meeting and had a few public meetings and workshops. The State Liquor Authority said any change that happened with last call must be made at the county level. That prompted the City Council to send the issue to the Board of Supervisors.
That didn't go so well for Mathiesen — the proposal never made it out of committee.
Still, that didn't stop his effort, or at least didn't stop him appealing to the state to continue the effort to change last call. Things had been quiet for a while, though, until Tuesday that is.
Mathiesen outlined the fight that sent two police to the hospital Friday night at just before 3 a.m. (and severely damaged the suspect's face) and, of course, the break-in at City Hall at 4:40 a.m. Saturday morning.
"People are still being over-served. Ultimately I think we really need to look at these hours," he said Tuesday. "The people who continue to deny this (problem) I do not understand."
Many of those people are bar owners, bar staff and those in the tourism industry. In fact, three heads of tourism told Mathiesen last year that he was damaging the city's reputation with his rhetoric.
Mathiesen, of course, responded to them in April saying “I think the city being dangerous late at night is counterproductive. I don’t think talking about it is. It is dangerous downtown late at night.”
He also said it is costing the city money in overtime for police and, citing Friday night's incident that sent two police officers to the hospital.
*Update* I've changed this part of the post to clarify what Mathiesen meant after he called me to clarify his point.*
Mathiesen said Tuesday that he would like a state-wide solution to last call.
"It would be better for everyone if we change last call to 2 or 3 a.m.," Mathiesen told me Wednesday, clarifying his position. "I think that would be a better solution."