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A call to change last call

Saratoga Springs nightlife at the root of recent discussion between bar owners, public

Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen reads from his“diary” that includes a narrative of him witnessing events in the city’s nightlife.

Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen reads from his“diary” that includes a narrative of him witnessing events in the city’s nightlife. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Other entries from over the summer are similar, he said, and gave his accounts of witnessing altercations between patrons and police, one ofwhich involved a riot at Club Shadow on June 26. Mathiesen noted to the audiencethat of the many altercations he witnessed, none were reported in newspapers,except the Club Shadow riot. Club Shadow was closed soon thereafter.

Besides the time of last call, issues like manpower in the form of police patrol, noise generated by music, lack of cabs and revenue made inthose last couple of hours before many bars close were brought up. The image ofthe city portrayed to tourists and convention goers was discussed as well.

“It’s turned into a dangerous situation…and it needs to be addressed,” said Mathiesen who called attention to the fact that although manypolice are present during summer months, they are not able to make a lot of arrests because they’re busy keeping the crowds under control.

Assistant City Attorney Tony Izzo spoke briefly about changeable regulations, ordinances and updates to insurance requirements regardingbusinesses and noise in the downtown area. There has been a noise ordinance ineffect in the city since 1937.

“One of the things currently most ripe for discussion is sidewalk cafes. … Since 1975, if there have been two violations for a sidewalk cafe (cabaret) only, that operator will automatically revoke the license for thatsidewalk cafe for a period of one year. It is proposed at this point that it been expanded to include hotels, eating and drinking establishments. It’s on thetable,” said Izzo.

A majority of the audience was made up of restaurant and bar owners who took the opportunity to voice their concerns.

John Baker, owner of Gaffney’s said that imposing an earlier closing time would likely contribute to a 15 to 20 percent reduction in workforce and “hundreds of jobs being lost” among establishments that cater to thenightlife.

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