All-Ages Shows Update

The Journal editorial page on any given day excels at publishing meandering, ill-informed and downright moronic opinions, but the Sunday, July 31, offering "'Village' Mayor Takes On All-Age Bars," has set a new, even lower, standard. This inept editorial was clearly written from the perspective of people who have never been to an all-ages show, and that's pitiful. What's even more pitiful is the way the Journal mimics the misleading opinions of Mayor Martin Chavez without identifying him as the source.

In my humble opinion, the editorial illuminates perfectly why our town suffers from second-rate city syndrome and how, unfortunately, the Journal is an integral part of this affliction. Read it here and judge for yourself: [link]

Here are the two paragraphs that convinced me that the writer(s) of this editorial have never been to an all-ages show at the Launchpad, which was the featured venue in their "Battle of the Booze" cover story on July 24 the set-up the editorial:

Defenders say there's no problem, because the bar is fenced or partitioned off from the rest of the hall. Adults can drink only within that area and no liquor gets out among the younger crowd. But intoxicated adults do get out among kids as young as 15—without a doubt, that is the attraction for some of the adults.

After the show, adults who have been drinking and youngsters pour out on the Downtown streets together. It's a volatile mixture, one that provides plenty of opportunity for contributing to the delinquency of a minor—a mixture the state should prohibit.

As I said in this week's "Thin Line," this parrots Marty's propaganda, although it is wild speculation and certainly sinks to the basest fear instincts of every elderly voter who knows nothing about the subject except for what's printed in the Journal.

The opening sentence also claims, "Mayor Martin Chávez says nightclubs are no place for teenagers and is lobbying the state to shut down liquor service at all-age shows that feature live bands in bars, with Gov. Bill Richardson's blessing."

I called the guv's office to get confirmation of Richardson's take on this whole affair and did not get a definitive response. His spokesman said he was looking into it, but was not sure if "blessing" was an entirely accurate reflection of the guv's opinion.

Meanwhile, Joe Anderson, owner of the Launchpad and Sunshine, is still irate over the misinformation published in the Journal on July 24. A sidebar claims he has received 6 citations from the state alcohol and gaming department's Special Investigations Division (S.I.D.), although Anderson says this is bogus and he has not received a single citation.

Anderson wrote in email yesterday: "I just spoke with S.I.D. Deputy Director Jim Pragens. He confirms that Launchpad has had no citations issued pertaining to alcohol either served or given to minors between Jan 2003 and May 2005. I mentioned this to (the Journal reporter) when we last spoke, but in the article printed 2 days later, the sidebar states we have six. I am currently looking into the record of the Sunshine Theater, and I can tell you it is very unlikely that we have even half of the number of citations printed in the article. I'm not sure who is at fault here, but it isn't me. The information printed in this article is incorrect, and sheds bad light on me and my businesses. ... p.s. I was also informed that in a single evening at Journal Pavillion (Saturday night's Gigantour featuring Megadeth) the pavillion was cited 19 times."

One other thing. The elephant in the room is the Colosseum, the Downtown nightclub that features all-ages DJ/dance nights, but does not feature live bands. The city has been on notice for a year now that the club has problems keeping the peace and is seen as a public nuisance by other bar owners. Months ago, a city official told me that the Colosseum is the real culprit and has accumulated a thick file of police reports. But if that is true, then why is the mayor attacking Joe Anderson's livelihood and continuing to victimize the music-loving youth of this city who should fairly be allowed to participate in the Downtown entertainment scene if they aren't breaking any laws? Besides, the Safe City Strike Force could shut down the Colosseum, if that is the problem, without changing any state liquor laws and the mayor certainly knows this.

Expect more info in the coming weeks in the Alibi, especially when our underachieving morning daily is out there circulating an unabashed pile of propaganda and passing it off as informed opinion on the matter.

One last thing ... for now. The mayor's 14-year-old daughter was busted by APD, drunk, around midnight, at an adultless party hosted at a Westside residence a few months ago. When Chavez talks about his motives in shutting down all-ages shows that serve alcohol, he says it's born out of his tough-love for Albuquerque's children. I'm shocked the Journal didn't include this one missing statement into their editorial and just go full circle when they delivered the mayor's propaganda. But a better editorial would have been entitled: "Mayor should get his own house in order, before meddling in Downtown's affairs."