This is Joe Anderson Speaking
We could use your help if you have some time you could donate. This Friday morning at 9 a.m., the state is holding a hearing regarding the proposed legislation for minors on licensed premises. We need people to been seen and heard.
We hope to persuade the Alcohol and Gaming Division to at least postpone signing this unfair legislation into the regs until further, more in-depth research can be done. If this legislation becomes law (regulation), there would be devastating and possibly irreparable damage done to Albuquerque's steady and growing live music scene.
What you can do:
Show up as early as possible. We will be at Civic Plaza by 7 a.m. with 104.7 The Edge. They will be doing their entire morning broadcast from the plaza (tune in for the play-by-play). The hearing begins at 9 a.m. at City Council chambers at One Civic Plaza (Fifth Street and Marquette, Downtown).
Things you should know:
1. Mayor Martin Chavez hastily made claims months ago that downtown venues with liquor licenses hosting all ages events were a main cause of violence or the perception of violence in the downtown area. Coupled by an attack on downtown cruising, Chavez began his grossly under-researched and over-hyped crusade to put an end to all ages events hosted at these venues. A proposal was written up in the mayor's office and sent up to state. That original proposal was found to be unlawful and unjust, so the state rewrote the proposed legislation.
2. The proposed legislation now basically amounts to this: Any venue which generates more than 50 percent of its gross annual revenue through alcohol sales is strictly prohibited to sell alcohol during all ages events.
Q. Can't these venues just do all ages events without the sale of alcohol? What is the problem?
A. We could, but eventually, we couldn't afford to. What most people do not understand is that we pay for the band's guarantee and our show production/promotion costs from the ticket sales, and pay for in-house expenses using revenue from bar sales. Our entire overhead is quite high. We would eventually lose money and ultimately, either close or open a PF Chang's or Popeyes.
Q. What did you guys do to cause this to happen? Did you anger the mayor? Is there something crammed in his ass? Did you have too many violations? Are you bad?
A. We have no idea why we are in the middle of this. We've been told by
members of the SID (Special Investigations Division), public officials and local organizations that we are not a problem venue and that our record is exemplary. I don't even know the mayor. I have no idea what he has in his ass. Since Launchpad opened its doors eight years ago, the venue has been served two administrative fines. One was given on opening week when the staff was caught having beers after hours while they were cleaning. One was issued for serving a minor during an event that was NOT all ages. This happened during a sting set up by the AGD (Alcohol and Gaming Division) several years ago. During the past two and a half years, we have not received a single citation, regardless of what you have heard from the Albuquerque Journal. And we are not bad (I was a boy scout and an altar boy).
Q. What will happen to venues like Journal Pavilion and Isotopes Park? Don't they get more citations than you?
A. It is very likely that their ticket sales and merchandise/food sales will exempt them from the new legislation. Although it is my strong belief that they would not be interested in operating if they did not have the steady stream of revenue from their $7 domestic draft sales. Of course they have more citations than we do. Nineteen citations were written on one day this summer (Megadeth), but I guess that's not a problem. These venues don't even separate their service areas. Sunshine Theater and Launchpad have inner "beer gardens". Young adults cannot even get next to any alcohol. The explanation given from a representative at the Pavilion was that since they are a larger venue, they can't be expected to have the kind of control that the smaller venues have. What? Who hired that dude?
Q. Are there any situations that the mayor has obviously overlooked, Launchpad?
A. Why yes, we believe so. There are about 30 liquor licenses in the downtown area. If we were to remove alcohol and host all ages shows, I am very sure that the over 21 clientele would first meet at a neighboring bar to have a beer or two before coming to the event. Then, in between acts, the over 21 patrons could go back to that neighboring bar for another drink or two. If we've already established that under 21 patrons cannot get alcohol from our bar, what makes this any different, other than the fact that a neighboring bar is making alcohol revenue off a crowd that my advertised event has brought downtown? We could use that revenue to pay expenses incurred at our venue.
Q. Doesn't the mayor have a plan to "save the music scene"? He says he has no intention of ending all ages shows. He loves the Ramones!
A. Do you think the mayor is qualified to book bands? The mayor's office is emitting a smoke screen to keep you at bay. If your idea of entertainment is showings of Free Willy at the park, just blow this off. Do we need a fund set up to support music in our state? Yes. Do we need the mayor to mess with the process of free market? No. Isn't he a conservative democrat anyway? Didn't the Ramones play all ages shows in venues which served alcohol? Do you think the Ramones would have liked our mayor?
Q. Are there any unfounded theories that you did not create yourself, but are being passed around by everyone and their moms?
A. That is a crazy way to ask a question, but yes there are. There are rumors out there that the mayor has money invested in the residential buildup of downtown. Property development companies have made liberal donations to his re election campaign. Perhaps the live music venues downtown are considered riff raff in his eyes. Maybe this is step one to commercializing downtown. Who needs Launchpad when you can have Bennigan's? Won't residential properties be worth more without the weirdness?
Q. Is Launchpad about the music?
A. Saying Launchpad is not about music is like saying church is not about religion. I swear on my life that Launchpad is all about the music.
Thanks. Please help. This is a serious situation for anyone who loves music.