Cambridge's system for doling out liquor licenses so screwed up they had to bring in somebody from Boston to try to fix it

The Globe reports.



A tale of two cities

I read Page One stories in both the New York Times and the Boston Globe today. The Times wrote about the role of government (to wit: the lack thereof) in the urban planning of Houston, and its impacts on floods. The Globe wrote about the role of government in deciding who gets to sell on-premises liquor in Cambridge.

Having done little business in the Peoples' Republic, I'm not knowledgeable about how their board works, but I was appalled to read that the fire chief is on it. Boy, for a city where those with logic and sense really prosper, their government seems to have little of those traits. Cambridge, like Boston, is a city that excels in spite of its government.

No, seriously, an arbiter of whether or not somebody gets to sell liquor (laughable that's even being debated in the first place) is a firefighter. Soak that in. He's no more qualified to make that decision than some lawyer...which brings us to Nicole Murati Ferrer.

I spent years trashing her when she was on the board in Boston. Her life's work is an insult to my life's work. I've been hosting bar trivia since I was 21. Obviously, I need bars in which to ply my trade. The more bars that exist, the better for me. I never made more than $38,000 a year in entertaining people and making them happy, and I earned every nickel of that voluntarily.

She makes $138,000 through armed theft (you can keep the "price for a civilized society" crap to yourselves on this one, liberals) to condescend to businesspeople and to bully them. However, to be fair, she makes a reasonable account of herself in the article. No, we can't hold her accountable for the absolute mess her predecessors made. And she does talk the talk about "reducing the barriers" to free licenses. Not nearly often enough I hear a public servant say something like that.

I also spared some derision for those who own licenses who are crying unfair. Like houses, the value of the license is zero if it's not for sale. Selling on-premises liquor is your job, and you need the license to perform that job and to make your money.

If you're in business to make money off a government license, tough (expletive). That's your fault for trusting a city government to protect an investment for you. Go talk to somebody who had 130 cab medallions how trusting a city government worked for them. You deserve what you get if you're that stupid and greedy.

Hell, I talked about this with a former GM at a longtime bar of mine earlier this week. As much as I like her, and as much as I respect her intelligence, I told her straight up that we would never agree that licenses should be capped. She invests in a Boston liquor license (I don't), and she wants for government to help protect her investment. I would deem that unwise.

Also, I have to point some mocking laughter in the direction of James McDavitt. Gee, you got threatening phone calls? Maybe not set out to destroy peoples' lives next time? I don't recall Eliot Ness quitting.

The answer to what constitutes good governance lies somewhere between "let people build on flood plains and sell them cheap insurance with tax dollar guarantees" and "let the firefighter and the lawyer tell the restaurateur whether or not they can sell liquor." Maybe if noise and drunk driving are such a problem, perhaps the police officers, judges, and legislators whom represent a sunk cost to the community could justify their flat salaries and do something about it.

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