Is This Liquor Store An Amenity Or A Nuisance?

In a gentrifying neighborhood in Washington D.C., residents are campaigning against a local liquor store they say encourages littering and public drunkenness. But longtime neighborhood residents defend the store, calling it a neighborhood staple.

"The telltale bags were wrapped around 80 percent of the empty beer cans and bottles he found on the streets around the store as he filled 55-gallon bags weekly with the trash. Then Whatling found that Seven Days was the only store within six blocks that used the bags."

"Still, he says, it's the principle of the thing: Seven Days has flouted legal agreements and is fostering public drunkenness."

"Police 'need to start at the simplest things to make people know the law means something," Whatling said. 'It's not like we're trying to get rid of Seven Days Grocery.'"

"But some residents suspect just that. In a dispute that has come to symbolize the tensions of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, factions have sparred in recent months over the liquor license that the store at 14th and Fairmont streets NW has held since 1991."

"'This issue needs to be on people's radar screen. This is real. This is palpable,' said Dorothy Brizill, a D.C. government watchdog who has lived in Columbia Heights for 25 years."

"'I'm just amazed how people just talk about their property values, as opposed to talking about community,' she said."

Full Story: Grocery Is Flash Point for Changing Neighborhood

Comments

Comments

I need a beer after reading this one

"Seven Days is a neighborhood institution, the place to go for a loaf of bread or a Diet Pepsi, a community resource that dared to open its doors when rowhouses were crumbling and drug-related violence was rampant."

I've seen this pattern before where the only people willing to open a store under these conditions are immigrants who do more than native-born Americans about the problem. Of course, most of the time they are also profiting on the weaknesses of the locals who engage in excessive drinking and all the bad behavior that comes with it. My local gas station sells beer and has chains across the refrigerator on Sunday. I asked the Indians running the place why do they have the chains. He said, "Too many customers can't understand English around here and I'm tired of arguing with them."

How does selling single beers worsen the problem compared to selling 6 or 12 packs? From personal research I think most boozers would get into more trouble if they sold alcohol in greater quantities in a single purchase.

"How does selling single

"How does selling single beers worsen the problem compared to selling 6 or 12 packs? From personal research I think most boozers would get into more trouble if they sold alcohol in greater quantities in a single purchase."

From my personal research most of these types of problems tend to be associated with vagrants and panhandlers, who are by their very nature usually short of cash resources. Why bother saving up five or six bucks for a sixer when you can score a malt liquor tall boy for $2?

I imagine convenience plays into it as well, considering that drinking in public outside of designated areas is in most places an illegal activity. A single bottle wrapped in a brown bag is much more discreet than walking around with multiple cans of beer.

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