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"Reasonable Regulations" Strike Albany Bars
The ordinance the Albany, N.Y., council recently passed allows city officials to impose "reasonable rules and regulations" on businesses obtaining the new cabaret licenses. Now that they've seen these "reasonable rules," people who own and work in Albany bars are protesting.
Although the ordinance says nothing about hours, Mayor Jerry Jennings has urged bars to close at 2 a.m., and wouldn't you know it, every one of the 25 cabaret licenses in the first batch, which was released Wednesday, puts a 2 a.m. limit on DJs, live music, and karaoke.
That means the entertainment has to stop before the time the bar owners say they make the most money.
Judging by the Albany Times-Union story, some people seem surprised. They shouldn't be. The ordinance empowered the regulators to do whatever they deemed "reasonable." That was an open invitation to the administration to do pretty much whatever it wanted to the businesses involved. And not only had the mayor said he wanted bars to close at 2 a.m., but regulations by nature tend to stop businesses from pursuing value. You don't need a regulation to tell you to do what you are in business to do.
The rules and regulations provided for by the ordinance are supposed to be those "necessary for the proper control, operation and supervision of cabarets." But the proper control of any business rests with its owners, and the proper "supervision" (if such it may be called) rests with its customers, when they decide whether to patronize the business. Both the business owners and their customers pursue value: the customers by seeking goods and services they think contribute to their lives (in this case, nighttime recreation), and the business owners by striving to produce what their target customers value, in order to support their own lives by trade. Shifting control away from the people involved -- the producers and consumers -- means limiting their pursuit of the values they think contribute to their lives.