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Too Many Drinking Establishments On Williamson Street In Madison

August 24, 2015

Since these days are making for perfect summer walking conditions here is an instructive way to view the problem with too many drinking establishments on the long stretch of Williamson Street.   Start at Gateway Mall at John Nolen and walk to the Yahara River and jot down with a mark on a notepad every place you can buy a beer or shot of whiskey.   Add in the proposed new drinking spots.  The number will astound any rational thinking person.
The problem with this whole matter is rooted in our culture and what we have come to accept as the normal way to ‘go out and have a good time.’    Consider that we even base the success of local festivals on the number of beer sales!  Seems that is a twisted way to raise money for childrens’ programs in the neighborhood.
When a young man who was seriously intoxicated several years ago was shot and killed I thought perhaps as a community we could come together and focus on bars who over-serve customers and also start a serious dialogue on the number of drinking establishments we want to have in this mixed-use neighborhood.   Clearly my idea landed with a thud as resounding as the empting of beer bottles behind a bar at 3:00 A.M.  Too many wanted to talk about police misconduct and not address the 800 pound gorilla in the room that was the bar who over-served this young man.
The problem we face does not start with a business model that relies on alcohol sales but rather begins with the face that greets you in the mirror each morning.   For too long too many have just accepted that we need to have alcohol at every place food is served or we have allowed eating places to be the cover for just another places to sell a drink.  We all are a part of the problem and now need to own it.
The question remains what will we now do as a community to face it?

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