Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Can Mitt Romney recover from his rough patch?

Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Council members Jill Remington and Charlie Luke offered commonsense alternatives to increase restaurants offering alcoholic drinks in commercial zones. Alcohol focused operations do not belong in residential neighborhoods.

Webb: I enjoy living in the heart of downtown, and several bars flourish in my neighborhood. I walk two blocks to work and pass three social clubs on Main Street. These appear to be friendly places in the "Cheers" tradition, where chic people (like Frank) relax after work with a few drinks and good conversation. On the fringes of downtown, however, are a number of other bars. It's downright scary walking past some of them after dark.

Many years ago as a cub reporter, I covered the Salt Lake police beat, where I would skim through the police reports, ranging from routine traffic stops to grisly murders. I was always struck by the number of police incidents that occurred or started at bars. Police were called to certain bars two or three times a night. Daily, I read police reports about knife fights, brawls, shootings, drunken driving accidents, murders, rapes and gang activities that occurred inside bars, in the parking lots or after spending time at bars.

I remember taking some of these reports to a youth group I was working with at the time and telling them, in essence, "I can't promise you'll never be a victim of crime. But I can tell you how you can reduce the chances. It's pretty simple. Just stay away from bars."

So what will Salt Lake City's neighborhood pubs be like? A "Cheers" bar, where everyone knows your name, you enjoy good laughs and delightful banter? Or will they be seamy, dark, desperate places, where alcohol is the point and police reports are produced?

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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