The District's two council members who represent the biggest party wards in the city are both coming out aggressively against a proposal to keep bars open an hour later, creating a potential $3 million budget gap in next year's city budget.
Jim Graham, whose Ward 1 includes the U Street corridor and Adams Morgan, said Friday that he's concerned about nosier nights for his residents if bars stay open until 4 a.m. on the weekend.
"Slamming car doors, arguing, cursing, singing, talking, cars starting, stopping, cabs coming and going — this is a very major issue for anyone who lives nearby," Graham said on WAMU radio's Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi. "What we’d be doing … is extending that problem another hour."
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray included the extension in his budget proposal as part of a package to generate revenue by extending alcohol sales in the District. Keeping bars open an hour later would contribute about $3 million per year, according to the mayor's estimate.
Even though bar and nightclub owners have said they back Gray's proposal, Graham isn't the only council member going up against the businesses in his ward. Jack Evans, whose Ward 2 is home to more than half of the city's liquor licenses, said this week residents in his ward are unanimously opposed to the extension.
"The idea of extending the hours to 3 [a.m.] and 4 a.m. are universally being opposed … by residents in Ward 2," Evans said at a committee hearing Thursday.
But if the council nixes the idea, it has to come up with another source of funding — or cuts — to plug the $3 million gap the line veto would create. No one yet has publicly floated any ideas for how to do that.