The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association (SNMA) is working with City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Mike McGinn to redraft the Good Neighbor Agreement, an agreement imposed on businesses seeking nightclub liquor licenses by former City Attorney Tom Carr, seemingly designed for the purpose of muzzling Seattle nightlife. Carr’s last victim of office was the J & M Café in Pioneer Square, which was set to re-open under new ownership in time for New Year’s Eve. Carr objected to their license after they refused to sign his roughly 18-page GNA (which held venues accountable for crime happening within view of their property, among other things). This was one of his last dickish moves as City Attorney. After Holmes was sworn in on January 4, he chose not to seek a GNA for the J & M Café, allowing the cafe to open in early January of this year.
The Bad Juju Lounge in Belltown is being used as the test case for the revised GNA. "Pete Holmes and I came to a good understanding about the Juju," said Juju owner Marcus Charles. "Things seem to be working smoothly between the Nightlife community and the City Attorney's Office."
“Holmes and McGinn are great to work with," confirms Mike Meckling, owner of Neumos and president of the SNMA. "With them, it’s more of a round-table discussion where we’re trying to figure out what’s fair and what’s relevant [for our businesses]. It’s definitely more productive to address the issues beforehand instead of being approached by law enforcement.” The City Attorney’s office projects the revised GNA will be ready by the end of this month.
SNMA is also meeting with the State Liquor Control Board to update their more archaic regulations. For instance, bands are currently forbidden from drinking on stage at venues, as they are considered contract employees—and employees are forbidden from drinking on the job. “We’re actively discussing that, too,” said Meckling. “When we brought it up, eyebrows raised that it was even being enforced, but at this point it still is.”