City Attorney Tom Carr, who is running for reelection, has dropped his fight to block a tiny Capitol Hill art gallery and cafe from obtaining a hard liquor license. "They were not happy with the press coverage," says Faire Gallery attorney David Osgood.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board had approved the liquor license in August, overriding an objection that Carr made in June; however, Carr indicated in his original objection that he would appeal in state court if liquor board overrode him. He had until September 9 to appeal the decision, but didn't.
The story was covered by The Stranger and Capitol Hill blogs. "There is a clear effort to intimidate me," Carr emailed the mother of Capitol Hill Community Council President Jen Power, who then posted the exchange on her blog.
"They were very distressed about all the press they had received for this and they were very upset at me for not following process and not letting them appeal my client to death," says Osgood. An East Precinct liaison for Carr "was not willing to compromise or look at this case in a rational way," he says.
Carr had argued that the owner's husband—a co-applicant on the request to expand service from beer and wine to include hard liquor—had failed to take a class required for a misdemeanor conviction in 2006. The court quashed the warrant after the man took the class, and the liquor board subsequently approved the liquor license, but Carr refused to withdraw his objection. Carr has a long history of aggressively pushing an anti-nightlife agenda, including onerous "good neighbor agreements" and prosecuting bar employees.
"I think it was unnecessary, I think it was silly, and I think Carr's office was making a mountain out of a molehill," Osgood says. "I talked to a licensing supervisor at WSLCB and the license should be issued by this weekend."
UPDATE: About an hour after this was posted, Carr returned calls seeking comment. You can read his take on the issue here.