Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Regulation or harassment? By all accounts, the tragic nightclub fire in West Warwick last month was the result of a confluence of mind-boggling stupidity: highly flammable soundproofing foam; a pyrotechnics display more suitable for an outdoor concert than a cramped, indoor stage; and, possibly, building and fire inspections over the years that were obscenely inadequate.

So it makes sense for officials elsewhere to take swift action to make sure such a thing could not happen in their communities. But does it make sense to harass responsible club owners to the point where they may no longer be able to do business? The Boston City Council seems to think so.

Try to imagine councilor Stephen Murphy talking his fellow councilors and their aides into squeezing themselves into a five-foot-by-seven-foot square in order to prove that current club standards allow for too much crowding. I'm surprised someone didn't throw a punch.

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