February 12, 2013 | vol. 73 No. 29

I have sympathy for all those South Side people

As one who worked in the heart of South Side for seven years and loved the area, its convenience, stores and restaurants, it saddens me to note its destruction at the hands of hordes of drunken revelers (some would say drunken bums), who have made life unbearable for the individuals who live in the community and who pay plenty for the “privilege.”

Who could tolerate residing in a neighborhood in which without fail each weekend, some combination of violence, noise, urination, and sex acts occur, including on one’s private property?

I find irony in the fact that a fine dining spot like Scoglio Restaurant in Foster Plaza, Greentree (one of the area’s most wonderful restaurants), an establishment which does not turn drunks out onto the street, had to go through bureaucratic rigmarole and a waiting period of months before being able to acquire a liquor license upon opening, but the South Side has one liquor license after another for block after block, a recipe for the mayhem that regularly ensues.

When there is such an odd dichotomy, has the Liquor Control Board been doing its job? Where on South Side is there liquor control? In what other community has there been an unlimited number of liquor licenses granted?

I would also note one of many bizarre quirks in the anachronism that is the liquor code of Pennsylvania. An establishment without a liquor license can permit patrons to bring their own alcohol; it can also provide alcohol to customers free of charge! For its first few months of operation in Greentree, Scoglio did precisely that, allowing each diner two complimentary cocktails with each meal, a rather expensive “freebie!”

It would not be fair to the many South Side bars to change the rules in the middle of the game nor could action likely be taken which would bring any relief and peace to the residents through infringing on businesses’ operations, so the only avenue of redress is for stepped up law enforcement of the peace and respect for the property of others.

Which I hope the city of Pittsburgh will indeed pursue with gusto; prosecuting the law-breaking inebriates to the fullest extent of the law as a deterrent. It has its work cut out for it.

The property owners of the South Side should not have to suffer sleepless weekend nights, worry about what will happen to their homes, or endure diminished values for their parcels. They have my deepest sympathy.

Oren Spiegler

Via sopghreporter.com

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