State Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco (where else?) Democrat, has proposed a bill that would allow local communities within California to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. instead of the present 2 a.m.
How wonderful that would be. It would enable lushes to pack two more hours of drinking into their busy schedules without the inconvenience of having to either go home or find places to sleep in the parks or on sidewalks.
What is the magic, though, of just two more hours of drinking? Why stop there? Why not let the bars stay open all the time? After all, drinkers and bar owners have rights. You can take a bottle home, after all, and drink all night on your own sofa watching your own television without having to behave yourself in a bar where you might get tossed out if you get in a fight or pass out. Why not give drinkers the option of never having to worry about being without an opportunity to grab one more for the road?
Californians who back this bill point out that cities such as New Orleans provide dynamic social scenes and sparkling nightlife vitality by not sending elbow-benders home early, or perhaps by not sending them home at all. Closing at 2 a.m., they say, is the same sort of blue-nosed hypocrisy that makes it illegal to snuff cocaine and inject heroin.
It could solve one big problem in San Francisco, though: Drunks sleeping on the sidewalks. There are so many of them they offend the tourists, and the police and courts in that liberal hotbed are dumbfounded about what to do. Letting the bars stay open two more hours longer would at least give the drunks some place to stay upright until the tourists stagger back to their hotels.
Yes, this certainly would add sparkle and vitality to California nightlife.