Friday, August 3, 2007

Beach officials rethink ABC restrictions

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

After all, Ernestine Combs really needed a liquor license for her lounge, Uroma.

And Virginia Beach really wanted to keep Virginia Beach’s notorious “Block,” the area near 17th Street and Pacific Avenue, as orderly as possible.

So the city agreed not to object to the liquor license so long as Combs agreed to certain restrictions: No do-rags; no sneakers, T-shirts or athletic wear after 9 p.m.; and certainly no hip hop or gangsta rap “that could incite violence.”

A lawyer in the office of City Attorney Les Lilley signed off on the deal, which was negotiated by public safety attorney Kathy Rountree.

It was such a good idea that the folks responsible didn’t perceive that those restrictions might be viewed as insensitive, if not racist.

As Kerry Dougherty points out in a column in The Virginian-Pilot, some of those folks are having second thoughts.

Lilley says he was outraged and offended when he learned of the restrictions. Rountree says she was so excited that Combs agreed to close her doors at 2 a.m. that she lost focus on some of the other restrictions.

Lilley says he plans to ask the AG’s office to remove the restrictions.

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