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Save the Parties! ... Or Not.

Though D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has pledged to sign the D.C. Council legislation that would allow bars and nightclubs to stay open all night from Jan. 17-21, some groups aren't taking anything for granted. They're fighting for their right to par-tay!

Save the Parties is a new blog dedicated to signing people up to a petition asking Fenty to "stand strong" against people like Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who have objected to the council's legislation.

The group also has a presence on Facebook, with 37 "friends" signed up so far for the cause.

Inauguration Watch can identify at least one person who won't be signing up: Bill Bronrott, a Democratic delegate from Bethesda to the Maryland statehouse. Bronrott wrote a long letter to Fenty yesterday imploring him to stand strong against the party crowd. He insists this is not a D.C.-only issue, but will affect the suburbs when people leave the city to return home after partying to the wee hours.

Bronrott writes: "As my county's police chief has said: This is a recipe for disaster. Odds are there will be significant spillover throughout the region associated with extending bar and club hours to dawn in the form of intoxicated drivers. As immersed as I have been in the issues of impaired driving and drug-alcohol abuse over the past three decades (and as chair of the Maryland House Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse), I urge you to veto this bill. Nothing good can come from it except perhaps to line the pockets of bar and club owners in the so-called hospitality industry at the potential expense of lives and limbs of innocent victims throughout our region."

(Read Bronrott's full letter after the jump.)

Dear Mayor Fenty:
We first met in October 2002 when we stood together with Chief Moose and Doug Duncan at a news conference on Georgia Avenue at the DC-Maryland line after the sniper shot down yet another unsuspecting victim.
I was born in DC. I've always lived inside the Beltway. I respect DC and I am protective of its right to self rule. I carried a 51-star flag on a freedom march for DC Statehood in 1987.
Over the past 10 years of serving in the Maryland General Assembly, I have represented a community across Western Avenue in the Maryland House of Delegates. I believe in regionally-cooperative solutions to issues that affect our metro area. I am active with COG.
In 1982, I started the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) to bring together elected officials, cops, the business community, and health and safety advocates to combat drunk driving and underage drinking in our the metropolitan area.
In 2000, I led the effort in Maryland to convince Governor Glendening to join DC and Virginia in funding the extension of weekend Metrorail service to 2:00am (and later to 3:00am) in part to prevent impaired driving in DC and our region.
I wanted to believe that legislation to extend DC bar and club hours to 5:00am during Inaugural Week is a DC-only issue, but I know all too well that it is not. Western Avenue and Eastern Avenue are thin invisible lines dividing our Maryland state legislative districts and the District of Columbia. Three or four million people will pour into our region that week. We can expect that everyone will want to spend their waking hours in the District, and at the end of the day [night] many will want to return to the hotels, apartments and houses they are renting in Maryland and Virginia between Baltimore and Richmond and even beyond. Metro will not be open all night. Our lifesaving SoberRide program does not have the funds to keep cabs operating for free all night.
As my county's police chief has said: This is a recipe for disaster. Odds are there will be significant spillover throughout the region associated with extending bar and club hours to dawn in the form of intoxicated drivers. As immersed as I have been in the issues of impaired driving and drug-alcohol abuse over the past three decades (and as chair of the Maryland House Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse), I urge you to veto this bill. Nothing good can come from it except perhaps to line the pockets of bar and club owners in the so-called hospitality industry at the potential expense of lives and limbs of innocent victims throughout our region. I do not believe that this is the way to ring in this exciting and hope-filled era led by our new President Barack Obama. It will minimize our progressive efforts to promote livable, sustainable, healthy and safe communities in our region. A veto is a way to tell the world and the region that healthy and safe communities are truly a top priority in our national capital area. People will still know that the District and its regional allies are open for business, but not at all costs.
I welcome your comments and questions, and look forward to your response. Many thanks and best wishes.
Respectfully, Delegate Bill Bronrott District 16 Bethesda

By David A Nakamura  |  December 11, 2008; 12:00 PM ET  | Category:  Entertainment , Food & Dining , Security
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