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Keller @ Large: Extending Bar Closing Times Not A ‘Quality Of Life’ Issue

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(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) — Coincidentally, when the story broke here last week that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to look at keeping bars open until 3:30 a.m., I was away visiting a city with no closing time.

Listen to Jon’s commentary

And based on my professional observations of how that works, I can confidently tell you… nothing, actually.

I was in bed fast asleep by 11:30 p.m. at the latest, because I’m usually up shortly after dawn, and when you’re well over 30, as I am, you don’t go out partying well past midnight and expect to answer the bell the next day.

But that’s OK, because the clamor for a closing-time change here has nothing to do with people like me. It’s all about the young single crowd and the tourist trade, and catching up with other cities in competing for their boozing dollars.

I’m not unsympathetic to this motivation. Boston’s image as a mecca for 20-somethings and tourism is crucial to its economic success.

But I have to laugh when I hear advocates claim it’s a “quality of life” issue.

For all but the party animals who haven’t had enough by 2 a.m., expanded drinking hours are an assault on the general quality of life, not a boost to it. We’re talking more violence, more drunk driving, more noise and vandalism, and more tax dollars needing to be spent to contain it all.

By all means, as Mayor Walsh suggests, let’s give it a try in the Seaport District, a contained entertainment area where residents live high above the street and knew they were buying into a party zone.

But a better “quality of life?”

All-night boozing won’t be providing that.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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