October 31, 2015 at 3:52 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Mark Lee named head of newly launched nightlife association

 

Mark Lee, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Lee (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Organizers of the newly launched D.C. Nightlife Hospitality Association have named longtime gay nightlife advocate and Washington Blade business columnist Mark Lee as its executive director.

An Oct. 26 statement announcing the formation of the new group says it was founded by owners and operators of local bars, restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment establishments as a non-profit trade association.

The statement says it will represent “the interests of alcohol-licensed businesses comprising the city’s vibrant and growing nighttime economy.”

Among those sitting on the group’s 11-member board of directors, according to the statement, is Jim Boyle, an official with the D.C. gay bars Number Nine and Town Danceboutique.

On the day the statement announcing the nightlife association’s formation was released, Lee testified before a D.C. City Council hearing on the association’s behalf in opposition to a bill calling for stricter noise regulations for nightlife businesses.

Lee and representatives of about a dozen individual nightlife businesses, including the highly popular 9:30 Club, told the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that the proposed restrictions would be harmful to nightlife businesses and would force many to close outdoor spaces during peak nighttime hours. Lee called on the Council to defeat bill, the Nightlife Regulation Amendment Act of 2015. The measure was introduced by Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large.)

Among other things, the bill would prohibit amplified, recorded or other music in outdoor spaces operated by nightlife businesses such as roof decks and patios after midnight.

“Enforcement of existing noise regulations in a fair and reasonable manner is the smarter approach, not prohibiting activities that enliven our city and fill its tax coffers,” Lee said.

Representatives of local civic associations and some Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have said the bill is needed to curtail noise that they say spills into residential areas, disturbing the peace and quiet in their neighborhoods and homes during late night hours.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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