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As summer approaches, police try to make Mattapan Square less nippy

Boston Police say they're determined to end problems by daytime drinkers congregating outside Mattapan Square liquor stores downing the nips and single cans of beer they've just bought, and are now about a month into a crackdown that they say so far is working.

B-3 Sgt. Det. John Fitzgerald said that last month, he and B-3 commanders met with the owners of the square's liquor stores to lay down the law and seek ways to put a stop to the long-running problem. The next day, he said, "No Loitering" signs went at local packies, making it easier for police to make people move along even if they're not caught in the act of drinking in public. And workers now try to do a better job of sweeping up all the empty nips that used to line nearby sidewalks.

Fitzgerald was testifying at a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board involving a citation issued to Happy Liquors II, 1633 Blue Hill Ave., because of a man caught drinking from an open bottle of whiskey at 9:30 a.m. on March 16. He said he was checking out the store in response to a number of "quality of life" complaints from residents.

Fitzgerald acknowledged the store was in particularly rough location because it's in a row with a smoke shop and a pizza place - and the sort of men who would drink nips would go down to the Dunkin' Donuts, panhandle, then return for more nips.

But he said the store had removed a trash bin out front that drinkers had been using as an impromptu table and gathering spot. And he said problems with day drinkers has decreased over the past month. Along with working with the store owners, B-3 has instituted rotating "zero tolerance" days outside specific stores, in which anybody trying to undo a container of liquor on the sidewalk outside

The store's attorney, Ethan Schaff, acknowledged the store had gone through a rough patch of about six months where nothing employees seemed to do would get people to stop congregating outside, drinking. He agreed with Fitzgerald that things have improved.

But Schaff recoiled when board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini - who said she was troubled by the report of somebody standing on the sidewalk drinking at 9:30 a.m. - asked whether the long-term solution might be to ban the sale of nips and single cans of beer altogether. In recent years, the city has barred the sale of the products on new packie licenses issued in the city.

Schaff said the stores survive in part because of the sales of the products, and that the board should give the new police and store policies in Mattapan Square a chance to prove themselves before taking such a drastic step as trying to bar their sale.

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when board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini - who said she was troubled by the report of somebody standing on the sidewalk drinking at 9:30 a.m.

Why, were you planning on making a visit to this packie, Christine? Do you wish to avoid confrontation with this guy? I'll go on the record as a Boston citizen who will tell you that this person is not bothering me. In fact, I've never patronized this store.

They have treatment programs for alcoholism, you know. Will you donate to this man's cause? Or will you blindly declare that nips should be banned, thus raising the minimum the man must raise to purchase liquor, perhaps driving him into petty crime to obtain the cash?

As for the drunk himself, don't let the alcoholism deter you from learning about something called a "unit price", dude. Nips are a ripoff.

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Let's open a liquor store in your lobby that sells only nips.

I mean, I get your hatred for whoever chairs the licensing board, but count to ten and consider that maybe, just maybe, the reason the cops responded to all the nip issues is because they got complaints from people who actually do live in the neighborhood. In fact, thanks for reminding me - I think I may have left that out of the story, but will add it in.

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I don't own the property but I'm not stopping you from opening a liquor store on my block. Drunks wanna cause trouble around my house, I'll spray them with a garden hose.

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Suggests that city council members should personally pay out their pocket for rehab programs ,and in the next breath says his solution is to spray homeless people with a hose. Not in my back yard!

You do realize that spraying people with water has a long association with racism, right? Is that where you got the idea? As a person who posts racist stuff?

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A literacy program for you.

wanna cause trouble

Standing and drinking without making noise =/= causing trouble

Also, I didn't know "alcoholic" was a race. You are a cornucopia of crap.

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You were all about empathy to nip (pun intended) the life of petty crime in the bud, when it wasn't you. But when it is you, who cares, just give them the hose again.

Learn to read. I never said alcoholism is a race, I clearly asked if you got the idea to do so from the racist policies you support.

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= breaking the law.

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why not arrest offenders? i was arrested for it when i was 22. it was a city ordinance and it cost me about $120 bucks for bail and court. it stopped me from drinking my beers in public.

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I don't know about this specific case, but, yes, in general, police will often arrest the offender AND issue a citation to the store. It's definitely how the licensing-unit cops act when they inspect a bar or club and find an under-21 person with a drink - he or she gets to go before a judge on a criminal complaint and the bar gets to go before the licensing board to explain how it happened.

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The store's attorney, Ethan Schaff, acknowledged the store had gone through a rough patch of about six months where nothing employees seemed to do would get people to stop congregating outside, drinking.

So...the store should summon the armed, fixed cost personnel to do it for them? What are they called again? Po-something. It's on the tip of my tongue.

Or will cops bitch to them about showing up to do their jobs? Because I've seen that happen in a bar.

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Possibly best for all concerned, but when you get a license, you agree to follow both state laws and local rules, and one of those is that you're responsible for the sidewalk right in front of your store. Don't like it? That's fine - there are 350 other cities and towns in Massachusetts where you can try to open a packie (same goes for restaurants, of course).

You probably don''t want to look up the case law on your responsibilities should one of your customers overconsume and then go out and kill somebody ...

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Leave these poor people alone. This is their neighborhood and it's the only source of congregation and community they know. Where the fuck else are they gonna go? They're living situation sucks, unlike yours.

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They could properly dispose of their garbage, for starters.

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Not if the store took away the trash can, since they were using it as a table.

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" he said the store had removed a trash bin out front that drinkers had been using ..."

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For the Blue Hill Avenue corridor, for its length and for the population that lives within a few hundred yards of it, there are a dearth of bars.

Boylston Street seems to have a bar every dozen feet or so, as does Faneuil Hall. Even Beacon Hill and the Flat seems to have about 6 or 7 that I can think of off of the top of my head. Broadway between Dot Ave and L Street doesn't seem to be lacking either.

Perhaps we need a few more places for people to congregate along one of Boston's boulevards and not just confine the liquor to other neighborhoods.

Intoxicant Justice for Blue Hill Avenue!

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Unless Dunkies starts selling beers...

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I go to a gym that's across the street from a liquor store (not in Boston). People who buy nips aren't interested in going to bars and paying bar overheads: they want a cheap fast buzz, and they do not care where their trash goes.

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A place of employment? A treatment facility?

You want me to leave them alone, tell them to leave my paycheck alone. You know seeing im certain my tax dollars end up in their pockets via the dozens of abused (failed) social programs.

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Well, you should be happy they've cut MassHeatlh programs out for a lot of people. I should know because my dear friend, whose is 65 and whose only source of income was SSDI, just suffered a massive stroke and simultaneously got a letter in the mail from the State saying they're taking away his benefits. That should make you happy. Guess who's paying for his rehabilitation?

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I dunno, their homes?

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I'm not a fan of expanding government regulations but the bottle bill seems to have worked well, mainly because enterprising citizens (not government employees) go around picking up the redeemable containers off the street. Empty nip bottles are a problem near every liquor store that sells them from Mattapan to Monson but hardly an empty can or bottle of beer to be found. IIRC, a referendum to expand the bottle bill was defeated some years ago but that has never stopped the legislature from imposing its own will. The same can be said for losing scratch tickets that litter the ground near every store that sells them. The lottery had an innovative trial program where those who returned a set number of losing tickets were given a free one. It worked but fell by the wayside.

As for removing the trash barrel to solve the trash and loitering problem, seriously? Perhaps a barrel without a cover or a cover unsuitable for use as a table would help solve both problems.

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and this is one of those times. Let's also put a deposit on water bottles, please. They are even more of a plague.

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... with the cigarette and cigar smokers that congregate outside the smoke shop near my house. They litter the sidewalk with their butts and poison passersby with their toxic smoke.
If the police are going after nippers in Mattapan Square, will they do something about this problem as well?

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People under the influence of nicotine and alcohol. The amount of disturbances caused by public nicotine intoxication is staggering...

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When I was a kid we made smoking paraphernalia in our school classes. Pretty much any one over age 16 smoked. Even into the late 70s and early 80s most high schools had smoking lounges for students!

It is so very unbelievably better now than when people smoked indoors at their desks, smoked on trains, smoked on buses, smoked in theaters, etc. This was considered "normal". Even my first job out of college had smokers who smoked at their desks! I remember as the tide of restrictions rolled in and cheered each one - airplanes and then indoor spaces and workplaces, bars, restaurants, nightclubs.

I agree that smokers are amazingly unable to keep track of their butts and maybe there should be a per-pack fee added to cover the costs of that. But to talk about "poisonous smoke" in an era where both outdoor air pollution and second hand smoke are nothing like they once were is utterly laughable.

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... when you walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke.
I’m choking.

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I hope they can make the whole Mattapan corridor less 'nippy'.

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Why have 'progressives' become increasingly puritanical over the past couple of decades?

Alcohol = low class, bad (unless it's 'craft' IPAs, 'premium' liquor, or wine marketed towards 'professional' women.

Nicotine in tobacco (chewed or smoked) = 'low class', bad. Ditto vaped nicotine and e-cigarettes.

Hard street drugs should be legalized. Free syringes distributed (but not in ky precious neiggborhood/town/city; only in inner-city Boston and other 'low class' neighborhoods, cities and towns.)

Weed legalized, but no dispensary in my precious neighborhood (put them in the 'low class' neighborhoods and cities/towns, like public and section 8 housing.)

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Why have 'progressives' become increasingly puritanical over the past couple of decades?

'You' must 'be' 'new' here. Look upthread for a guy known as Fish, and stop projecting.

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Chelsea did this also.. city wide

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Law Enforcement should intervene and enforce the loitering law around all liquor establishments., and while you at it, could you please clean up Dudley Station from the same problems

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