Letter: Another side of the Black Swan

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In the front page article on the Black Swan pub raid, you certainly did a good job reporting one side of the story, stroking the Sheriff’s department and the mayor of Tivoli, as well as listing every violation the Swan has ever been accused of, to the point that the reader came away believing the Swan management was responsible for the national epidemic of under aged college drinking.

However, this problem occurs in every college town, constantly at parties on Bard campus, and is a major problem all pub owners fear and have to struggle to prevent. You failed to report significant background information that would have presented a more balanced and accurate depiction of the whole situation.

This would include that fact that the Swan management has consistently enforced measures of screening and checking IDs. However, fake IDs are readily available it is a difficult for any drinking establishment to censor. College students with fake IDs will ditch them in a raid situation so they do not get charged with a misdemeanor, as one of the students in your article was; leaving many telling police they were not checked for ID.

The Swan has added a great deal to the community, bring in many cultural events such as live music, acoustic jazz, klezmer dance, trivia events, poetry reading and even Nora Jones.

Despite the fact that these events bring in little money, Swan management has remained committed to them, enriching the lives of many. The owner, a lifelong Northern Dutchess resident, has been an entrepreneur, who with few resources has been struggling for years to not only create a successful business but also to develop a local arts venue which enhances culture in the community.

The Swan offered a different feel than the higher end establishments so often set up in Northern Dutchess by wealthy NYC businessmen. Certainly the decor and NYC money that such establishments can bring in is desirable to many municipalities, but local venues by local, common residents, add a great deal to the vibe, depth and diversity that makes a town desirable, and separates a town with true character from a high end tourist trap.

On your next front page story, rather than regurgitating official reports and police blotters, try to do some journalism and present a more balanced story.

Peter Menconeri

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