Give To Those In Need informs us that a group of startups (Evertrue, Kinvey, Localytics, etc.) decided to get together to throw themselves a combined holiday party, so that employees of each of these small firms could schmooze with each other and others in the local tech scene.

As they have the last three years.

And, as they have the last three years, they structured the party thusly: a rented hotel function room, an open bar, a $50 cover charge, invites sent out over, and surplus funds donated to charity via (The exact recipient of the charity was TBA, but was to come from one of TUGG's "portfolio" of causes: Latino STEM Alliance, Youth Cities, Technology for Autism, Music & Youth, etc.

The Boston Police, meanwhile, was hard at work at solving the murders and homicides in the city.

I'm joking, of course.

The Boston Police were actually setting up a sting to catch anyone who violated the law regulation
204 CMR 4.03 1 (e) which makes it illegal to vary the price of alcohol over time.

I'd explain why this is an important regulation, and why anyone who violates it deserves to go to hell and/or be arrested, but I think it's pretty clear: we can't just have people selling things at different prices at different times, or we'd there'd be complete anarchy.

'nuff said.

So, anyway, the Boston Police, having solved the problem of murder, rape, and larceny within its territory, turned its attention to a consortium of technology startups and raided their Christmas party.

The good news is that a peaceful resolution was achieved: once the tech startups (cough) voluntarily (cough) agreed that instead of donating the profits to something silly like encouraging Latino youth to excel at science and technology, they'd instead donate it to a charity organization of armed individuals known as the "Boston Police Department", all charges were dropped.

I'm sort of curious to ask for records on Boston PD policies, but I've recently learned that Boston LEOs refuse to respond to public documents requests and threaten to arrest journalists who call them on the phone.

Render unto Caesar, my friends. And if at any point you're not sure which wordly power is Caesar, remember: he's the one who can crucify people without repercussions.

Last 5 posts by Clark


  1. Zack says

    *Head tilt*

    …. Am I missing something? If you can't vary the price of alcohol over time… how do you raise/lower prices at a bar? Do all the bars have to agree to raise/lower their prices at the same time? That's what it sounds like from reading the regulation- doesn't that fall afoul of a federal RICO/cartel scheme law, though?

    I'm trying to understand why that's a regulation they would ever bother enforcing. Even traffic stops would have a vastly larger benefit than trying to stop bars changing their prices.

  2. Xenocles says

    It says pretty clearly that the prices listed have to remain in effect for at least a week. The intent is really just to prevent things like happy hours and ladies' nights.

  3. Isaac says

    I attended this party and had no idea there was an alcohol controversy surrounding it.

    @Zach, I think the rule is that any alcohol price has to stay put for at least a week. Its purpose, as I understand it, is to prevent happy hours. I'm not really sure how or why it applies here, or why it would apply here but *not* apply to, say, a beer tasting event. But in general, Boston has a lot of weird liquor rules held over from when Puritans ran the state.

  4. Mike says

    I would add that while Clark and the article focus on the regulation's provision dealing with varying the price of liquor over time, I think the actual provision relevant here is probably this one:

    No licensee or employee or agent of a licensee shall: (d) sell, offer to sell or deliver to any person an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price, except at private functions not open to the public;

    I think focusing on the seemingly-unrelated "varying the price" provision unfairly makes it seem that BPD was stretching to apply a regulation to a situation that didn't make sense, whereas it seems the situation (as described) plainly fell within the "unlimited drinks" provision.

    Furthermore, while it is easy (as Clark does) to question what public policy interest is advanced with the "varying the price" provision, I think there is a pretty strong public policy argument against selling unlimited alcohol to the public [in Boston!] BPD's interest in monitoring potential violations of that provision seems reasonable to me, although I agree that simply raiding the party after midnight instead of proactively calling to inform is less defensible police behavior.

  5. says

    Wait, so is this some kind of argument where Clark has boxed us into a logical corner, so we can't accept both premises from the two posts? I get lost easily in the sarcasm and often cannot tell anarchy from libertarianism from whatever the fuck we have now.

    That is, I understand that happy hour is absolutely wrong and should never be allowed, therefore the government must protect us from it. But you're saying we can ban happy hour and still get to rape suspected war (on drugs) criminals without consequence?

    Oh, man, this is either the sneakiest trick ever or I'm living in the golden age of US of fucking Awesome. I love this place.

  6. Waldo says

    Mike @ 2:12 nails it. Unfortunately, you have to read the linked Reason article and then the links there to get the full story.

  7. Waldo says

    "The good news is that a peaceful resolution was achieved: once the tech startups (cough) voluntarily (cough) agreed that instead of donating the profits to something silly like encouraging Latino youth to excel at science and technology, they'd instead donate it to a charity organization of armed individuals known as the "Boston Police Department", all charges were dropped."

    As much as I'm naturally a skeptic when it comes to the cops, I think Clark passes over into cynic here. Perhaps the cops pressured the organizers to donate the profits to a Boston police charity, but there's nothing in the articles (including the libertarian leaning and no friend of state authority Reason article) to suggest that was the case. The part about the charges being dropped seems incorrect, as the articles do not indicate that charges were ever brought against the organizers, let alone dropped as a quid pro quo for the donation (which was only $500). Again, I'm a skeptic myself, so I don't necessarily assume that the article's version ("Although Carcio’s party didn’t get shut down in the end, and the police were understanding once they “saw how it was being run,” to show there were no hard feelings, they donated $500 of the proceeds to the Boston Police Charitable Foundation") is the truth, but absent any evidence to the contrary I wouldn't assume it's false either.

  8. gramps says

    Hold on there, Mike… the regulation provides an exemption for private functions. It sounds to me like this gathering was just such a private party, open to the employees of the companies sponsoring it.

    Or was there evidence (not stated in the original post) that the general public was free to attend? If this is proper application of the regulation, then are we to believe that one cannot provide an "open bar" at a child's wedding where admission is by invitation.

  9. Mike says

    @ gramps the party was "open invitation." I agree that the provision wouldn't apply if the party was by invitation only. Now, the "child's wedding" you describe sounds like it would be illegal in other ways, but the open bar would be permissible since it was by invitation only.

  10. dan says

    @Isaac, I think this was a "all the Kennedys are running over people at happy hour law," not a Puritan one.

  11. perlhaqr says

    Render unto Caesar, my friends. And if at any point you're not sure which wordly power is Caesar, remember: he's the one who can crucify people without repercussions.


    Clark, you've got such a way with words… :)

  12. CJK Fossman says


    Isn't it possible that the party was private; the "open invitation" was likely extended only to employees of the Boston tech startups only those who made the donation were in attendance.

  13. Jack says

    Off topic, but does anyone else think the bay state examiner website linked in the post is a bit…odd? They have this story on their website and literally nothing else. Who are they and where did they come from?

  14. Mike says

    @CJK Fossman

    The invite extended to "friends of the startup community," which sounds like it opens the door to the public.

  15. Jen says

    Puritans are still running the state.

    They just stopped using the will of God as a figleaf for poking their better-than-thou noses into everyone's business anymore, having decided they quite like occupying the pulpit themselves.

  16. gramps says

    @Mike- This ain't SE Utah. My children are mid-40s, so their weddings, over the preceding 20 years or so would have been on the up and up… I would not be responsible for the individual behavior of guests, however.

    I would question the donation to Boston's finest as to it being free and voluntary and with no advantage to be gained by the giver…

  17. Zem says

    Remember, eveything will be all right if you understand that you are simply a guest in your own country.

    To be a citizen, well Starship Troopers put it best.

  18. says


    Clark, you've got such a way with words… :)


    It turns out that in life, as in third grade, a way with words can often lead to interactions with those who have a way with fists.

    Stay anonymous, my friends.

  19. Have Blue says

    Unfortunately cops have to enforce laws as they are written by legislatures made up of legislators, who are predominately lawyers.

  20. Mike B says

    @Have That's not really true. Cops can and are expected to use their own judgement to make a call on what is reasonable to enforce. If they had to expect the law exactly as it was written, the city of Boston would probably pull in about a million bucks a year in jaywalking tickets alone.

  21. Resolute says

    I've found that arguments that involve heavy doses of false dichotomy tend to lose value in a real hurry. Shocking as it may seem, most police forces are large enough that they can both investigate major crimes and enforce laws related to the petty ones at the same time.

    Asking why the BPD is spending the time dealing with these… incidents… is fair game. (Though it does seem that being an 'open invitation' event, it probably should be regulated similar to bars that have to monitor customer drinking.) Questioning whether there was some sort of QPD to avoid having the party shut down is likewise fair. But the rest is disingenuous and insulting to the reader.

  22. David C says

    It's absolutely the case that police should not be required to tackle crimes in strict order of seriousness, so that nobody can be arrested for petty theft if there are any unsolved murders, etc.

    On the other hand, the crime here was a regulatory offense that was obviously almost certainly inadvertent. When you can completely prevent a crime with one officer making a five minute phone call saying "don't do that," choosing instead to wait until it's committed and then stage a raid at the site involving multiple personnel… seems like a gross waste of resources. Unless, again, all more serious crimes have been eliminated and the police literally have nothing better to do with their time.

  23. AlphaCentauri says

    It would be interesting to have more context. Have neighbors of the hotel been complaining about the behavior of their guests, so that the police were paying particular attention to open-bar events? (I Googled "Revere Hotel nuisance" and got a lot of on line reviews that managed to incorporate the word "nuisance" to refer to things that had nothing to do with public nuisiance, which is what reputation management companies might do to bury other links deeper in the search results, but other than a 1919 court case, I couldn't actually find any mention of neighbor problems with the Revere.)

  24. AlphaCentauri says

    A little more research: Apparently the residents in that area of Boston have a very active neighborhood association to control "urban nuisances" like graffiti and dog droppings. And there was a situation last year where the hotel was cited by the police for handing out free glasses of wine after the police "received a complaint." So it's likely the police weren't just randomly visiting parties to see if there was an open bar; I'm betting the neighbors keep the local liquor licensees on a pretty short leash.

  25. Bob says

    Man, I've worked for some shitty co.s in my time, but none of them charged me to go to their Xmas parties.