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Monday, April 28, 2008

St. Paul Says No Drinking Outdoors!
Unless You Pay For It

Just yesterday I published this column about St. Paul city civic leaders seeking ways to attract new businesses into St. Tumbleweed. The civic leaders are very concerned with a "lack of retail and nightlife, too many panhandlers loitering, some decrepit buildings, no 'real grocery store and not enough incentives for businesses to set up shop."

Lo and behold one day later, the Sunday Minneapolis Red Star North Korean Tribune (MRSNKT) runs a story on how restaurants and cafes in St. Paul cannot allow their diners to bring alcohol-based beverages with them if dining on an outside deck or patio. The reason diners can't bring their drinks with them is because - according to the MRSNKT story - the law requires business owners to buy a
SECOND OUTDOOR LIQUOR LICENSE in order to legally allow their customers to drink liquor with their meal while seated outdoors.

And some people think that I unfairly criticize the abundance of onerous and restrictive regulations that not only keep new businesses from opening in St. Paul, but also burden the already existing businesses struggling to stay open.

Of course no St. Paul City Drama would be complete without input from one of my favorite Little Stalinists, St. Paul City Asshat, the pot-bellied, mooring rope-as-dental floss using Dave "Toothy Grin" Thune:

    Council Member Dave Thune said the proposal [to make it easier to allow outdoor consumption of alcoholic beverages] has some good attributes, but he wants to make sure it doesn't get abused.

Oh, good Christ yes, Toothy, keep those restrictive reigns secure and tight. Since we in Minnesota have 70 degree weather all year long, the privilege of sipping a glass of wine or a cocktail cannot be allowed to reach "epidemic" proportions. Keep thinking up new "licenses" and fees that business owners must pay before they allow such a heinous act as allowing their customers to have a cocktail with their meal while seated outside.

I'm shocked the so-called city leaders of St. Paul haven't banned outdoor patio and deck smoking. Why, someone down the block might get a whiff of a molecule of cigarette smoke and come to believe that the air isn't perfectly pure and clean. Or maybe start thinking that that molecular particle whiff they inhaled will kill them. After all, the specious and refrain from the Militant No-Smoking Crowd is that there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. This is patently false.

And civic leaders wonder why downtown St. Paul is ghost town? Let downtown die, pave it over and turn it into a cemetery.


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