Thursday, August 31, 2006

Getting rid of street drunks

Seattle Times: State liquor board OKs expanding alcohol-impact zones in Seattle

The democrats in Seattle are at it again. First they ban smoking in bars and now they ban the sale of certain types of alcohol in various neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Malt liquors and fortified wines can no longer be sold in Capital Hill, the University District, Downtown, and several other neighborhoods. The most cited reason for the ban is that homeless individuals will drink these cheap liquors and urinate on the sidewalks. Many of these individuals suffer from alcoholism. Banning the sale of drinks in certain areas will not magically cure their alcoholism. One of three things will result:

A) They will be forced to spend even more of their limited money on alcohol in order to purchase such high-priced items as PBR. As a result their welfare will be worse and the public urination will continue; or

B) By some fate of God their stop being alcoholics and start drinking water instead. Low and behold, they still have to urinate. Without a home, they still piss on the street corner; or

C) They will buy their alcohol at a store outside of the restricted zones. If this happens, the amount of street drunks will not be decreased; they will only be urinating in different neighborhoods or bring their alcohol back to the same neighborhood.

The most likely result is (c). In fact, a study of a similar ban put into effect in Pioneer Square showed little improvement on the situation. Rather than cure any problems, it just hides the problem of homelessness and alcoholism in new neighborhoods. While liberals and democrats debate often about the best policy to reduce homelessness, I think both can agree that hiding the problem is not the right answer.

On a side note: A good argument about hippies for Orrin


Cato said...

Well said. But most of my liberal friends oppose the ban. I think the ban was pushed by older authoritarian/liberal nanny-staters, while young more idealistic liberals aren't pleased. But in Seattle, you don't have to get all of the liberals on board to make something policy.

Orrin Johnson said...

Actually, what will happen is D) the liberals who think being homeless is the sole result of some kind of societal victimization will provide said drunks with alcohol, enabling them to continue placing their lives at risk.

The real solution is to enforce laws against vagrancy and public urination. It worked in NYC. Plus, it has the additional benefit of not threating my freedom or the freedom of downtown business owners to sell a totally legitimate product.

We coddle our vagrants and give them free alcohol in free hotel rooms. Our hippy residents with their mis-placed compassion hand out cash, allowing them to live without engaging in necessary services that more organized charity correctly requires. Then we wonder why we have a problem.

I don't know what's worse - liberals who try high handed paternalistic non-solutions that solve the wrong problem, or the hippies who think it's "discrimination" akin to Jim Crow to expect that "the homeless community" don't piss in the streets, scare off tourists, demand money (they no longer ask in Pioneer Square), make the County Courthouse less accessible, and damage the local economy.

God - how I do hate the hippies. They "solve" problems by making the problem worse, and then creating other ones besides. And then they pat themselves on the back for their compassion and "social awareness." How Mayor Nichols keeps his job is completely beyond any dimension of logic or comprehension.

Derek said...

Before you demonize "democrats in Seattle" with the smoking ban, you should realize that it was passed by statewide initiative. Moreover it was passed by a very healthy margin in every county in the state.

So it was passed by neither Democrats nor Seattlites. It was passed by the People of all Parties, throughout the state.

I do agree with your ultimate conclusions. Almost any legislation restricting private action is a problem in my book.


As part of the fight against homelessness NYC has formed a department tasked with working with the homeless to help them get off the streets. Somehow I'm guessing you'd disapprove of that.

So please explain how arresting the homeless gets the homeless homes? I don't disagree that the "stick" of arrest (or committment if they are mentally ill) is part of the solution, but it must be accompanied by a real chance to help those who are punished to change thier circumstances. It seems to me that very few sane people would ever CHOOSE to live on the streets. Therefore the majority of those that are sane and live on the street either, have no other option OR believe they have no other option.

bingisser said...

The reason I mention the Seattle Democrats at the start of the post is that they spearheaded the campaign for I-901. I realize it was passed by voters statewide (who are mostly democrats and in the Seattle area). Many members of the democrat, republican and green parties all do not like smoke. Likewise, many members of those parties disagree with the ban. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a republican, but I disagree with the ban. Likewise, I know many republicans that agree with the smoking ban. My point was just that the smoking ban, as with the new alcohol ban, were brainchilds of Democrats in the Seattle metro area.