Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On the Happy Hour thing

As I've noted before, I'm a big fan of J.T. and the fellas at the Athens Banner-Herald's editorial board. However, this editorial is one of the most jumbled and confusing ones they've penned in quite a long time.

In order for the argument to work at the most basic level, not only would recent history have to be completely different, but also the very structure of the local government would have to be organized in a vastly different fashion.

It's logical to assume that eliminating hourly drink specials would have the effect of exerting some control on young people's alcohol consumption, by prompting them to buy fewer drinks. Although, in fairness to the commission's apparent shift away from this particular proposed change to the alcohol ordinance - as outlined in a Monday story in this newspaper headlined "Commission backs off happy hour ban" ...

This suggests the commission itself proposed these specific changes, which isn't the case. In fact, the commission hasn't backed away from anything. The Athens-Clarke County staff offered these specific changes without any instruction from the commission - as frequently happens in our system of government - meaning the commissioners were unaware of such far-reaching proposals (as noted at this blog last month by District 10 Commissioner Elton Dodson).

Also, I must disagree that the elimination of drink specials or Happy Hours would result in a decrease in student drinking. Again, this is a societal issue, and until we as a society teach young folks to approach alcohol consumption in a proper way, you're always going to have young folks drinking too much. Removing Happy Hours means they may (or may not) drink drink at a particular establishment, but it does mean they may opt to purchase an extra 12-pack of Natural Light and drink at their house.

What we need - and the commission has rightfully noted - is enforcement of existing laws and a crackdown on establishments which purposely violate the law.


Blogger Adrian said...

We need Jim Thompson to sit down with Blake Aued for at least an hour to get a lesson on how government works. The editorials on the M&C are usually pretty misinformed.

8:31 AM  
Blogger hillary said...

1. I don't think the editorial assumes that the commission proposed the changes. The only thing that does is the headline on the news piece that ran yesterday. Kinda.

2. I also don't think the editorial really says that bumping up drink prices would affect student consumption of alcohol. I actually pointed out the bit where Jim seems to back off this point after mentioning it.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

I don't think the editorial assumes that the commission proposed the changes. The only thing that does is the headline on the news piece that ran yesterday.

We're getting really nit-picky, but I didn't suggest that. I pointed out that the original column stated that the commission backed away from supporting the change and then noted that there was nothing for the commission to back away from since they never actually endorsed the changes.

The column, to me at least, appears to somewhat imply that the commission was involved in the drafting process. Perhaps this was inadvertent or perhaps I'm reading too much into this little passage, but I do think it's a tad unfair to keep saying that commissioners are 'backing off' from supporting this proposal when they never actually did so to begin with.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

And ... now now Adrian. J.T. is good people, and he's done this longer than you or I ever have. I don't necessarily think this is reflective of any inability to grasp how government works, but is more about a misreading of this particular process.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Nobody at the rag knows what they're talking about. Of course, neither does anyone on the mayor and commission, so I guess it's a perfect match.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

I base my opinion on previous editorials, but I admit I don't know who is actually writing them. Some of the editorials criticizing local government have been downright ignorant. I talked to Thompson on the phone once, and he was friendly and helpful, so I don't have any *personal* criticism other than how I would appreciate replies to my e-mails. (Of course, a lot of people would do better to reply to my e-mails, particularly those who don't attract as many messages as a news editor.)

1:29 AM  

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