Friday, June 29, 2007

You mean....other people urinate outside too?

Let's examine some logic.

Problem: People are urinating on our property.

Solution: Make all bars close at midnight.

This, of course, does not make sense. But is precisely what Ward 1 residents are saying as part of their opposition to 2 am licenses. How, you are now asking yourself, does closing a bar at midnight reduce public urination? The answer is of course the "Cinderella Effect", whereby the bodies of local thrill-seekers and socialites turn into pumpkins if they are home by midnight. And pumpkins, of course, do not produce bodily fluids.

Unless--geez this is hard to even imagine--people urinate in public for reasons other than coming from a bar. For example: on a golf course, on the side of the road, or in your backyard on a particularly nice day if you have privacy landscaping. Or maybe, just maybe, when they leave after drinking at a private party. Does this really happen? Let's ask Eric Hartley from Thursday's Capital:

(In reference to some mansion in Gambrills):

Neighbors said there are parties perhaps once a month, with some going until 2 or 3 a.m. Pam Schneider, who lives next door, said partygoers sometimes park on neighbors' property, and a few even relieve themselves on surrounding lawns.

Thank you Pam, for enlightening us on this new issue. We now understand that Annapolis can take action to prevent this problem from happening to us. To protect us, the city council should:

1. Mandate that all private parties end by some arbitrary time, let's say 8 p.m.
2. Parties with service bars, along with wine parties, can continue until 8:20.
3. Parties wishing to have outside activities, including but not limited to music, must provide 500 day advance written notice and agree to sacrifice 3 goats if the decibel level surpasses that of the NBC nightly news.
4. There shall be no 'all-you-can-drink' parties, except in Ward 5 because we are awesome.

Then, perhaps, people will understand that you solve Problem A with Solution A, not Indirect, Unrelated Mandate Q. If you really want this (or any) behavior to stop, you give people on the individual level an incentive not to partake in that behavior. If you told me that I would be fined $10,000 every time I urinated in public, and I knew that fine would always be enforced, I would never do it again because the getting caught is too risky. See? Command and control is not the way to get things done. Provide incentives and let people figure it out for themselves.