Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

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Bad Gradger
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Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed May 06, 2009 9:15 am

When I first read about Ald. Schumacher's proposed ordinance to ban beer sales in units smaller than a six-pack, I was worried that it would mean no more Pranqster at Trader Joe's, and that I'd have to drive to Middleton to pick up Dan Carey's latest zany creation. Turns out the ordinance exempts microbrews, which it defines rather generously as less than half a million barrels per year, and imports. If it means that Woodman's can't stock Michelob in the pick-a-six cooler, so be it. (But where will the kids go to stock up for a game of Edward Fortyhands?)

Schumacher is taking on a lot of these high-profile citywide issues, and well. His consulting business gives him the flexibility to serve on an assload of committees. Where's he going?

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 06, 2009 9:46 am

Acknowledging that alcohol abuse is a big problem in this state and elsewhere, let's once again consider for a moment the inherent lunacy of this ordinance.

You can't get just one beer anymore. You need to buy six beers.

So if you don't have a lot of money (an increasing percentage of our population each week) or you don't have a good place to store beer in bulk, forget about enjoying one of the two products of which this state is so proud.

The ordinance, I imagine, seeks to curb public drunkenness among the derelict class that hangs out in downtown parks, right? Is there not an ordinance against being disorderly in a public place? Harassing passers-by? Creating a nuisance? How is this going to be more effective than those laws?

Adults are allowed to buy and drink booze, even poor adults who don't have a permanent address. They're not allowed to be criminal jerks, but this is a perfect example of a law that targets the kind of behavior we ought to be leaving alone right now (commerce), when maybe more energy ought to be spent on dealing with the bad actors and their bad acts instead.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby boston_jeff » Wed May 06, 2009 9:58 am

Singles and 40s bad. Jugs of Ripple good.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Dulouz » Wed May 06, 2009 10:36 am

Trader Joe's, Cap Center Foods and other grocery stores are exempt because the City cannot put conditions on a Class A license, only the state can do that. This would only effect Combination B Licenses (liquor and beer) which includes taverns, restaurants, liquor stores and convenience stores.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed May 06, 2009 11:57 am

jjoyce wrote:The ordinance, I imagine, seeks to curb public drunkenness among the derelict class that hangs out in downtown parks, right? Is there not an ordinance against being disorderly in a public place? Harassing passers-by? Creating a nuisance? How is this going to be more effective than those laws?

Adults are allowed to buy and drink booze, even poor adults who don't have a permanent address. They're not allowed to be criminal jerks, but this is a perfect example of a law that targets the kind of behavior we ought to be leaving alone right now (commerce), when maybe more energy ought to be spent on dealing with the bad actors and their bad acts instead.

It's easier for the Council to go after the booze they drink than to acknowledge what everyone knows: the downtown transient/homeless population has a far higher share of black men today than it did 5 or 10 years ago. Frankly I wonder if there has actually been any behavioral change, or if it's just public fear of "scary" black dudes.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby butters » Wed May 06, 2009 12:17 pm

OK. It is time for the Council to consider an ordinance that bars the passage of any more ordinances. A period of one year or two can be debated. Obviously, they ran out of things to legislate and are just coming up with stupid shit because they have nothing else to do.

In the meantime, they can open their own liquor stores, bars, and restaurants. They seem to know a lot about pricing, personnel, entertainment, decor, serving sizes, and other customer wants.
Last edited by butters on Wed May 06, 2009 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby supaunknown » Wed May 06, 2009 12:24 pm

Schumacher's proposed ordinance is a complete waste of time & effort. "Busy work". It's classist bullshit.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Walter » Wed May 06, 2009 7:22 pm

jjoyce wrote:
So if you don't have a lot of money (an increasing percentage of our population each week) or you don't have a good place to store beer in bulk, forget about enjoying one of the two products of which this state is so proud....

The ordinance, I imagine, seeks to curb public drunkenness among the derelict class that hangs out in downtown parks, right?

...Adults are allowed to buy and drink booze, even poor adults who don't have a permanent address. They're not allowed to be criminal jerks, but this is a perfect example of a law that targets the kind of behavior we ought to be leaving alone right now (commerce), when maybe more energy ought to be spent on dealing with the bad actors and their bad acts instead.


This ordinance is geared toward those big cans and bottles of product which is marketed to the poor and/or the street drunk. The whole purpose is not the enjoyment of a fine, well-crafted brew but to get F'd up, quick. Is this state proud of products like Red Dog, Olde English 800, and Steel Reserve?

You do imagine correctly, in part, that it seeks to curb public drunkeness downtown. But it also wants to evenly apply it to the whole city as to cover the "challenged neighborhoods". That's Madison-speak for the poor ones on the South, West, East, and North sides of town. They have the same problems with people geting hammered in public as the downtown area but it's not as widely visible.

Poor adults are allowed to buy alcohol. NPAs can't drink on the street or in certain parks. The law targets a significant source of the behavior, drinking, because police can't be in every park all the time. Besides, these (mostly) guys don't sit out and quaff a refreshing frosty brew where we can see them if they can help it. They hunker down in the bushes or in the shelter bathrooms, or an alleyway and pound down as much as they can and then roll out to be colorful characters. Limiting the ability of known habitual drunks to access their cheap alcohol, including little bottles of McCormick Vodka, will cut down on their disorderly behavior.

Bad Gradger wrote:It's easier for the Council to go after the booze they drink than to acknowledge what everyone knows: the downtown transient/homeless population has a far higher share of black men today than it did 5 or 10 years ago. Frankly I wonder if there has actually been any behavioral change, or if it's just public fear of "scary" black dudes.


I don't know how everyone knows there is a higher share of black men in the homeless/transient population downtown. I've worked down there for the majority of the last 11 years and it "looks" about the same to me.

There has been some behaviorial change but with more regular taxpayers moving into the central area of the city, the street drunks and panhandlers have become more visible to those people who are apt to make complaints to the city. Would you want to have to step over a passed out urban camper in front of your steps in the morning? Or clean up the cans and vodka bottles in front of your building?

We used to have some street drunks that were colorful characters several years ago but they have moved on or died. We now have more than a few NPAs who drink but their chemical diversion of choice is cocaine base AKA crack as well as a few heroin devotees too. Those drugs lead to theft while alcohol lends itself to bumming for change.

The problems caused by the alcoholics take up far more time of the police than the those created by the other addicts.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby GODDOG » Wed May 06, 2009 7:34 pm

Walter wrote:those big cans and bottles of product which is marketed to the poor and/or the street drunk.

How exactly do they market to the homeless who have no television or $ to buy papers or mags stocked with ads? I haven't seen any commercials that have a nice jingle saying " This shit taste so good you'll shit your pants and live on the street!" or "Drink this booze and be a true street bum winner" or better yet "goes down smooth, like a crack whore". I agree public drunkenness is a sad way for you Coppers to spend your time, since we still have unsolved murders to deal with but those that choose to live on the street and get fucked up are not going to curb their behavior because some alder passed an ordinance. This is just grandstanding bullshit. Want to stop street people? rip up the streets. An improbable answer to an unstoppable problem. But good on you for trying W.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Walter » Wed May 06, 2009 8:09 pm

Don't view the word "marketed" so narrowly to think that those companies have bus ads with Otis Campbell holding up a can saying "Get Ripped To The Tits With High Gravity!! Cheap, Strong, Now!!".

By marketing, I meant selling cheap low quality alcohol products predominantly in poor neighborhoods or in stores where there is a street alcoholic population.

There are no ads so blatantly obvious. Maybe there should be and there would be honest talk about stores knowingly and repeatedly selling a product to a segment of society which is addicted to it and keeping them in the gutter. That's what is fucking classist.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed May 06, 2009 9:25 pm

Walter wrote:I don't know how everyone knows there is a higher share of black men in the homeless/transient population downtown. I've worked down there for the majority of the last 11 years and it "looks" about the same to me.

Even if it's more perception than reality - and the perception is definitely there - I think people would react differently if the crowd in Peace Park and jingling for coins by BW3 was uniformly white.
GODDOG wrote: How exactly do they market to the homeless who have no television or $ to buy papers or mags stocked with ads? I haven't seen any commercials that have a nice jingle saying " This shit taste so good you'll shit your pants and live on the street!" or "Drink this booze and be a true street bum winner" or better yet "goes down smooth, like a crack whore".

You reminded me of one of the many reasons I'm sad Phil Hartman is dead. It encapsulates perfectly Walter's criticism of the malt liquor producers.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed May 06, 2009 9:39 pm

Walter wrote:I don't know how everyone knows there is a higher share of black men in the homeless/transient population downtown. I've worked down there for the majority of the last 11 years and it "looks" about the same to me.

Even if it's more perception than reality - and the perception is definitely there - I think people would react differently if the crowd in Peace Park and jingling for coins by BW3 was uniformly white.

Still, although the ban on c-store 40s ain't great policy it's great politics for Schumacher.
GODDOG wrote: How exactly do they market to the homeless who have no television or $ to buy papers or mags stocked with ads? I haven't seen any commercials that have a nice jingle saying " This shit taste so good you'll shit your pants and live on the street!" or "Drink this booze and be a true street bum winner" or better yet "goes down smooth, like a crack whore".

You reminded me of one of the many reasons I'm sad Phil Hartman is dead. It encapsulates perfectly Walter's criticism of the malt liquor producers.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby GODDOG » Thu May 07, 2009 8:56 am

Walter wrote:
By marketing, I meant selling cheap low quality alcohol products predominantly in poor neighborhoods or in stores where there is a street alcoholic population.

Umm...we live in America still right? It is the store owners responsibility to know if a man/women have legal residency or know what their addictions are?

Walter wrote: There are no ads so blatantly obvious. Maybe there should be and there would be honest talk about stores knowingly and repeatedly selling a product to a segment of society which is addicted to it and keeping them in the gutter. That's what is fucking classist.

To this point...I once worked downtown at a store that sold tire gauges. I knew what the customers used said gauges for, crack. Now how should I have handled these people. Tell them, "No, I can't sell this to you because I think you might use it to smoke crack!". Would you be willing to pay the law suit or deal with the call of racism? It's not classist, it's capitalism. A grown man or women with cash comes into my store and wants to purchase a product that does also have uses other than the one intended it's me being classist if I sell it to them? That is a stretch. I always felt dirty and morally wrong in doing so but what can a clerk making just over minimum wage do? Put their neck out there and declare they know what is inside a customers head or heart. The only time I said no to the crackheads is when they were so blatant about their intentions, kinda like Freedom or Knuckleheads who won't sell a pipe once someone mentions marijuana. My point is that we live in a free society and people are free to slowly kill themselves as they choose and to call the stores classist or responsible for the problem is pulling the cart before the horse W.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby wallrock » Thu May 07, 2009 9:47 am

GODDOG wrote:
Walter wrote:
A grown man or women with cash comes into my store and wants to purchase a product that does also have uses other than the one intended it's me being classist if I sell it to them?

What exactly are the other uses for cheap low-grade booze, other than maybe cleaning engine parts? The store is making the decision to offer the product in the first place. Tire gauges are one thing, but little bottles and 40's are focused on a specific segment of the market. Yeah, there's always college kids playing Edward 40-hands and so on, but that isn't the reason those products are there.

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Re: Ald. Schumacher and his sub-sixer beer ban

Postby eriedasch » Thu May 07, 2009 11:20 am

wallrock wrote:What exactly are the other uses for cheap low-grade booze, other than maybe cleaning engine parts?

You may think that and right now where I am in life I would probably agree. But there was a time for me way back when I did buy 40's of malt liquor because they were a cheap drunk and I did not make much. There are likely many other non-homeless (for the most part) law abiding people who buy 40's and tiny liquor bottles because that is all they can afford.

And maybe I'm not hitting the classiest liquor stores, but I cannot think of too many that do not sell single 40's, single king cans, and miniature bottles of booze by the check out.

I get it. Homeless drunks are a problem. I agree the police should not be wasting their time with them. But the reality of it is when all the funds have been cut for people with mental disorders and they've been ignored by society they become the police's problem and wind up in and out of jail. When all the good jobs are taken and the choice is busting your butt for minimum wage or living on the street many choose to be lazy and drink. Costing taxpayers money either way. Ok, I'm getting off track here...

Bottom line is this stupid ordinance may make it a little more difficult for the bums to buy cheap booze but will do nothing to solve any problems and likely do more to hurt the business owners and majority of their non-homeless customers. But yes, it probably will make a whole lot of people feel good and give the impression the city IS DOING SOMETHING. And that is all that matters in politics anyway. Do something safe, non-controversial, who cares if you put a little more hurt on the most vulnerable and pass on the problem to the next guy or the next generation.


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