I have been reading the bollard online magazine about the various liquer issues Portland is having along with the other various other newspapers(if the Press Herald can be called that). I have come to the conclusion Portland is and may have become lame or is already lame when it comes to boozing.
I have long been a purveyor of boozing. I have run the gamut. When I started boozing I was a kid drinking rock gut. I would unwisely drink way to much and get sick. When I grew tired of this I started experimenting with moderation. Eventually I started getting sick of rock gut spirits and started trying real drinks. I have gone to the vineyards, taken brewery tours, made beer and wine, tried a fair amount of scotch, and generally stopped being the village idoit when it comes to bar hopping. I have done all of this without becoming lame. Portland can to.
We have been as a city at the heart of the irrational reaction of society to excesses regarding booze. Just around the corner is Neil Dow's historic house where he historically invented a bad idea called prohibition. Criminalizing boozing did not work out so well but non-the-less it is in our history. We should always remember our history. I can't remember why but I get the feeling Portland has not been thinking in terms of history as of late.
We have had before us offered as a city by the Old Port task force some very bad ideas. These ideas have been desinged to aviod taxing Portlanders for drinking related shinnanegins in the Old Port and soon will be applied to the whole city. The spirit of all the ideas has been, if we make bad behaviors expensive we can afford to police those behaving badly. This will stop people from drinking excessivly then being idiots.
All of these ideas have come from a certain set in Portland. Some of them are young, some old, some powerful, some righteous. All of them have been managing to find in them some shitty ideas about how to control people. I have been in the bars for years in Portland. I have been to all the parties, even jumped out windows when I was in college when the police came. I have talked to our representitives and aside from Marshal and Donahue the majority of them are not involved with the Old Port enough to understand what is happening. I do not profess to know exactly what is happening but I know damn well the solution is not what is being suggested.
At the heart of the problem is not bar owners overserving but it is them who is being taxed. The number of seats in bars is not the problem either. There is not one problem though all the factions in carge of Portland's boozing scene say they have the facts and examples and solutions. One of the cheif sources for info on drinking in Portland(whose name I will not mention) is a new age prohibitionist. She gathers data thusly. She mines for data that supports her religious beliefe that drinking is wrong and any drinking is excessive. She is appointed by a foundation in Maine and it is completely against drinking of any kind. During Will Gorham's rule over boozing in Portland she got way to much attention and her opinions are off base as is her data.
With the new improved task force in Portland being headed up by Marshal I am hoping to see the dominant problem being scrutinized. The dominant problem as i see it has to do with concentrations and realtionships. The relationships I am talking about here are the ones between the police and people waiting for the cabs. The concentrations of course are of people getting out of the bars drunk. We need to change the nature of the relationshipt of cops with drunks and water down the concentration of drunks in cab stands and outside of bars.
The city already spends enough on policing. The fines for being a nucance should be increased to pay for the police presence. People who are wasted and causing trouble need to be caught and fined and this is the people who should pay for the old port policing. They are the ones to blame. We do not need to be paying our cops to do all these stings citywide that do nothing more than fine a few vendors. The stings should pay for themselves just like any additional policing that is highly specialized.