City shouldn’t prioritize ear plug ordinance

Frey’s proposal for free earplugs is commendable, but confusing.

Newly elected Ward 3 City Councilman Jacob Frey is proposing a new ordinance requiring Minneapolis concert venues to provide free earplugs.

While we appreciate Frey’s good intentions, this ordinance is more confusing and frivolous than it is crucial.

The Minnesota Daily reported last week that 3M is in talks with the city to provide the free earplugs, a public relations coup that has us wondering what kind of hand the company had in the proposal, if any.

Furthermore, many of the 185 bars and clubs that would be affected already sell earplugs for around a dollar. The ordinance could take away a small but important revenue source from venues that generally operate on very thin profit margins.

We endorsed Frey for City Council because we appreciated his commitment to sustainable development, more simplified city procedure and better outreach to recent college graduates. We realize these changes can’t happen overnight, though some of Frey’s other recent proposals — like beautifying surface parking lots downtown — start to chip away at them.

While hearing damage is certainly a public health issue, this is a small and slightly confusing fix. It’s a well-meaning distraction from more pressing city-wide needs.