A regulation binge?

The Minneapolis City Council should leave happy hour alone and get back to real issues.

The Minneapolis City Council is looking into a ban on happy hour specials and other services facilitating high levels of alcohol consumption at bars and restaurants in order to curb binge drinking. Urged to action by a citizensâÄô health advisory board, the City Council has commissioned a task force to investigate their recommendations on the restriction of booze specials, the removal of drinking games and the ability to purchase multiple drinks at once. Criminalizing drink specials is commendable in its end: lowering the instances of binge drinking among party-hardy youth. But like a campus smoking ban, the end does not justify the means. In these tough economic times, we need to be as sympathetic to small businesses as possible. This means not prohibiting drink specials and drinking game opportunities from bars, especially when they would do little to curb dangerous drinking. In fact, a ban on such services would only shift binging into residential settings where drinking is unsupervised and business is lost. Mayor R.T. Rybak has stressed the fact that, as of yet, the notion has little support at City Hall. ItâÄôs too bad we are spending public money to investigate banning happy hour drink specials, when it has no support and when there are more important problems to solve. If the Minneapolis City Council wants to fix a real drinking problem, they ought to start with the chlorine, chloramines and ammonia in our municipal water. When it comes to the business practices of the restaurants, clubs and bars that students frequent in their free time, the city should not punish everyone for bad decisions some choose to make with alcohol.