Opinion » Street Talk

Don't go there


Jeff Hansen wants to take a leak wherever the hell he wants, and he doesn't want to have to break his bank to do it.

Actually, he's just speaking up for others who might want to take a leak wherever the hell they want. For all I know, he dutifully pees into porcelain each and every time. I've never asked him.

Either way, Jeff is the spokesman for Academic Sound, a group that formed to combat the SLO City Council's decision to raise fines for known student recreation activities like noisy partying and public urination.

The group calls the new fines unfair because they punish everyone, from the thousand-person keg-party people to "a couple of roommates watching TV."

Sorry guys, but I have to point out that unless those roommates have a habit of blasting their speakers and venturing out to their front lawn whenever their bladders get too full, I don't think they'll face the same sort of threat as will the people these new fines were intended to intimidate.

Jeff and his pals are also boycotting Mother's Tavern because, they say, the new fines will drive fearful students from their homes to party downtown. Bars can't get fined for being too noisy, right? They're supposed to be noisy. And unlike residential housing, bars come equipped with indoor bathroom facilities that eliminate the need to make like a dog on a fire hydrant.

Never mind that people walking home from the bars - or from bar to bar - will probably still stop to pee in the creek, Academic Sound says the whole fine increase is obviously a plot to get students out of their living rooms and into an environment where they can empty their wallets for the benefit of business owners.

Take Paul Brown, for instance. The man owns Mother's Tavern, which, according to Academic Sound's logic, means he stands to profit from new downtown partygoers trying to avoid oppressive fines.

Paul's also a member of the SLO City Council. He voted for the fine increase, which, also according to Academic Sound's logic, means he abused his power or conflicted his interest. Basically, their argument is that he approved harsher penalties for drinking at home so more people would drink at his tavern.

You know, none of this really bothers me. If these kids want to complain about Paul's money-motivated politicking, that's fine with me. I think it's a stupid argument, but it's fine with me.

What bothers me more is that while explaining his decision, Paul bragged that he was a student for six years and that he was a fraternity member and that he never got into trouble for being loud or pissing in public. He's certainly exercising those marketing muscles.

I've never been in trouble for being loud or pissing in public either, but that doesn't mean I never was loud or never pissed in public or even that I never loudly pissed in public. I just never "got into trouble" for it. I have a feeling that Paul's careful choice of words means he has watered a few lawns and gutters of his own. He just never "got into trouble" for it.

I also don't believe that in six years - some as a frat boy - Paul never went to one party that might have been a little too loud. Despite what city leadership has been saying, making a lot of noise is a key part of being a student. You certainly don't get to do it later in life.

Paul should know that. In fact, he does know that, or he wouldn't operate a tavern that brings in live bands and DJs and karaoke to make a ruckus. He wouldn't run a business that offers alcohol in a college town. No matter what he says, he wouldn't be making money if he didn't believe that making a lot of noise isn't a key part of being a student.

In that case, now that I think about it, it's just a matter of where these students are making all that noise. When you consider that the city just made it potentially pretty expensive to let off a little youthful exuberance and steam at home, you shouldn't be surprised that some people are accusing Paul of playing politics into his own pocket.

By the way: To counter Academic Sound's boycott, Paul put together a T-shirt that sarcastically lists the top 10 reasons to boycott his establishment, with all proceeds from T-shirt sales going to help the homeless at the Prado Day Center. Funny, but I've always thought of the homeless as the other local group known for occasionally being loud in public and using the world as a urinal.


Crappy job listings

Are you as sick as I am of the sewage in Los Osos? CSD Manager Bruce Buel must be. His CSD is hiring a PIO. We all know what the CSD is - a public information officer whose job it will be to act as a liaison between the board and folks like you and me. In other words, a good bullshitter. After all, why should poor Bruce put up with all the crap? Hire someone else to fend off a vehement citizen and a virulent press.

Want a job? It pays $36 an hour. You won't be bored. Or lonely. But better apply soon, Pandora Nash-Karner probably has the job already.

Weep not if she has. The CSD is also hunting for a wastewater system manager. Honey, I'm home! ³

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