We can all agree that the city’s response to last year’s St. Patrick’s Day was…well, let’s say wanting, because that’s the nicest way to phrase it. By the middle of that day, it was perfectly clear that the weather coupled with it being a Saturday coupled with it being St. Patrick’s Day meant that the parties that night were almost certainly going to be bonkers.
And bonkers they were, culminating with the release of the I’m Shmacked video. The predictable people freaked out, as they always do, because they somehow didn’t understand that Warmth + Weekend + St. Patrick’s Day=drinkdrinkdrinkdrinkdrink. We’ve all lived here forever; I’m not sure how reasonable it is to be shocked by what happened last year.
Needless to say, the City is actually making a substantive effort to avoid last year’s embarrassing debacle. The weather is going to help: it isn’t supposed to nice at all, with temperatures around 40 and the possibility of rain. But so will policy decisions. Ed Preston, the City’s Chief of Police, emailed me back to explain that permits for large parties were being rejected this weekend.
“Permits are still processed as normal, however, based upon the impacts of specific events, it is not in the best interest of public safety to recommend approval of them at this time. All permits are reviewed through the various departments of the city with specific recommendations and then are forwarded to the City Manager who will make the final decision as to approve or deny the permits. This is not a long term policy, but is specific at this point to this one weekend where known specific activities have occurred, and will be subject to review.”
There’s more from the Chief. He also told a story about a local fraternity coming in to ask for for permission to party; Preston said that they couldn’t keep a straight face when asked if the party would exclude those under 21, involve fewer than 500 people, or go past the city’s noise-ordinance limits.
This is the sort of perfectly reasonable policy-making that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of hard-partying, but simply minimizes it. As nearly as I can tell, no such planning occurred last year. Ideally this more aggressive solution functions better.