If you need evidence that our city government apparently has way too much time on its hands, consider its proposed crackdown on late-night food vendors. Just consider it. Just think about the fact that somebody somewhere decided that the biggest challenge facing our city in this current moment is that drunk kids are buying tacos and hot dogs after midnight.
It’s not a horrific traffic problem. It’s not undermined neighborhoods. It’s not a city’s whose tax-base is being decimated. It’s not insane over-development in the surrounding county. It’s late night tacos and hot dogs.
The people responsible for ginning up this not-at-all-a-controversy should be ashamed of themselves. Threatening the livelihoods of local entrepreneurs on trumped up charges of impeding downtown’s non-existent post-midnight traffic?
Perhaps it makes more sense to wonder what we’re really seeing here. Is this truly an issue of safety? Given the proposed solutions - which involve moving the disparate food vendors into a single, isolated location, a scenario puts more drunk people in close contact with one another as they await their opportunity to eat - the answer is almost certainly no. Spreading drunk people out reduces the likelihood for conflict; packing them into enclosed places increases it.
But again, if the issue isn’t safety, what is it? Is it that downtown eateries are mad that they have to compete for business? Is it that somebody somewhere complained for reasons that we’re just not privy to? Or is it that local officials too much time on their hands are looking for a way to give off the appearance of doing somethingabout something, whether or not those actions make any sort of sense?
Unfortunately, the food vendors are now bound to plead their case in front of our City Council, a collection of people who tend to respond negatively to things that our local student population might embrace. Given that this is the language currently being used by one of the vendors, it isn’t difficult to imagine a bad situation getting worse.