Boise officials from the police chief to the Parks Board are on the right track when it comes to backing an ordinance aimed at allowing football fans to wash down their tailgate cuisine with their favorite beverage.
The GUARDIAN is concerned about “equal protection” under the law. The proposed ordinance would allow consumption of alcohol on football game days at designated times and locations. If the University seeks to make rules on the state property, no problem.
However when a law is created for a specific group of people–football fans–we worry about constitutional issues. If its OK to tailgate on football game days, what about basketball game days or bicycle race days? The prohibition against drinking within 300 feet of the river is mostly aimed at float tubers and transients, but it applies to EVERYONE and ALL THE TIME. The issue is problematic as it is an exception rather than a rule.
Thousands of folks used to float the river with a cooler full of beer with no problem, but the practice was banned. Now, they want to allow bare breasted men with faces painted orange and blue to consume beer in the same areas float tubers were banned from drinking! Go figure.
If the proposal becomes law, drinking alcohol will be legal in designated public places surrounding Bronco Stadium between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the days of BSU football games. Roughly defined, those areas include the eastern half of Julia Davis Park, and the city blocks between University Drive and Beacon Street, and Broadway Avenue and Joyce Street. A strip between Capitol Boulevard, University Drive and Cesar Chavez Lane (along the south bank of the Boise River) also would be included.
The proposal under consideration by the city council has a logical intent–to cut down on the number of arrests for “open container” violations. It leaves coppers free to do more important duties and also reduces the number of Bronco fans who have a criminal record.
Like “official rules” established for parks, it may be better to simply pass an enabling ordinance which allows consumption in “established zones designated by the city for specific events.” That way, just like a parade permit, the city can establish the booze boundaries and instruct the coppers when to enforce the rules. It would also be much more flexible, enabling the sale of beer at a future baseball park on the off chance voters approve one in Boise.
Violation would be an infraction rather than a misdemeanor and the infraction would be for disobeying a park rule rather than a booze law.
A reader comment cites Idaho Code 67-1613 aimed at the OCCUPY movement that applies to all state property which says in part:
…For the purposes of this section, the term “camp” or “camping” means to use as a temporary or permanent place of dwelling, lodging or living accommodation, and which indicia of camping may include, but are not limited to, storing personal belongings, using tents or other temporary structures for storing personal belongings or for sleeping, carrying on cooking activities, laying out bedding or making any fire. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an infraction…
Another “law of unintended consequences” aimed to prohibit demonstrations against the government, but not demonstrations in support of football. No fires or cooking on the old courthouse property, but OK for football stadium grounds. No temporary shelters or tents at Statehouse or Courthouse, but motorhomes and awnings are OK at stadium parking lots.
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