Letter: Ordinance will dissuade people from coming to the community

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In the Albert Lea Tribune on Wednesday, Nov. 29, there was an article about our City Council unanimously approving the first of two readings of an ordinance that will once again prohibit any type of alcohol or cannabis/THC beverage on city street, public and some private parking lots and city parks. This will once again turn ordinary law-abiding citizens into lawbreakers.

The ordinance states: “It is unlawful for a person to drink or consume, or have in possession any unsealed bottle or receptacle containing alcoholic or cannabis/THC beverages, distilled spirit of 3.2 percent malt liquor on any street or other public property or private parking lot to which the public has access …”

Though I was informed this ordinance will not affect events that already serve alcohol, what I have noticed throughout the years is that what is said an ordinance will or will not do, is sometimes different then what is then enforced. I do not see where any event is exempt. Also, the question of what bureaucrat arbitrarily decides which events will get the permission to serve alcohol did not get answered.

Email newsletter signup

This law does not affect me. My concern is for the people I see while walking around the lake. At Edgewater Park: the fisherman sitting on a dock at Edgewater; is that a pop or a beer sitting next to him? Those people playing softball, are they sipping on a beer between innings? The family that congregated in our town to have a picnic in our park — a few may be drinking an alcoholic beverage. And the company or club that decides to have a summer picnic, did anyone ask permission from the city to have alcohol at their event? These people coming into our town to enjoy our parks and downtown businesses can now be considered lawbreakers if they are caught with alcohol. I believe our police should have better things to do, than stalking our parks for the newly labeled lawbreakers.

A few years back, the city council voted to allow the consumption of alcohol by individual adults in our parks. Then eventually we saw alcohol being served at outside seating of restaurants and bars, and events such as the Rendezvous and Music in the Park. I never heard of any major disasters resulting from the former council’s decision. Why this council is deciding to turn a non-issue into a major reason to deprive its citizens of a right they have enjoyed for the past years, is a head scratcher.

If you are equally puzzled by the council’s decision, I suggest you contact your council person, and/or show up at the next council meeting Monday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. and ask for the answer.

Our City Council should focus on how to attract people to come and enjoy our parks and businesses, rather than find ways to dissuade them from coming.

Bob Donovan
Albert Lea