Friday, June 28, 2013

It's On

Oh, it is SO on:
It looks like Iowa City voters will once again decide the bar-entry age in town.

The City Clerk’s office said Thursday that a petition calling for the repeal of Iowa City’s so-called 21-only law, which bans people younger than 21 from being in most places with liquor licenses after 10 p.m., collected enough valid signatures.
Well thank you, Marian, as always for your own special yet legally questionable interpretation of who's qualified to vote.

There's a snowball's chance of the city council doing the right thing and overturning 21. The last 19 supporter, Regenia Bailey, left in 2011, and now the 21 ringleader from 2007, Rick Dobyns, is at the table. So after a few weeks of formalities this goes on the ballot with the full force of city government and the University on the 21 side.

All part of the University's Masterplan to get off the Party School list: get big brother Bluto arrested so he goes back to Aurora or Schaumburg and warns little brother Flounder not to go to Iowa City. Meanwhile, replace all the Flounders with international students who go nowhere but the library and the dorm.

This one looks shakier for the 19 side. Unlike 2010, when 19 and 20 year olds had just gotten kicked out of the bars, the current crop of freshmen and sophs has known nothing but a 21 bar town. Young solidarity is severely lacking, as indicated by this DI endorsement of the 21 side. Anecdotally, the dynamic seems to be that the moment students turn 21, they flip on the issue. I got mine, keep the younger people out.

The 19 campaign team also seems a lot less organized than the 2007 and 2010 efforts. There's still time for George Wittgraf and Josh Erceg to turn that around, since any student oriented campaign can't really get started till after Moving Day on August 1, and you can't get to the younger dorm students till even later.

Wittgraf and Erceg have been "unavailable for comment" in too many articles, though Gregg Hennigan did reach Wittgraf for a perfect quote: “The students make up this town. This town wouldn’t be anything without them.”

Exactly what I've been saying. For the 21 side some of this issue isn't just "public health." Mayor Matt Hayek reportedly used the phrase "we're taking our city back" during the 2010 fight. That's right, Matt. No Amnesty. All setting up for another ugly, polarized fight.

But attn: George and Josh. Things like 1000+ voters at a dorm satellite site don't just happen by getting an issue on the ballot. And there also needs to be a strategy to reach out to the non-student community, which was completely lacking in 2007 and 2010. You won't WIN, sure, but you have to cut the losses. Maybe my 18 Year Olds Are Adults Nothing Else Matters message isn't the right one, but at least it's something as opposed to nothing. Talk to me, guys.

Anyone else getting the feeling this'll be an every three years fight for the next couple decades, kind of like Rocky sequels? That brings it up next in 2016, right in line with a presidential vote for total Barmageddon.

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