Friday, July 08, 2011

Shutdown Memes Part II -- Nothing We Can Do Except Suffer

Jana Shortal at KARE 11 reports that the evil shutdown is causing problems for charities:

ROBBINSDALE, MN -- Make no mistake, the showdown in St. Paul is wreaking havoc in every Minnesota city.

On Thursday night, the kick off for Robbinsdale's annual Whiz Bang Days got kicked in the pants.

The wine and beer tasting at Sacred Heart Catholic School that people come to by the hundreds was cancelled due to the state not being able to process the liquor license.
 So why would that be?

All licenses to sell alcohol, either for a fundraiser or a full blown bar have to be handed down by the Department of Public Safety's alcohol enforcement division and they aren't open.

"They are closed and that is one of the sad realities of the shutdown, some services we aren't going to be able to provide," DPS spokesman Doug Neville said.
And Shortal has the parade of victims lined up and ready to march:

And so even though the Sacred Heart school held up their end of the bargain and paid for the license it didn't get done.

The main fundraiser for the school was called off.

"It affects all the small people, our catholic school; it might affect scholarships coming to the school so that trickles down to the kids in the state of Minnesota," [Sacred Heart Prinicipal Karen] Bursey said.

The five thousand dollars raised at the wine tasting will not come in and the money already paid to hold the event is lost too.
Let's stipulate that everything in this report is true; there's no reason to suspect otherwise. But don't you have any other questions about this? I do:
  • Why is licensing for liquor a state matter in the first place? Is this not a function that could be handled at the county, or even municipal level? If the issue is one of uniformity, it would not be difficult to draft model language that could be used as a guideline at lower levels of government.
  • Would it not make more sense to have such functions handled at a lower level anyway? I would be willing to wager that the City of Robbinsdale would know if there were any adverse effects related to the staging of this event, i.e., police reports, property damage, etc. I also assume that Sacred Heart isn't serving Thunderbird or hard liquor at this event, so it should be an easy thing to process a license.
  • If this is an annual event of long standing, as it appears to be, why must Sacred Heart go through the hassle and expense of reapplying every year? Is there a compelling reason, other than job security for the bureaucrats at DPS who process the forms, to require a renewal of the license every year? Could you not design a limited liquor license that is date- and event-specific and that ran for, say, 5 years?
One key to understanding the shutdown is knowing that it's more about preserving the power and influence of the government than it is about the services government provides. It's not necessarily Jana Shortal's job to think through the larger implications of the stories she and her colleagues at KARE 11 choose to report, but we have an obligation to think critically about what "essential services" really are. More importantly, we have an obligation to think about whether it is essential that essential services are undertaken in St. Paul, and how the services are rendered.


Anonymous said...

It's been a week. Have the taxpayes saved 1/52 of the annual budget?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

This is right on the money and hopefully lots of people will be asking questions about their state government and its reach.

Bike Bubba said...

OK, when it was just general societal decay, roads crumbling, grandma starving, and the schools burning, that was one thing, but now it's getting down to booze! Torches and pitchforks at the governor's mansion tonight!

Anonymous said...

I'm still wondering when people are going to decide they don't need government "permission" to live their lives. This event should go on as planned and the h*!! with getting the license. And that includes the jack#$$ Dayton rode in on.

Gino said...

i've read that dayton has retained his personal chef.
so, i guess he only shutdown the parts of govt he wanted to.

Brad Carlson said...

Thanks for citing this story, Mark. I plan on referring to it on my show Saturday, with proper accreditation to you of course!

CousinDan 54915 said...

Mark, my son pointed out a bumper sticker to me the other day. It said "Confuse a liberal, use logic" I deem you guilty.

Mr. D said...


I'm glad you were able to use it. I'm listening to your broadcast now -- great job as usual.