A containment policy - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

A containment policy

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Posted: Monday, August 2, 2004 8:33 pm | Updated: 5:32 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Those who lament the lack of night life in downtown Mesa can take comfort in at least one upside: The streets don’t stink with pee.

The same cannot be said of downtown Scottsdale, the hip place to be for the club-hopping in-crowd. Alas, the club-hopping in-crowd has bladders that are not biologically different from those of the gutter-dwelling out-crowd, with the same putrid results.

Scottsdale police issued 537 citations last year for public urination, an offense that really shouldn’t be snickered at. Fines start at $113 and can rise with aggravating circumstances.

As might be expected, Scottsdale police told Tribune reporter Toni Laxson they can catch only a minority of the offenders, whose overdrinking has left them in a double bind: They have to go potty and their brains are too fried to use good judgment in determining where it’s OK to do that. Some even do it in the road, and women squat in groups.

The result for downtown merchants is not funny. It’s not merely the urine that has to be washed off sidewalks, buildings and cars after every night of revelry.

The drunks also leave other repugnant refuse, and that tends to have a repellent effect on folks who are up and about in the daytime for business, shopping and the arts. In other words, there probably are negative economic consequences to Scottsdale’s lively nocturnal scene.

You probably could put a policeman in every alley and behind every Dumpster and still not solve the problem, which stems from a deep lack of personal dignity and rectitude on the part of those who put their own carousing ahead of the rights of others. All that can be done, perhaps, is to offer a public scolding in hopes a few of the sots might see the error of their ways — and to haul the ones who are caught into court for a session that combines public embarrassment with costly criminal sanctions.

Really, they are little better than animals. A dog, turned loose in the backyard, probably will find a corner as far from the house as possible in which to do his business. A cat has the good sense to bury her own waste. Not so the cool and trendy in-crowd, whose smart clothes and hip demeanor can’t hide the fact that, deep down inside, they’re bums.

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