The Newcomer

Wrinkles follow crinkles in my new year

It was only days into the new year when I started noticing crinkles cropping up. I discussed those irritating, crinkly issues on this opinion page earlier this week.

No sooner did I get those concerns off my chest than along came a new wrinkle to take the smooth out of my January.

Maybe it doesn't bother you that a handful of people can tell the business owners in our town how they can advertise and what they can't advertise on their own property. But it burns me.

The city council members who voted to control beer ads at several businesses where the ads can be seen from schools and churches should be ashamed of themselves. And so should city staff members, who gave them the statistics that, he said, show that exposure to alcohol advertisements can make young people more prone to try alcohol.

Are these school-going kids never going to bump into a beer, wine or whiskey sign anywhere else during their day? Are their parents going to stop serving that delectable Yakima Valley wine at their meals or stop pouring their end-of-the-day highball or stop cracking a brew?

The point is that it is not the responsibility of our city council to legislate the social behavior of the children in this town. The parents hold that responsibility, and we shouldn't be tearing it away from them.

When do we stop trying to protect kids from everything the world is going to throw at them? When will we leave parenting to the parents?

Of course, I could be absolutely all wrong about the effect of these beer ads on the youngsters. Maybe they will lead them to depravity.

But, hey . . . if those ads are that powerful, maybe we're onto something here.

Maybe those influential beer ads could be replaced with ads for prophylactics-suppose the exposure to ads for Trojans would reduce the number of unmarried, pregnant teens?

Or, gosh maybe those are the next in line for legislation.

A sign ordinance is all well and good, but to deliberately aim at specific buildings is unjust. In my opinion, this new sign ordinance that appears to attack banners, balloons and fluttering, ruffling attention-getters is going to take all the color out of our little community.

I don't blame all of the current council members for what I consider a fiasco. Three of them were not involved in the vote that handcuffed a few small business owners. I do appeal to all of them-especially the newcomers-to use more common sense in the future. And perhaps to even undo this ridiculous law.

Because, if they don't, the next ban may be against that heavy, grape-laden scented air that intoxicates us at summer's end when those wine grapes are coming off the vine. No telling what urges that will set off!


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