Should we end St. Patty’s Day parade?
First round of dates proposed
In light of all the mayhem that ensued during this year’s Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day parade, Public Safety Director Bill Bergin has suggested some changes to the city council that may be heard at next week’s City Council meeting on April 1st.
Bergin is proposing to hold to annual parade after the 17th – Monday, March 22nd or 29th, Tuesday, March 24th or 30th, or Wednesday, March 24th or 31st – with a 5pm start time. He also suggested doubling the penalty for house party violations from $1,000 to $2,000.
His rationale for these dates was more sunlight since daylight savings time would be in effect.
SEE PREVIOUS UPDATES AFTER THE JUMP…
Can we live without the St. Patrick’s Day Parade?
The Hoboken St. Patty’s Day parade has two positive things going for it: Tradition and money (for certain individuals).
However, the widespread drunken madness and unruly social behavior that happens as a result of hard-core alcohol consumption has some people thinking “the party is over.”
What is the financial argument?
Hoboken resident Brian Wagner compiled a list of concerns, and sent them to each and every Hoboken City Council Member:
“Aside from fines for disorderly conduct (upwards of $1,000 if enforced) does the city of Hoboken earn any revenue from all the thousands of loud drinking folks that swarm on Hoboken for St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration partying?
- Do the bars collect and pay a tax based on liquor sales to the city? If so who monitors the thousands of bottles of beer or mugs being filled? Or is St Pats Day in Hoboken a drain on the already weary frustrated taxpayers? Seems that there is quiet an amount of expense associated with the annual event: cost for extra police, additional sanitation, fire, not to speak of the major inconveniences of having Washington Street taken over by drunks all day.
- Yes, by all means liquor stores, bars, pizza & fast food retailers and the parking lots will rake in the $s. However, I think I’m not wrong in saying that many locals stay away from Washington Street once the parade wraps up and if that is the case then Washington Street ‘s non-liquor businesses lose out to the few businesses that support and encourage the unjust crazy partying.
- Do our non-liquor retailers who do collect sales tax lose business on this day?
- Does the city reap the benefits of dollars being spent in parking meters and our municipal garages? [thinking that most of the out of towners swarmed on us via mass transit; at least I’d like to think so for safety sake.
If someone can support a financial argument gain for the city that net out on the revenue side of the balance sheet then great. However, I question the value to our city. Perhaps this is something that should be carefully thought about come 2010 if our city’s finances are still in the toilet.”
City officials speak; over $200k in fines issued
Thousands of us discussed the St. Patrick’s Day parade live much of the day here on Hoboken411 – as we overheard TV’s getting tossed out of window, humans urinating on each other, and neighbors fighting. Along with the injured revelers, noise complaints and many other infractions that kept our police force busy all day.
Hoboken Public Safety Director Bill Bergin said “It’s gotten out of hand” and wants to stop the out-of-control event before someone gets killed, saying “there’s no way to make up for that with fines.”
Meanwhile, At-Large Councilwoman Terry LaBruno was quoted as saying that she’s “split” on the issue, and feels a “dialogue” needs to take place since some people actually enjoy the parade, while others feel otherwise.
2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason agrees something needs to be done, and one suggestion was holding the event on a weekday to cut down on the excessive drinking.
A total of 376 summonses (“coupons” as police called them) were issued, with over 250 for alcohol in public violations, and over 50 for public urination amongst the top ones handed out. Only two DUI arrests were made. Less than 95 police officers were on duty at any given point during the day.
Your turn: What are the solutions?
OK, enough with complaining. The parade is done.
If you were in charge and can either make changes or eliminate it altogether – what would you do?
Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
Suggestion #1: Cease the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade for good.
Benefits: No more days like this. Residents happier. Possibly saving lives. Overall a more civil community.
Problems: Upsetting those that enjoy the tradition, businesses that profit, and the revenue stream from police.
Suggestion #2: Move it to a weekday afternoon
Benefits: Considerably less crowded, fewer house parties, traditionalists still get to see their parade, doesn’t promote binge drinking.
Problems: Bar owners make less, fewer police summonses.
Suggestion #3: Have it on the real St. Patty’s Day
Benefits: None really, except that the “Irish drinking day” only happens once a year, instead of twice.
Problems: All the same problems.
Suggestion #4: No Parade, but ask if Hoboken can participate in the NYC parade.
Benefits: No large crowds in Hoboken, parade lovers can go to NYC.
Problems: Less business revenue and police summonses.
Suggestion #5: Have the parade, but “deputize” 1,000 volunteer community police members (we obviously didn’t have enough).
Benefits: Still have the parade, keep people under control, everyone is happy.
Problems: Where do you get these unpaid volunteers? How would you manage that? What about insurance and liabilities?
Suggestion #6: Outlaw house parties on that weekend
Benefits: Less people, less civil unrest, less headaches.
Problems: How could you ever enforce that?
I could go on… Such as increasing the fines JUST FOR THAT WEEKEND to 5x or 10x the normal number – an unconscionable amount. If that is properly communicated, it might help. Outside of canceling the parade entirely – it seems like we may once again get stuck in endless loop of “public discussion and debate” and nothing effective will get done.
“Pull the plug” seems like the simplest, safest way to end the insanity. Put a 5 year moratorium on the parade until an effective plan is put into place.