City council president tours Federal Hill bars, gets mooned
Around midnight Friday night, I was walking home from the bars in Federal Hill when two of my colleagues, Julie Scharper and Justin Fenton, popped out of a car next to me.
Fenton and Scharper were on a tour of the South Baltimore bar scene with City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young (pictured), who I also got to meet and shake hands with. That was a little awkward, but I made the best of it.
Young is proposing a bill which would jack up the fines for public urination, defecation, open containers and other drunken behaviors. Young, I'm sure, hoped the scene would give his measure some ammunition. It did ...
Fenton shot this awesome video of Federal Hill debauchery, in which one passerby (who was right by Young's car) dropped his pants and mooned the camera. Another grabbed his crouch and air humped. And there was the inevitable shot of someone slumped next to a building, snoozing.
The police officers are out en masse, arresting folks for this and that.
The outtakes from the night's adventures are just as wild, Fenton said. He taped an officer who had his knee on a suspect's head, while the suspect hollered "I'm gonna call Fred Bealefeld! I'm gonna call Fred Bealefeld." Bealefeld is, of course, the city's police commissioner.
Here are the bullet points of Young's proposal, according to Scharper's article:
- People drinking or holding open containers of alcohol in public could be fined as much as $500, 10 times as much as the current penalty. Those found guilty of "disorderly drinking" could be forced to pay as much as $1,000 under the proposal.
- Lighting up indoors, which was outlawed in 2008, could cost the smoker as much as $500 and the bar owner as much as $750.
- Adults found urinating or defecating in public places could be fined as much as $1,000 — twice as much as the current fine.
That's a whole lotta money for holding an open container. Of course, the city is strapped for cash, and wants to make more money wherever possible. Will the measure pass? I think so. How many people are going to stand up and vocally oppose a higher fine for public defecation?
On the other hand, there are a ton of respectable adults who walk their dogs with beers in hand, causing no harm to anybody. Same goes for the old folks who love to sit out on their steps and drink a cold one after work. It's the drunken 20-somethings like the ones in the video that give it a bad name.I'd love to take a video camera down to Federal Hill every Friday night for a month and tape the shenanigans for Midnight Sun. Unfortunately, since The Sun is a family newspaper, most of it wouldn't be allowed on the site.
Maybe when it snows next winter, I'll camp out with the camera and get footage of drunk people slipping on the ice. Snicker snicker.
(Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)