The City's Pulse Newsletter
Beware the Consequences!

Dear Newsletter Readers, 

I hope you are having fun in this wonderful sunny weather.  This is what makes the winter worth enduring!
Just so you don’t lose touch with what our fair City is doing during the summer, I thought you’d better be aware of a law they have just altered.  One of my alert readers sent this info—thank you--which I then confirmed on the City’s web site.  The changes to this law were approved by the City Council and signed by the Mayor on June 1st.
The law, quoted below, controls the use of alcoholic beverages within the city.  You can see from the first paragraph that it is illegal to have an OPEN container of alcohol on any public property.  Now read the second paragraph.  It states that it’s illegal to have ANY container, whether open or not, on public property.  Notice that they took out the term “public park” and substituted “public property”. 
You are not just restricted from having an open container of alcohol, but you can’t have an unopened container either.  And you’re not just banned from having the open or unopened alcohol in the parks, you can’t have them on any public property!  The sidewalks are public.  The streets are public.  The city owns the 10’ right of way in front of my house—could I be arrested for holding a beer, open or unopened, there too? 
This is not just silly conjecture.  About two years ago, a city police officer gave a ticket to a man who was enjoying a glass of wine in his own front yard one summer evening, and walked across the street to talk to his neighbor. A cop came by as he was crossing, asked him what was in his glass, and cited him for an open container on city property…the street.
Does this law mean that it’s illegal to buy a six pack of beer and carry it home on a city sidewalk?  Or walk through the park with an unopened bottle of wine in your bag of groceries?  How about driving your car from the liquor store to your house on a city street?
The potential problems are endless…our tax dollars at work!
Here’s the law they just amended:
ORDINANCE NO. 3382, Section 5.08.160
No person shall consume any beer, wine or other alcoholic beverage or possess an open container of or containing any beer, wine or other alcoholic beverage on any public property, including public streets and alleys, within the city, or at any other place in the city, including any motor vehicle moving or stationary…
Furthermore, no person shall possess any container, whether open or not, of or containing any beer, wine or other alcoholic beverage in any public park or other on public property…
Of course there are exceptions for restaurants and the usual places. If you want to read the whole thing, click on this link from the City’s web site and scroll down half a page:
There are two more quick but important bits of info I want to pass on to you:
1.    If you haven’t already read Mike Patrick’s Editorial in this morning’s Press, about NIC President Priscilla Bell’s raise in financial benefits during this time of overall austerity in the education sector, you should take the time to check it out.  I think it’s one of his best editorials ever!  Here’s the link:

2.    Is the Tea Party Movement having an impact?  You bet it is.  The fact that Tea Party members are being called all sorts of nasty names, which are completely untrue, and are being unwillingly tied to any and all controversial political figures in an attempt to “define” us as radical fringe elements, also untrue, is an indication that the power people running this nation are worried.
The Tea Party of North Idaho is made up of regular people.  I know because my husband and I are part of the organizing committee.  Tea Partiers are Americans:  We are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Independents.  We are people of all colors, religions and viewpoints, with some common goals---to take back the freedoms promised to us in the Constitution and to reduce the intrusion of government in our lives.  We believe in government accountability, fiscal restraint and, above all, the power of WE the people.
If you agree, if you are concerned with what you see happening in government, please join us as we walk in the CdA 4th of July Parade this weekend.  We will be meeting at Sherman & 19th street at 10:45 on Sunday morning, or you can just join in as we go through the parade route.  Come help us send a message to our government, at all levels, that the voice, and the votes, of WE the people will be heard!


Mary Souza is a 22 year resident of CdA, local small business owner and former P&Z Commissioner.   Her opinions are her own.  For a free archive of past columns visit  Comments can be sent to  Please visit the local issues web site for more discussion.

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