Editorial: Picnic Day

The city of Davis needs to chill out.

Last month, city officials decided to encourage a more family friendly Picnic Day, with stricter punishments from Student Judicial Affairs (SJA) and higher fines downtown.

Local businesses, too, appear to have sticks up their metaphorical rear-ends. The Davis Downtown Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce are nearly bullying establishments to restrict traditions, like $1 beers before sunrise.

Their cited concerns of safety and harmony are respectable. However, the city’s goal of Picnic Day reform seems to be based on little more than unfounded assumptions about alcohol consumption and arrests.

When speaking for the Chamber, Christi Skibbins said that the majority of problems were caused by over-consumption of alcohol. Though this may seem obvious from the holiday’s spirituous reputation, there have been very few real cases used to defend the notion.

Similarly, one of the changes suggested is that bars refrain from selling alcohol before 11 a.m. While no businesses would be forced to follow this, the suggestion itself implies that morning alcohol ingestion is directly responsible for rowdiness and other issues related to the holiday.

Furthermore, it suggests that by limiting drinking hours, the problem would be solved; a beer is a beer, regardless of when it is enjoy.

Reformers cite the 37 arrests from last-year’s Picnic Day – nearly double that of year’s past – as if they are at all revealing. The nature of these arrests, or whether other factors like increased patrol might have led to higher numbers, is rarely mentioned.

The issue with this approach is that it’s not in good faith. The council and businesses have assumed delinquency upon Picnic Day participants without providing evidence of a correlation between drinking and arrests.

So rather than encouraging a witch-hunt, local decision makers should look into the real cause of Picnic Day craziness. Chances are, it’s not single-handedly caused by having mimosas with breakfast.

One Comment

  • Gaylord Gunnery
    January 13, 2011

    I’d like to refer the editorial board of The California Aggie at UC Davis to the following website: http://www.aa.org/

    If you genuinely feel slighted for not getting your booze before 11am then you have serious dependency issues on alcohol and enjoying your ‘holiday’ with it. Methinks it’s the UC Davis over-imbibers who need to ‘chill out’. I’m sure the City Council members would be more than willing to be your AA sponsor(s).

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