While heading home last Friday night I stopped next to Lake Superior Liquor (First Street and First Ave East) because of an increasing amount of disturbances, fights, drug dealing and drinking on the sidewalk. Three highly intoxicated and well known problem people who I have been hearing about at our COMPSTAT meetings were passing around a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor in a paper bag. I watched from a distance as their drunken and obnoxious behavior caused people to cross the street to the other sidewalk so they did not have to walk past them.
Now you can drink alcohol on your own property, but you can't drink it on a public sidewalk here unless there is a special event. What I saw in this instance is why this ordinance exists; our community expects better behavior and it hurts commerce.
I cited the three for drinking in public and sent them on their way. The drinking in public fine has not increased since the mid 90's and I'd like to see the fine amount raised on this violation. Higher fines and accountability to citations make a difference; we have seen it with other violations. Before I Ieft that block a nearby property owner stopped to thank me for doing something about the problem.