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Comal River

New Braunfels can ban is back

A blast from the past.

New Braunfels officials plan to resume enforcement of the “can ban” and limits on coolers on rivers on Wednesday even as opponents of the controversial municipal codes continue to pursue a legal challenge to them.

The development follows the Texas Supreme Court’s refusal this month to bar the city from enforcing the ordinances, which prohibit bringing disposable containers or coolers over 16 quarts in size onto the Guadalupe and Comal rivers inside city limits.

“Everyone is still invited to enjoy their favorite beverage on our rivers. We just ask that they do so responsibly and in consideration of the health and sustainability of these important community assets,” Mayor Barron Casteel said in announcing Friday that enforcement of the measures would resume this week.

The resumption of enforcement after a lull of more than three years was called premature Monday by attorney Jim Ewbank, who brought suit in 2012 on behalf of local river outfitters and tourism-related businesses who contend the codes are an overreach of municipal authority.

Despite rejecting plaintiffs’ request to issue an immediate stay on enforcement of the contested codes, he noted the Texas Supreme Court did request a full briefing by the parties, “which is a good sign for us.”

The city’s brief is due to be filed by late November, said Ewbank, who expects the high court to decide by January whether to hear the whole case.

[…]

State District Judge Don Burgess granted the plaintiffs a summary judgment in 2014, but that decision was overturned in May by the 3rd Court of Appeals. It held that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge a penal code, therefore Burgess lacked subject matter jurisdiction on the case.

See here for my last update. I apparently missed the appellate ruling. Be that as it may, the city expects to get the ball rolling this week, with an eye on putting the ban back in place next year, assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t set them back. Adjust your tubing plans for the future accordingly.

New Braunfels can ban is now officially canned

Pending appeal, of course.

A permanent injunction issued Friday bars the city from enforcing its controversial ban on disposable containers and cooler-size limits on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers inside the city limits.

“You can start drinking from cans and bottles on the rivers, effective immediately,” said Jim Ewbank, attorney for plaintiffs who had sued to overturn the city codes.

He declared “total victory” at the close of the hours-long hearing before visiting state District Judge Don Burgess.

Burgess had previously found the disposable container ban and cooler limits unconstitutional. On Friday he denied the city’s motion to suspend his injunction if the city appeals or to require the plaintiffs to post a bond of at least $2 million if he prevented the ordinances from being enforced.

The initial ruling was made in January. And speaking of appeals:

New Braunfels will appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down its disposable container prohibition and a limit on the size of coolers used by tubers on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers.

Also Monday, council voted 4-3 to increase a river management fee charged by local outfitters to $1.50 from $1.25 per tuber.

The fee increase may be cause for further legal action, but that to me seems more like your standard issue political fight, best settled at the ballot box. For this summer at least, you can pack your brewskis as you did before on the Comal River. Happy tubing, y’all.

New Braunfels can ban gets canned

Pack your coolers, y’all. The beer can flow again on the Comal River.

Opponents of New Braunfels’ prohibition of large coolers and disposable containers — loosely described as a “can ban” on rivers that can host tens of thousands of tourists on any busy summer weekend — say a judge has confirmed their lawsuit claims that the codes are unconstitutional and unenforceable.

“The effect of this ruling is the court should grant a permanent injunction barring the enforcement of these two ordinances,” Jim Ewbank, the lawyer for water recreation businesses that sued the city, said Monday.

State District Judge Don Burgess for weeks had weighed competing summary judgment motions. On Sunday, he granted the one filed by the plaintiffs, which argued that the city rules were unconstitutionally vague, arbitrary, unreasonable and an overreach of municipal authority.

“We hope that, now that the court has spoken, declaring these ordinances unconstitutional, that we can sit down with the city and try to work out a solution that addresses everybody’s goals and purposes,” Ewbank said.

The city’s attorney, Mick McKamie, said that once Burgess enters a judgment and the City Council is briefed on it, a decision will be made on whether to appeal. City staff declined comment.

The last update I had on this was from June, 2012, when the suit was moved back to Comal County. Voters had ratified the ban in 2011, but that’s out the window now. I get what New Braunfuls was trying to do, and having discussed the issue with a cousin of mine who has lived in New Braunfels for the last fifteen or twenty years, I can see why residents liked the ordinance. It’s possible that a scaled-down and more specific version of this ordinance can pass muster, and maybe won’t be too repellent to the tubing industry. I look forward to seeing what the judgment has to say.

Tubing along in New Braunfels

Time for another can ban update.

River tourists poured into waterways here Saturday, slathered in sunscreen and toting drinks in a variety of vessels, as the summer tubing season finally hit full stride.

“We didn’t have a (strong) spring because it was cold, and it flooded on Memorial Day weekend, so this is the first fair shot we’ve had,” said Matthew Hoyt, owner of Corner Tubes.

Despite a municipal prohibition on disposable containers, patronage was heavy on the Comal River as well as the Guadalupe River where it flows inside the city.

To comply with “the can ban,” Michael “Steezy” Stane had a pesticide sprayer loaded with vodka, cranberry juice and ice.

“I wish I could bring beer cans,” said Stane, 24, of Fort Worth.

The regulation enacted last year is being challenged in a lawsuit, but authorities say visitors are getting acclimated to carrying reusable containers.

“We’ve had very few incidents involving unauthorized containers,” Police Capt. John McDonald said. “We’ve had some really large crowds, but they’ve been very manageable.”

[…]

Lots of time was spent explaining the rules to callers at the Rockin’ R outfitters in Gruene, where tubers were lined up early Saturday.

Rockin R manager Shane Wolf said he was pleased at last week’s uptick in business, which included steady sales of reusable beverage containers for customers heading into the city.

“The rain on Memorial Day Saturday obviously hurt, as well high school graduations all the way into June,” said Wolf. He’s one of those fighting the can ban in court, but declined to discuss the case Saturday.

See here for the previous update. It’s a little early to make any judgments, but so far at least there’s no sign of radical change. According to the story, the lawsuit, which is back in Comal County after a brief sojourn to Travis, could go to trial by the end of the year. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

How’s that can ban going?

Depends who you ask.

The so-called can ban doesn’t prohibit alcohol, but that message hasn’t been sticking.

“People are calling saying, ‘You can’t drink in New Braunfels, so why am I coming?“’ said Shane Wolf, general manager of Rockin’ R River Outfitters, the city’s dominant tube rental company.

Beer and liquor are still allowed on the river if poured into reusable containers, and neon plastic Chug-a-Mugs that hold up to three beers are now ubiquitous. But while the New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau has yet to release figures, director Judy Young concedes that business has been slower since the ban.

[…]

Prevailing instead was a campaign that on its face was about curbing litter and environmental stewardship of the Guadalupe and Comal rivers. But motivating a not insignificant bloc of the city’s 58,000 residents was an appetite to clamp down on what many saw as an alcohol-fueled floating frat party with public nudity, sex, fights and loud music.

Finishing a can of Bud Light in a parking lot before heading into the water where it’s verboten, Dana Austin said that at 24, he doesn’t mind the rowdiness. But he said he supports the law’s environmental aims after years of watching tubers chuck cans into the river and along the banks.

“You’d see a frat boy floating up a little bit ahead of you, and they’d sort of do a free throw into the woods,” Austin said.

[…]

As far as trash and rowdiness go, can ban backers are already claiming victory. City data show that 1,800 pounds of litter was collected in and around the river in May — about 15 percent of the amount that had to be cleaned up in May last year.

Other unruly behavior also seems to be on the downturn. New Braunfels police Capt. Michael Penshorn said that on a recent June weekend, police patrolling the river issued 26 citations and arrested four people on charges ranging from minors in possession to public intoxication. On the same weekend last year, police wrote 42 citations and made 17 arrests.

The city has engaged in a marketing campaign aimed at clearing up the confusion about the new ordinance. I suspect that one way or another the tourists will come back, though I suppose it could take a few years. I’ve said before, I have some cousins in New Braunfels, and I know from speaking to them that they would be supporters of the can ban, for the reasons cited in the story. Folks in my neighborhood, who had seen Lights in the Heights grown out of control over the years before taking steps to dial it back last year, would sympathize. The effect on the businesses is unfortunate, but these things can happen when there are competing interests. It will sort itself out.

Can ban lawsuit moves back to Comal County

From last week:

Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins removed two state agencies from a lawsuit filed against New Braunfels by a coalition of businesses over the law banning disposable containers on the rivers — popular tubing routes.

Jenkins dismissed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas General Land Office from the suit. This kept the ban in place and transferred the case back to a district court in Comal County. The case was originally moved to Travis County because a state agency was named as a defendant.

“It’s a win for the city because the city wants the case heard in Comal County where it resides and its own citizens decide,” said Frank Onion, assistant New Braunfels city attorney. “It’s important to remember the ‘can ban’ ordinance was supported and reaffirmed by the voters in November.”

The lawsuit had been moved to Travis County in February, and as noted was easily upheld by the voters last November. We’re now officially in the high season for tubing, so one way or another we ought to get some idea of this law’s effects, both on the businesses and the amount of trash in the rivers. Check back in a few months and we’ll see how it went.

Can ban lawsuit moves to Travis County

Some new plaintiffs, too.

A group of river-related businesses has sued the City of New Braunfels, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Mark Vickery , executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, over a ban on disposable containers on rivers within New Braunfels city limits that went into effect this year.

The suit, filed [last] Monday in a Travis County District Court, seeks a permanent injunction against the ordinance, claiming it is unconstitutional and effectively bans alcohol on the river. An attempted alcohol prohibition on the rivers was tossed out in 2000, in part because of a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission letter saying the city didn’t have the authority to ban alcohol.

[…]

Patterson is among the parties in this latest suit because he is the effective trustee of state-owned public waterways, the suit said. It said Vickery is named because the so-called can ban “unlawfully seeks to regulate and control municipal solid waste management activities that are within TCEQ’s jurisdiction.”

The story says that a “nonsuit” was filed by plaintiffs on Wednesday, which I presume means that the earlier litigation is no longer active. I welcome feedback on that from the lawyers out there.

One can ban backer will face recall

The can ban battle in New Braunfels is not over yet.

New Braunfels city councilman Bryan Miranda, who supported a hotly debated container ban on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, will face a recall election in May after voters signed a petition seeking to oust him from office.

[…]

Miranda did not return phone messages Wednesday. He told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung newspaper, which first reported the news about the successful recall petition, that it was an attempt to circumvent the will of the people.

Supporters in New Braunfels approved the container ban in November with 58 percent of the vote.

“The efforts of a few individuals to divide our town and disrupt the democratic process is discouraging to say the least,” Miranda told the newspaper.

In the paperwork they turned in Tuesday, petition organizers accused Miranda of “incompetence and misconduct.” They needed 150 signatures and turned in 279. Of that total, city officials verified 215 signatures, said Danny Batts, deputy city secretary.

Batts said the recall election would be held May 12.

When the recall supporters failed to get enough signatures to take a crack out ousting NB Mayor Gail Pospisil, I thought that was the end of it for now, but clearly not. I have no idea why the deadlines were different for each of these; you have to be a subscriber to the Herald-Zeitung to see its contents online, so that’s no help. Anyway, one more election result to watch for in May.

No recall for New Braunfels Mayor

Looks like the can ban battle is over for now.

A petition for an election to recall New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil failed when organizers submitted an insufficient number of valid signatures.

City Secretary Patrick Aten said that of the 1,117 signatures submitted Friday, city staff could only verify 668, 67 signatures shy of the the 735 needed.

Many signatures were thrown out because required information, such as a voter ID number or the date, was missing, Aten said. About 35 signatures belong to people who don’t live in New Braunfels, he said.

The petition was spurred by Pospisil’s support for an ordinance banning disposable containers on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers within city limits.

That’s a pretty sloppy effort if forty percent of the signatures lacked enough basic information to verify their legitimacy. Not having the date? Either they didn’t train their volunteers well or they didn’t get their money’s worth from whoever they paid to collect the sigs. There’s still a lawsuit pending, but otherwise the opponents of the can ban ordinance will have to wait till the next regular election to vent whatever spleen they have left over this.

The can ban battle is getting ridiculous

Meanwhile, back in New Braunfels

The two sides in the Nov. 8 container ban election are talking trash.

Or, to be more precise, they are quibbling about amounts of trash.

Along the way, the normally tranquil political landscape in the city has seen the proliferation of political action committees, paperwork mistakes, stealth recall petitions, lawsuits, stolen campaign signs, Internet shenanigans, in-fighting, a criminal investigation, and a grassroots movement that’s taking aim at City Hall and its occupants.

See here, here, here, and here for some background. Who says politics in the big cities is more dysfunctional than in the small towns? I have a feeling that this issue will remain unresolved long after the vote is held.

Can Ban lawsuit filed

Opponents of the New Braunfels disposable container ban are already seeking to overturn the ordinance via referendum, and now some of them have also filed a lawsuit against it as well.

Tourist businesses filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday, asking a state district judge to overturn a controversial ban on disposable containers on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.

“These businesses love the river as much as anyone else,” said Jim Ewbank, their attorney. “But there are other, better ways to control litter.”

He described the law as “an ax murder” approach to the litter issue and said the city was “criminalizing sandwiches in baggies.”

[…]

Shane Wolf, who runs Rockin’ R River Rides, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, said that if the ban scares off 5 percent of the town’s tubers, local businesses could lose $20 million next year.

Meanwhile, an overlooked appellate decision last year has cleared the way for yet another lawsuit. This one, also filed by outfitters, challenges a 2007 ordinance banning large ice chests on the rivers.

That upper court ruling gave the river outfitters legal standing to pursue the lawsuit and sent it back to district court.

Ewbank said it would make sense to consolidate the two lawsuits.

Here’s more on that 2007 lawsuit, and here’s the Third Court of Appeals ruling on that 2007 lawsuit. It’s pretty legalistic, and I mostly skimmed it, but this paragraph captures the main points of interest:

In sum, the district court properly dismissed for lack of standing the Outfitter Plaintiffs’ claims challenging the Beer Bong Ordinance, the Five-Ounce Container Ordinance, the Parks Ordinance, and the portions of the Cooler & Container Ordinance other than the cooler-size limitation. However, we conclude that the Outfitter Plaintiffs did demonstrate their standing to prosecute their claims challenging the cooler-size limitation. Furthermore, it follows from this holding that the Outfitter Plaintiffs likewise have standing to prosecute their claims for a declaration that the Comal and Guadalupe are navigable streams whose waters and riverbeds are owned by the State and held in trust for the people of the State. The City dismisses this claim as a “red herring,” in the view that the question of the rivers’ navigability is a mere abstract question of law unrelated to the parties’ dispute concerning the ordinances. We disagree.

So there you have it. On a side note, the treasurer of the Can the Ban PAC has resigned over “differences of opinions with the PAC’s leadership, revolving mostly around recent discussions of a recall petition effort against sitting City Council members that are in favor of the ban”. New Braunfels has recalled a Council member in the past over river-related ordinances, so the news that there may be an effort to do so here is no surprise.

The can banners fight back

I’ve blogged before about New Braunfels’s new ordinance that bans disposable containers on the Comal River. Since then, those who oppose the ban have gotten organized and have succeeded in putting a referendum to repeal the ordinance on the November ballot. There are plenty of people who support the ban, however, and now they have gotten organized as well.

Support The Ban, a political action committee backed by civic leaders, officer holders and the local clergy, will go head-to-head in a public relations war with Can The Ban, a PAC formed by those opposed to the controversial ordinance. That group includes businesses involved in the city’s $418 million tourism industry.

[…]

The city, Support the Ban spokeswoman Kathleen Krueger said, picked up 700,000 gallons of trash this summer, and New Braunfels says another summer like this will put it $600,000 over budget.

Leaders of 35 religious congregations publicly support the ban.

“We’re meant to be stewards of this treasure,” said Scott Tjernagel, pastor of River City Vineyard Church.

Unlike the ban opponents, I couldn’t find a Facebook page for Support the Ban. Render whatever judgment you want about that after the election. I have a feeling that turnout won’t be a problem in New Braunfels this November.

Can Ban opponents get their vote

Impressive.

[New Braunfels] City Council, confronted Wednesday by a petition challenging a controversial new law, called for a Nov. 8 election to let voters decide whether disposable containers will be banned from local rivers.

The “Can the Ban” coalition gathered more than 4,300 signatures during a whirlwind, weeklong campaign after the City Council passed the law, which takes effect in 2012.

Election laws required that the petition contain the signatures of 1,666 registered New Braunfels voters, or 5 percent of the city’s total.

City Secretary Patrick Aten said he stopped counting after his staff verified 1,690 signatures.

See here, here, and here for some background. The NB City Council could have voted to rescind the law rather than put it up to a vote, but a motion to do that was not seconded. I think they’re just delaying the inevitable. Consider this:

There’s plenty of local support to repeal the ban [Shane Wolf, a river outfitter and one of the leaders of the anti-ordinance group] said.

[…]

“We had more signatures than the number of (people who) voted for the mayor or anyone else up there,” Wolf said.

He’s right. Only 1,727 voted for Mayor Gale Pospisil, the only at-large candidate on the City Council.

Whatever you think about the issue, you have to respect that. Their Facebook page has even more fans than that, though there’s no way to know how many of them are actually in New Braunfels. Be that as it may, I’d bet on the petitioners winning in November.

Petition drive to “can the ban”

The backlash against New Braunfels’ ban on disposable containers on the rivers has begun.

The New Braunfels “Can the Ban” petition drive, up and running days after the City Council banned disposable containers on the city’s rivers, slowed to a crawl Tuesday when it ran into state election laws and confusing government databases.

The citywide coalition, which has been collecting signatures for five days in an 11th hour effort to force a November referendum on the ban, could turn in only 600 names.

Backers reached out to angry residents in offices, at their homes, in bars, and at drive-by locations in shopping center parking lots. They had gathered more than 2,000 names by 5 p.m. Tuesday, the deadline for the first petitions.

But less than a third of those names could be verified as registered New Braunfels voters, said Mark McGonigal, owner of NB Media, the print shop serving as the movement’s hub.

[…]

State law gave the ban’s opponents a small window in which to operate. They’ll need the signatures of 5 percent of the town’s voters to make the ballot. The group says it has an ultimate goal of 2,500 names, which would provide a cushion in case some names are thrown out.

The law also allows organizers to accumulate more names in the next few weeks. McGonigal says they’ll turn in another 600 names early Wednesday.

Apparently, a lot of the people who have been eager to sign the petition are visitors, which is both not surprising and not helpful to the effort. This article from Tuesday has some more information about the organization.

Organized primarily via a Facebook page that drew support from 2,500 users in less than 36 hours, the group was in the middle of counting names late Monday.

Using slogans such as Can the Ban, Yes We Cans and Let Us Decide, the group is a wide-ranging coalition of people who own and work for merchants and tourist-based businesses, as well as others who say the council overstepped bounds with last week’s vote.

Organizers consulted an attorney and election officials and learned, late last week, that they need to turn some petitions in by late today to get on the November ballot.

They held petition drives at local stores and bars over the weekend. The law requires that the petition contain names of 5 percent of the town’s registered voters.

Here’s the Facebook page, and here’s the website of the petition movement. I don’t have a strong opinion about this either way, I’m just interested in seeing how this plays out. Given that there has been a successful recall effort against a New Braunfels City Council member who had previously spearheaded new river regulations, I would not bet against these guys.

New Braunfels bans disposable containers on the river

Despite some talk that they might wait awhile to take action, the New Braunfels City Council has voted to ban disposable food and beverage containers – think cans and bottles – on waterways within its city limits.

The law covers the Comal River and a small section of the Guadalupe River that passes through the city. It does not affect the lion’s share of the Guadalupe below Canyon Dam, which is outside the city limits.

The ban covers aluminum cans and plastic bottles. It also includes paper towels and disposable utensils.

[…]

Mayor Gale Pospisil directed the city’s staff to draft the ordinance two weeks ago after a long, hot summer. The drought has rendered stretches of the Guadalupe too dry for tubers to float. City officials say that as a result, crowds, citations, arrests and litter are at all-time highs on the Comal, a 2½-mile-long spring-fed river that winds through the center of town.

There was some loud opposition at the Council meeting, and some predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth elsewhere. I understand how people may be upset at this, but I liken this situation to Lights in the Heights in my own neighborhood. It’s gotten sufficiently big and rowdy that many of the people who actually live there and are directly affected by it don’t want to deal with it any more. I totally understand where they’re coming from on this.

Which is not to say that the action Council has taken will withstand challenge.

Sitting in the audience was James B. Ewbank II, an Austin attorney representing Tourist Associated Businesses of Comal County, an organization whose members sell disposable containers.

“If you pass this ordinance,” he said, “there will be a lawsuit.”

The city has passed several ordinances in recent years in efforts to modify rowdy behavior on the Comal, including a restriction on the size of ice chests and the imposition of a fee on tube rentals. Both of those laws are being challenged on appeal.

In addition, a 2000 attempt to ban alcohol on the river was disallowed by state law. That concept of superseding state law will be the basis of the new lawsuit, Ewbank said. A 1993 state law prohibits cities from banning disposable containers. It was intended, he said, to keep recycling and sanitary disposable laws consistent from town to town.

“You are about to pass an ordinance that is directly prohibited by the Texas Health and Safety Code,” he told the council.

“We would ask that you reconsider,” he said, “based on the legal consequences.”

Opponent Jay Patrick suggested that residents be allowed to vote on the ban in November.

“A vote of the people would legitimize this issue once and for all,” he said.

I’m not qualified to evaluate the threat of a lawsuit, but history suggests there could be something to it. I do know that previous Council actions against unruly tubers resulted in a successful recall effort against one of the main players. I will not be surprised if a similar effort is launched now. One way or another, this is far from over.

New Braunfels may delay new river regulations

Looks like the preliminary approval they gave to banning bottles and cans from the Comal River may be put off for awhile before implementation.

Grassroots opposition to a proposed prohibition on disposable containers on the Comal River has persuaded the law’s sponsor to consider delaying it while other methods of crowd and litter control can be considered.

A petition against the law has been circulating at river outfitters and convenience stores. And two Facebook pages that take the city to task have drawn thousands of fans.

Mayor Gale Pospisil, who pitched the ordinance, said Tuesday she wants to step back and discuss the issue.

When the council meets Monday, she’ll propose an amendment to delay implementation until January.

“We still want a vote and we still want the ban,” Pospisil said. “But I’ve heard from a lot of people in the tourism industry who say that to try to enforce it, without advance notice, would be difficult.”

She’ll also suggest creation of an ad hoc committee, consisting of tourism officials, river outfitters, city officials and other interested parties, to draft crowd management plans before next summer.

When in doubt, form a committee and study the issue. Opponents of the ban were happy with the delay, so perhaps something they can all live with will be found. In the meantime, you don’t have to look for alternate beverage transportation just yet.

UPDATE: The Statesman has a story about this today as well.

New Braunfels bans bottles and cans

On the river, that is.

City Council gave preliminary approval on Monday to a controversial rule prohibiting disposable containers — bottles and cans — from the ecologically sensitive Comal River.

The first reading of the proposal, amending an existing ordinance, passed by a 5-2 vote. Another ordinance, which would prohibit tubers from taking an extra inner tube on floats down the river, failed 4-3.

Residents who spoke against both proposals said the council was going too far.

“On a day when the Dow went down 630 points, you’re taking a shot at the economy of this community,” say Jay Patrick, who said the rules would create health problems because on days of 100-plus degrees, tubers wouldn’t be able to take enough water with them to stay hydrated for three hours. “Let’s call it what it is. It’s a backdoor alcohol ban.”

He said the city should be renamed “New Ban-fels”

[…]

The arguments came four years after the city’s last major attempt to control river behavior. State law prohibits glass and Styrofoam from rivers but doesn’t allow the city to ban alcohol. The city can control container size, however, and has limited the size of ice chests and banned large containers for beer and small containers for Jell-O shots.

It’s sort of a tradition of mine to follow all of this stuff in New Braunfels. What can I say, I find it all fascinating, and a great example of how some fun thing that started out as small and local can grow to the point where the folks who were there at the beginning don’t recognize it any more. (See all of the fuss related to Lights in the Heights for a much closer to home example.) Here’s what I’ve blogged about the bans on beer bongs and Jell-O shots; here’s what I’ve blogged on cooler size restrictions, which led to an ultimately successful recall effort against one of the architects of these ordinances, and a lawsuit in which I presume the city prevailed. Looking back at these old posts, I was pretty disdainful of what the NB City Council was doing at first, but I must say I have a lot more sympathy for them now. You can chalk that up to my advancing state of geezerhood if you want; I will freely admit that the behavior they’re trying to regulate has considerably less appeal for me now. I don’t know how you can control the growth of something that so many people want to be a part of in a way that keeps it fun for everyone. I wish them luck as they try.