- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The H Street commercial corridor in Northeast wants to ban the sale of single beers, a proposal that residents say would curb the need of the inebriated to litter and urinate on their properties and in the alleyways.

It is against the law to urinate in public and use the environment as a personal trash receptacle, although the two laws are rarely enforced.

Weak bladders, in particular, are an intractable problem in the city, whether it is because of a high incidence of urinary tract infections or the refusal of intolerant homeowners to open their bathrooms to the friendly bums of their neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, after being turned away by intolerant homeowners, most bums have no choice but to irrigate the lawns out of painful frustration. No medical research has been undertaken to explain the high incidence of urinary tract infections in the city. Until the medical community can determine a cause, residents of the city are left to combat the problem on their own, in whatever fashion they can.

Those residents living off the H Street corridor apparently see a link between weak bladders and a 40-ounce can of malt liquor. They smell the outcome and see the evidence of the empty can.

Their frustration is understandable but not entirely fair to those afflicted with urinary tract infections. This is not an issue of race or class. In fact, some of the weakest bladders in the city have been found on the campuses of Catholic and Georgetown, two universities that sometimes have problems with their neighbors because of the malady.

No one is particularly uplifted by the sight of a man watering a flower bed in primitive fashion. Yet this sight is inevitable wherever there is a large concentration of watering holes, whether in Adams Morgan, Georgetown or on H Street.

In some cases, a bladder gone wild pits small-business owners against neighborhood homeowners. Incredibly enough, as these spats play out, all too many homeowners apparently did not learn they lived behind a commercial strip until after they had purchased their homes.

Soon after moving in, they apparently go about becoming familiar with their environment, only to discover in horror they live behind a commercially zoned thoroughfare.

This was the case in the Town Hall-Hall Place misunderstanding last winter, which eventually was resolved after the owners of Town Hall on Wisconsin Avenue agreed to stop holding a Weak Bladder Night, in which patrons with a doctor’s note confirming the condition were granted 50 percent off on all the liquid contents behind the bar.

The inclination to ban is contagious, whether smoking, trans fats or a 40-ounce can of nourishment.

Prince Charles, on a visit to the United Arab Emirates yesterday, suggested there should be a ban on McDonald’s. His is an idea the cutting-edge thinkers of the city are liable to entertain.

If only to be consistent in their thinking after eliminating smoking in bars on Jan. 2, city leaders should contemplate the notion of banning all liquor sales in the city.

Drunks hurt themselves, plus those around them, sometimes fatally so. Of course, all the bars in the city would go belly-up, but there would be a greater good. After all, fellowship is what living in the city is all about.

Several neighborhoods already have banned single-beer sales with the conviction that it would eliminate the practice of sipping from a brown paper bag in parks or on stoops. That is failing to acknowledge the resourcefulness of the brown-paper-bag brigade and forgetting the option of a cheap bottle of wine.

However difficult it may be to find a solution, the beleaguered denizens who live off H Street remain ever hopeful of stemming the undisciplined bladders and waste-treatment issues on their doorsteps.


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