Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Can-Only-Lose Game

If you head southwest out of Stuttgart....about an hour's drive.....right at the edge of the Black the city of Freiburg.  It's a university town of 230,000 residents, and has a fairly rich history.  It also has a number of pubs, nightclubs, and discos (I know it's shocking to Americans that discos still exist but yes, they never went out of style in Germany).

This past week, the newspaper from the region stumbled across a recent new policy that several of the nightclubs and discos have implemented....either restricting or liming access into the clubs.  There's been talk of incidents where non-Germans showed up....harassed women, at least one attempted rape, some violence against the bouncers, and increased pickpocketing.

It's not a policy of all clubs or discos in the area....just a half-dozen.  Cops have come to view the decision made but haven't said much.

For me, it's a private enterprise and there are various rules which have been in effect for can't enter because of your age and alcohol served, ladies night where only ladies can enter, or stopping people from entering because of bad behavior.

I would imagine if you show up at the door and look non-German....they will ask for a passport.  Since German law requires you to carry a passport would produce it or skip the bar.

I'm guessing that some 'gut-Germans' from the local area will bring this up in a city council meeting and intimidate the members.  I looked at the make-up of the city council.....forty-eight members.  It's a heck of a lot.  But here's the odd factor.....thirteen political parties make up the city council.

From the left side....the Greens and the SPD have 19 votes.  The CDU barely 9 votes.  The Independent Women Party, the Christian Party, and "The Party" vote each.  Then some oddball parties (the Culture List, Livable Freiburg, etc).

It's a college town, so there's a tendency to have a lot of left-leaning votes.  My guess is that they will be forced to discuss the actions of the pubs and bars....offering some kind of law that would eliminate discrimination.   The bars would likely challenge this in some local court, and the judges might look at the Basic Law (the Constitution) to find what power a nation, state or city can use to force a disco to accept customers.  As silly as it will be viewed by the public as serious business.

It's a can't-win situation.  If you allow a trend to continue where women customers are harassed and pickpocketing escalates.....then people won't come.  If you use the ID at the door to limit customers, you will be screwed over by politicians looking for an angle and probably face a fine.  Less business?  That means less tax revenue for the state.  Less public interest in your local pub or disco scene?  That means people head out of town to other operations.  Everyone loses in the end.

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