‘Drunk Town’ campaign latest instance of central planning confusion

If you live near the Triangle and watch commercial television (or subscribe to the News & Observer), you’ve probably noticed the rather comical “drunk town” commercials and print ads orchestrated by Democratic political pollster Dean Debnam (co-founder of Public Policy Polling) attacking candidates for City Council who want downtown Raleigh to be a vibrant, energetic, entrepreneurial kind of place.

The latest development: Debnam’s planning cohort is trying to silence supporters of downtown vibrancy by complaining to the State Board of Elections about the tactics of the political backers of pro-growth candidates. In other words, one group of politically savvy campaign operatives is trying to use the force of law to shut up their political opponents.

Here’s one of the ads that incenses Debnam’s crew.

The Fun Stoppers (including big-time Democratic lawyer Michael Wiesel), were turning cartwheels when Raleigh officials were cutting deals with developers to land corporate presences like Citrix and Red Hat, and approve lots of hip, modern housing for the young tech workers who would be employed by those growing firms.

But these companies are here, and the youthful workers live downtown, and they act like, well, young adults. They like to dine and party and drink and behave like 20-somethings, and WE CAN’T HAVE THAT (see: curfews on outdoor dining, reported by CJ’s Kari Travis).

Hence, the rather sophomoric, heavy-handed campaign to elect city council members who will shut down the sort of environment the central planners were encouraging a few years ago.

So here’s what Debnam, et al., apparently want: A dynamic, bustling, commercially successful city that rolls up the sidewalks at 9 p.m. Good luck with that.

Rick Henderson / Editor-in-chief, Carolina Journal

Rick Henderson became editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal in August 2016 after being managing editor of Carolina Journal since April 2009. Before that, he had worked more than...

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