Rhode Island’s Adolescent Society
Just so’s we’ve all got the same impression of the culture of our state, let’s review:
In Rhode Island, nobody is willing to close a loophole in the law that makes prostitution legal.
In Rhode Island, the judiciary just ruled that legislators who take bribes for votes are immune to prosecution on ethical grounds.
And now, in Rhode Island, it is age discrimination for a bar owner to prevent patrons under the legal drinking age from entering his or her establishment:
Puerini just thought he was being socially responsible — preventing those under 21 from sneaking drinks in his bar when drunken driving and underage drinking were growing issues in Rhode Island.
But the state’s Commission for Human Rights determined last month that Puerini broke the law in 2005 when an employee at POP, his bar, asked a 19-year-old, who had satdown to order dinner with his parents and some family friends, to leave the premises.
While Puerini faces no fines, the commission is requiring him to run a “prominent” notice in area newspapers stating that he and the business he has since sold violated the state’s age-discrimination laws.
“The dangerous thing is it’s now public that it’s illegal to keep 18-year-olds out of a bar,” Puerini says. “It’s opened up a can of worms for many bar owners. Anybody with a bar does it. You’re not going to get in if you don’t have an ID.
Mind you that I believe the legal drinking age ought to be 18, but the idea that bars, far from being encouraged to block underage kids at the door, are legally prevented from doing so is contrary to common sense and to the assumption of liberty on which our nation was founded. The aggressive mother whose self-importance drove her to make her son into an underage martyr is deserving of opprobrium:
Robynne Alber, familiar with liquor licenses from her days working in the City Clerk’s office, disagreed and called the police to confirm the license had no such requirement. Some tense discussions took place between her and the bartender and then on the phone between Alber and Puerini. Puerini then directed the bartender to ask the entire party to leave because, according to his testimony, “she was being loud and making people uncomfortable.”
The Albers left. But they did not give up. They later filed two complaints, one accusing POP of age discrimination and another alleging that POP kicked out Robynne Alber for defending her son’s rights.
It is entirely unsurprising that Mrs. Alber has experience as a city hall employee. I suppose we should be grateful that she isn’t a state legislator.