Families have been feeling increasingly alienated on the picturesque waterways around New Braunfels, local leaders say, prompting them to crack down on rude behavior.
“In the past we have loved the sinners’ money more than we hate the sinners’ behavior,” said City Councilman Ken Valentine, who lives along the river and has led the campaign to keep what he considers riffraff out of the water. “The message is: We invite you to our party, but we make the rules. Here are our rules and if you don’t like them, don’t come.”
Yes, that’s Ken “No Bong” Valentine, continuing his crusade. Say this for the man – he sticks to his principles.
The City Council is considering a noise ban on the water from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and later this month will consider a way to prohibit Jell-O shots, a concoction of gelatin and alcohol.
You knew that if beer bongs were targeted, Jell-O shots would be next, right?
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce President Michael Meek said he supports the city’s goal, not its timing.
Meek said all the attention being paid to the bad behavior and new rules at the height of the summer season is turning people away. Anecdotal evidence shows sales are down at restaurants and other businesses that get a lot of business from out-of-town tubers, he said.
“It’s detrimental in-season,” Meek said. “We would prefer that we have a comprehensive plan put together in the offseason and then go forward and communicate it properly. … It’s almost self-inflicted wounds.”
That’s probably true. It would certainly seem less silly if they did it this way.
I make fun here, but I’ve got some family in New Braunfels, and I know from speaking to them that there really are problems with obnoxious tubers. It’s certainly not ridiculous to want to exert some control over the worst offenses. New Braunfels is a booming little town, and it’s in a great location – close to San Antonio and Austin, and surrounded by natural beauty. If I thought I needed to raise my kids in a small town, it’s the kind of place I’d want to live. I daresay that’s a common sentiment, and as such that’s a big driver of its growth. It’s likely at a point where the tension between its traditional economy and its newcomers who aren’t used to putting up with that kind of stuff is coming to a head and needs to be dealt with. I’m not sure that this is the best approach – I tend to agree with those who say that stricter enforcement of existing laws would suffice and that new laws targeting narrow, specific behaviors are not needed – but I wish them well in finding it, whatever it is.