City Council Under the Spell of Pinball Wizards
Nov 11, 2008 | 28738 views | 0 0 comments | 2569 2569 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We know that you have been losing sleep at night over this whole term limits thing. You toss and turn, muttering the words “third term, third term,” and then wake up in a cold sweat, the only sound the whirring of the overhead ceiling fan, trying to convince yourself that it was all just a bad dream, only to realize that yes, indeed, the City Council did vote to give themselves and the mayor - and whoever else wants it – four more years in their cushy government jobs.

You’re probably thinking that things couldn’t get much worse, but you’d be wrong. While the whole city has been fretting over those self-mandated job extensions, a much more insidious bill has been making its way through the legislative process. That’s right, the City Council is considering overturning the strict regulations on pinball machines. You heard us right, pinball machines!

In what can only be considered a forward-thinking and morally upright piece of governing, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (who also, by the way, invented the flight delay) banned pinball machines in 1942, branding their operators as “slimy crews of tinhorns.”

(The feisty former mayor is also rumored to have referred to milkmen as “rotten scalawags,” chimney sweeps as “foul-mouthed ne’er-do-wells,” newsboys as “snot-nosed scamps,” and soda jerks as simply “jerks.” Curiously, LaGuardia apparently had a soft spot in his heart for opium den operators and smut purveyors…he was a man of strange convictions.)

Well ever since those “slimy tinhorns” felt the wrath of LaGuardia, city law to this day strictly regulates where and how many pinball machines can be located in one establishment. (That’s thanks to Mayor Abe Beame, who with a quick bang back legalized pinball machines once again, earning him the nickname Abe “Ball Saver” Beame.) But given the machines unsavory past, places such as bars and bowling alleys are still only allowed four of the sin-producing and rock anthem-inspiring machines before they have to apply for a special license.

Now, in a morally reprehensible move, the City Council is considering changing the law, effectively granting your local VFW the opportunity to install as many pinball machines as they darn well please, with little regard for the well-being and safety of our kids.

Let’s face the facts: it’s a slippery slope from an impressionable youth’s first “tilted” machine to armed robbery and grand larceny. How soon before our neighborhoods are overrun by no-goodniks in leather jackets with cigarettes rolled up in their shirt sleeves, whistling at our young daughters and listening to rock and/or roll?

But it appears that the powerful pinball lobby (yes, there is a pinball lobby) will once again get its way, as the full Council is expected to vote on the bill this December, then you can just sit back and watch the lawsuits roll in.
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