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As noted in the Wake Citizens for Good Government release yesterday, the ‘Drunk Town’ phenomenon is not just a Hall of Fame worthy print ad, it is a “public education campaign.” And a campaign means mutliple media platforms.

Enter the ‘Drunk Town’ radio ads airing on, among other stations, WPTF in Raleigh. [listen to the entire 60 second ad below]

“It’s 2:30 in the morning on Sunday,” the ad starts out over ominous music, with a guy from the voice-over studio who specializes in sounding gruff and criminal, clearly by request.

Already in the ad our scene has shifted 30 minutes after when we last saw our good friend Lamp Post Larry. It continues.

“It’s Drunk Town in downtown Raleigh. Public drunkenness, loud music, petty street crimes….residents in downtown Raleigh deserve better.”

Petty street crimes? Does that include crossing the street not at the sidewalk, because I have seen that increasingly downtown.

“But candidates Mary-Ann Baldwin, Ashton Mae Smith and Matt Tomasulo want to liberalize the city’s liquor laws. With campaign contributions from bar and night club owners Ashton Mae Smith, Matt Tomasulo and Mary-Ann Baldwin want to re-shape downtown Raleigh, making it a haven for late night party-goers, turning downtown into Drunk Town. Tell Mary-Ann Baldwin that a vision for downtown Raleigh should be more than just bars and nightclubs.”

First of all, nice work on getting Tomasulo’s first name right (it was ‘Mike’ in the newspaper ad). ‘Liquor laws’ is a great old-timey sounding term that conjures images of a rural county ABC commission rigging things to make sure they keep the booze, and more importantly the money from it, in the right hands. ‘Liquor laws’ sounds like a phrase that 4 o’clock K&W cafeteria diner Jim Jenkins of the News & Observer might use. It’s quaint, but I’m not sure it quite applies to this election.

Finally, the ad closes out with some sirens and other police sound effects, followed by two officers talking on the radio.

“Raleigh, unit 415, we’re headed to Wake County jail with two drunk subjects.”
“10-4”

Annnnnd scene. I just hope it wasn’t poor Larry getting the lock-up there in the end.

As has been pointed out, the driving force behind the ‘Drunk Town’ campaign is Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling and Workplace Options. As has also been pointed out, Debnam’s political leanings would seemingly align him with most of Mary-Ann Baldwin’s views. So why has the downtown issue become such a big one for him?

Well, probably because he bought the Boylan-Pearce building downtown, hung a big sign on it, intends to live there, hopes to attract a tenant, and believes a rowdy downtown might hurt that endeavor. Which I have no problem with.

But despite the high comedy provided by the ‘Drunk Town’ campaign, I do wish Debnam could make his case for the downtown Raleigh he’d like to see without silly scare tactics like we’ve seen and heard in these campaign ads.

‘Tis the season, I suppose.

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