It's this excessive drunkenness, in Federal Hill and other neighborhoods, which City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young hopes to curb by increasing fines for spitting, urinating, public drinking and other "quality of life" offenses.
"We want them to come and have a good time, but we want them to leave the community the same way they found it," Young said. "We want them to be responsible."
Young will introduce a bill at tonight's council meeting that would increase fines for a variety of misdemeanors including scalping tickets and selling loose cigarettes.
People drinking or holding open containers of alcohol in public could be fined as much as $500, 10 times as much as the current penalty. Those found guilty of "disorderly drinking" could be forced to pay as much as $1,000 under the proposal.
Lighting up indoors, which was outlawed in 2008, could cost the smoker as much as $500 and the bar owner as much as $750.
Adults found urinating or defecating in public places could be fined as much as $1,000 — twice as much as the current fine.
The goal, says Young, is to discourage unhealthy and disrespectful behavior while raising revenue for the cash-strapped city.
The bill would provide judges with the discretion to impose the higher fee but not require them to do so, said Michelle Wirzberger, Young's director of legislative affairs. In a former job with the nonprofit Community Law Center, Wirzberger represented neighborhood groups in disputes with bars and nightclubs.