Out of Control Policy Blog

Now theyíve gone too far!

So what if some of us enjoy having some drinks, getting together with other consenting adults and belting out a little Neil Diamond.

Glad I don't live in San Mateo:

If you love karaoke but hate the way you sound, steer clear of San Mateo, where the City Council on Tuesday night banned karaoke performances in private rooms.

Private karaoke rooms -- soundproofed booths where late-night crooners can butcher Frank Sinatra in relative privacy -- apparently have a reputation of being used for other undesirable acts.

Worried about possible criminal activity that these private booths might bring to San Mateo, the council unanimously passed a 45-day emergency ban. The ban comes as Steven Lin, a restaurant owner, waited to get permits to operate four private karaoke rooms at his Fusia Lounge in the city.

"I just want to run my business,'' Lin said. "Give me a chance.''

That's right, give him a chance!

I'm going to devote my next performance of Diamond's "America" to Steven Lin and all the other karaoke club owners persecuted by meddling governments. I encourage you all to do the same.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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