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 an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.