The Athletic Department needs to put at least a half-dozen porta-potties along Melrose Court, from its intersection with Melrose Avenue to the barricade at the intersections of Melrose Court, Myrtle Avenue and Greenwood Drive.
For some football fans Iowa City is home. For others a second home. For still others it's just the home of Kinnick Stadium.
It's nice that the Athletic Department can drop 70,000 folks into a tiny residential neighborhood designed for about 200, and that the crowd can feel at home. Sharing the football Saturday with friends. Tailgating. Throwing a football around. Playing the beanbag game. The colorful clothes, the music, the chatter.
What's to complain about that?
I am a resident of that neighborhood (in the house I lived in from 1941 to 1952, and returned to in 1989). So far as most of the fans are concerned, there's little, if anything, about which I complain. They are friendly, fun-loving, and respectful.
Unfortunately, that can't be said of all.
In fairness, early Sunday mornings these days there seems to be less trash throughout the neighborhood than there used to be. There's an organized trash collection and removal effort. This is in addition to the valuable service provided by those who have always gathered the visible cans and bottles and carried them off on their backs, in large 300-container bags, in exchange for the redemption money welcomed by those down on their luck.
I've never called the police to report it. It would never have occurred to me to do so. But two weeks ago, during the Western Michigan game, I noticed an Iowa City Police car parked in front of the house and went out to see what was going on. The friendly officer asked if I lived here. I said I did. He asked if I had given students permission to urinate in my yard. I acknowledged that I had not. "Just wanted to make sure," he responded, "because I just gave a guy a ticket for public urination." What a unique experience it was for me; the first time since 1941 that anyone had ever been ticketed for peeing in our yard (so far as I'm aware).
As we continued to talk, I noted that a little earlier I had asked three or four guys who were urinating on my front lawn to please go down the street to the Myrtle Street Parking Lot, where there are usually a dozen or more porta-potties, and how they'd argued with me. Their analytical position seemed to derive from their possession of an entitlement to pee wherever they wished. The officer explained that I should not expect to have reasoned discourse with a drunk.
OK, he's right. But I do expect reasoned discourse with the Athletic Department. The football program pulls in (and spends) tens of millions of dollars each year from television revenues, ticket sales, and gifts. This morning's paper explains that it spends over $200,000 on paying the dozens of regional law enforcement officers needed for security. Tara Bannow, "About a Dozen Agencies Protect Gamedays; UI Spent About $210K on Security Last Season," Iowa City Press-Citizen, October 5, 2013, p. A1. It can put up porta-potties by the dozen when and where it wishes. Why can't it put up a half-dozen where its paying customers, and neighborhood residents, have to put up with the externalities created by 70,000 Hawkeye fans -- including their public urination?
Oh, and sorry about the 26-14 outcome today.