Slightly late to the party on this one, but here we go.
Now that it's been revealed that worrying about terrorists targeting gumballs is fucking lunacy (because really, when all of our public transportation, ports, borders, and everything else is pretty much an open target, gumball protection being a priority is the height of madness), the aldermen reveal their "real" idea: licensing gumball machines.
That's right: of all the other problems facing the town like "overcrowded housing, taxi ordinances and redevelopment projects" says the Daily Record (cached version here), not to mention others we can probably think of because they're problems everywhere (education, perhaps?), we want to license gumball machines.
[Alderman Frank] Poolas said he is convinced that the town needs to license gumball machines and other currently-exempt devices to better protect children against food-borne illnesses and defective toys. He also said such a licensing scheme could make it easier to track down someone who might use gumball machines in an unlikely, if not impossible, attempt to poison kids. Source.
Question: when was the last time you heard about a kid getting sick from something they ate out of a gumball machine? Has there been an E. coli outbreak from gumballs that I haven't heard of? I'm being serious when I ask that…is this really some sort of safety issue I've just missed? And the defective toys business…what does that mean? If the spider ring breaks within 30 days of purchase? (And yes, I know some toys shouldn't be given to kids to screw around with, but if the parent won't check the toys to ensure they're not going to kill their kid, they probably expect Alderman Poolas to come and ensure that the doors to where they keep the drain cleaners are secured as well. Should we license parents?)
And let's go ahead and think like a loony alderman for about five seconds. Let's assume that all gumball machines are licensed, and the government is wasting lots of money and time making sure they know what goes in the gumball machines and where it's come from. Then let's assume, because we're in Loony Alderland, that a terrorist decided that poisoning gumballs was a good idea. Are they going to log this on a schedule somewhere? No, they're going to do Bad Things to the gumballs without said Bad Things showing up anywhere. So all your vaunted licensing won't help you.
No, you're trying to build a bridge not just where there's no water, but in the middle of the Gobi desert. Why not just be up front about it and say you want to eek some more money in a scheme that adds absolutely no value to the experience of getting a gumball out of a machine? At least then I could have some respect for you idiots.
You must be proud, Dover. You must be so proud.