The Stately Manor is open to customers only
A few years back, drunken bums set up housekeeping at a Brittingham Park shelter. Comfy on sofas discarded on curbside, they blasted tunes on boom boxes as they got their jones on by mid-day. Homeless advocates celebrated the squalid squatters as if they were integrating the neighborhood. Of course, said advocates did not live in the neighborhood. Unenlightened souls who disagreed were castigated for their intolerance and lack of social consciousness.
Finally, the city parks director made a cogent observation. There was something wrong when mothers no longer pushed baby strollers through the park. Brittingham Park got cleaned up.
Later, the same miserables camped out at the entrance to the City-County Building, pooped in the hallways, and fought for primacy on the generous benches inside. Took local government forever to clear them out. If memory serves, the benches were removed before the homeless and their piles of junk.
Try to rest your weary dogs at the CCB today. That public space has been permanently degraded. Not a bench in sight.
This recent history came to mind after a fight between two boys broke out Tuesday 05-22-18 at the Meadowood Public Library in Ald. Matt Phair’s district. Fighting in a library? Got to admit, that’s a new one. (No fighting in the war room.) Police responded after the fisticuffs moved to the strip mall parking lot outside. Perhaps the library was not posted against fighting.
I prefer to think these young ruffians, ages 12 and 13, were debating Nietzsche’s view that the death of God caused the absurdity of life versus Kierkegaard’s opinion that one must make a leap of faith in God to find meaning and properly balance us as human beings and things just got out of hand. In any event, the combatants were taken to juvie. No doubt some stern restorative justice awaits!
No shirt, no shoes … no offense! Just kidding!
We should, one supposes, be grateful that the lads were in the library at all and not at some drug house. But Tuesday’s disruption was not all that isolated nor, does it appear to this observer, that “library voices” and behavior are enforced.
How many fewer mothers with strollers will curl up with a book at this library in future? Tuesday’s small degradation of that public space expressed itself on the national level at that Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia last month when two black men — not exactly customers — were forcibly removed after refusing to leave. They said they were waiting for Godot.
Starbucks shut down the entire chain for re-education camp even though its barristas do not strike one as Bubba and Billy Ray. New policy: bathrooms are open for all!
Then the customers rebelled. The hipsters who congregate at coffee shops were not keen on sharing with their laptops and latte with the street people and drug users.
Earlier this week, Starbucks revised its Open for All policy. Talking too loudly, playing loud music, watching porn on the mobile device, using and selling drugs. In other words, no disruptive behavior. Seems reasonable — until the next social justice warrior pulls out his/her smartphone camera.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: For some time now, Downtown Madison establishments have been finding junkies passed out in the bathrooms. Some of those places even have signs advising “Restrooms For Customers Only.” Who knew they were practicing Jim Crow?
• Daniel Henninger in the Wall St. Journal on Starbucks’ Homeless problem.
• Mixed reactions to Starbucks policy in Los Angeles.
Platinum subscriber bonus effluvium: Re: the NFL kneeling ban; these guys are on the job at the workplace. Insulting their customers is not good business.
Congratulations to Mark Hanson who retires June 15 as Madison city assessor. A good guy and a great leader.