One thing I like about hosting this blog on Blogger is that I don't have to upgrade, and I get new features all the time.
Of course, the bad thing is that I am at the mercy of Blogger, who has decided to shrink the space for my banner image at the top of the page.
Damn you Blogger!
So the chief of police, Thomas Streicher Jr., has come under fire for not spending around $2 million or so of money city council gave him for the explicit purpose of providing high-visibility walking patrols to high-crime neighborhoods in the city. There are two issues here that interest me.
One, the conservative in me has always had a real problem with budget-based organizations, such as government and most non-profits. The primary motivation for businesses, make money or close, is not there. Operating income for non-profits will always be there, every year, mostly regardless of performance, as long as flaws are not egregious, and/or they stay on top of their grant-writing. It's just different. And just like in the movie Falling Down, I believe that there are cases where departments find ways to spend their budgets just so that their budgets are not reduced the following time around.
So when the chief of police saves $2 million dollars and offers to return it, something has gone haywire. Is this incredibly awesome, showing that budget-based groups can save money? Or is this wrong, showing that the public has not received services it has paid for? In this case, when the money was specifically allocated for walking patrols, and there was none (which is different from having walking patrols, but they were cheaper than first thought), I lean towards the latter.
Two, the chief of police has come under fire in the media time and time again. While the media is not gospel, something is fishy. He has browbeat federal monitors, resisted federal rulings, and yelled and thrown tirades at civilians in an office setting. That's just the off the top of my head. These do no good for the image of our city's safety and community relations, which is what I'm most concerned with. Then I read the CityBeat article which quoted from the expert study:
"Among its findings, the study stated the police department is “overwhelmed and defensive,” while its operating culture was described as a “systematically defensive posture hamstringing operations and affecting all basic systems.”
Perhaps more important, it stated that rank-and-file officers felt ignored and treated unfairly by department leadership. It found that there was major mistrust of supervisors by officers, with only 28.1 percent believing that discipline within the department was fair and uniform and that most police officers — 64 percent — said their supervisors are more concerned with being obeyed than understood."
I've been in that environment before, and such an environment is poison. When leadership is neither respected nor trusted, a group will waste money, time, and health and not quickly achieve any purpose which provides reason for that group to exist.
Reports are in that Vinyl (formerly The Diner, formerly The Diner, formerly something else) has closed indefinitely. And that the opening by the same owners of Vinyl of Jardin Wine & Tapas Bar in the former Neon's spot does not look promising.
The opening of a sushi bar/restaurant/lounge/thingy in the former Jump space still looks to be on track. That with the openings of Cue and Speakeasy in the former RBC and Japp's spaces make this turn out to be... a wash?
And, hey, there's always The Exchange, which now looks like the Main St. veteran (not counting Kaldi's which will probably be there until armageddon).
Bars opening, closing, re-opening. They've been trying to re-create the Main St. Entertainment heyday of the late 1990's for 8 years now. But I believe that it's fruitless. Neighborhoods evolve, especially the ones in OTR. Main St. had its day as an entertainment stop, now why not let it have a chance at being a real neighborhood? Or an arts district? The entertainment is moving downtown to the CBD where frankly I believe it belongs. Let OTR be a residential area, and let the Central Business Disctrict have the businesses.
One block over on Vine in The "Q" (worst name for a "district"), space is being flooded with retail and residential (with significant corporate backing of course). This is Main Street's chance to open a video store, a real grocery store, more neighborhood restaurants like Courtyard Cafe to go along with the theaters.
Again, I have no problem with a bar district in OTR. I just think the time is right for something else.
Allow me to chime in on the recent "scandal" involving the Lakota East high school performance of "And Then There Were None" a.k.a. "Ten Little Indians" a.k.a. "Ten Little N------" (I do believe some words shouldn't be used).
If any of you have been involved with high school theater at all, you know that these kids have put in months of work into this show. That is I believe the single most important factor in all of this. And to have all that work nearly thrown away?
And for what? To please one man who apparently likes to hear himself talk. Shame on Mr. Hines for even bringing this up. Though he may have a legitimate issue, this is hardly the arena for raising it.
Shame on the school administration. This makes them look like they are afraid of their own shadow. This should be a total non-issue. If they want to offend someone, there are more interesting ways to do it.
I can empathize with Mr. Hines, since I don't know anything about his background or experiences. Some people say that there are no black people or white people or yellow people - there are only people. I believe that those people are mistaken. Race should not be ignored, because it is an integral part of who we are. It affects our culture, our behavior, our speech, our very looks. Why ignore it?
By the same token, we cannot underestimate what it is like to live in a minority culture in this country, or any country. Majority/minority issues disrupt the playing field. One type of outcome for the majority and minority person might appear identical, but rest assured it was far more difficult for the minority to accomplish. Outcomes of another type may be easier for minorities to accomplish.
I didn't mean for this to turn out to be a race manifesto. To Mr. Hines, awareness is necessary, but not at the expense of a high school play.