You might wonder why I devoted my entire Council Notes column to the general ordinance which, if passed November 24, will close the center area of Park Central Square at 11:00 p.m. as opposed to the current closing time of 1:30 a.m. Well, it's because I see it as a class warfare sort of issue, and, really, I'm not the only one who views it that way. I mean, what is the whole square renovation supposed to accomplish? I thought the point was to draw more people to the square, not send them home earlier.
That's where the class issue arises.
Generally, many of the patrons of the center of the park who stay after 11:00 p.m. may not be able to afford a cover charge at one of the local establishments on Park Central so, it seems to me the Urban District Alliance, with the City Council as its tool, wants to pick and choose who should enjoy the area and who should not. If you happen to be one of those who is hanging out in the center of the square, spending little money, well, move along 2.5 hours earlier than the money-spending-people, would ya? "Whaddaya think this is??? A public square???"
I could go on about it when what I really want to do is direct you to the new issue of CFP, which is online tonight and in some stands already but will fill the rest tomorrow. What I tried to draw out was the real reason* there was a request to close the square at 11 p.m. It isn't so much that there are real, tangible problems there, no, it is that some of the preferred clientele being drawn there might get the wrong IMPRESSION, that they might FEEL intimidated by the patrons in the park. You see, those patrons in the park have no control over anyone's feelings, only those harboring the feelings do. Do we, or the City Council, want to hold those people who are hanging out in the center of the square responsible for other people's impressions, for other people's feeeeeeelings? Consider, the worst thing the business owner who spoke last Monday night could come up with when Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky asked him for a description of "riff raff:" People who yell at passing cars, "What are you looking at!?" Give me a break.
Bob Mace also weighed in on the issue on page 7 with a very good point: "New York’s Central Park is a 24/7 operation with woods, lakes, and structures everywhere. The thought that the city of Springfield would proclaim itself unable to protect and defend one block, populated by a couple of benches, in the very heart of the city is preposterous." Go Bob!
Some guy named Chris Wilson apparently b-u-m-p-e-d MY pension article off the front page to page 2. Seems the guy is a teacher who is running a "Graphic Classroom," meaning, he encourages his class to read by the use of some carefully selected comic books and graphic novels. He rates them for educational quality at a Web site, which is appropriately named: The Graphic Classroom, go figger. But, seriously, thanks, Mert, for a great article about some real creativity at play in the classroom. ;)
Brian Brown explored the Commercial Street Community Improvement District's possibilities, namely, the self-imposed on you (the consumer) tax they can decide to levy if they meet certain conditions. The article is very informative and tells you how many CIDs Springfield hosts and where. I had wondered about that.
City Council Candidate in waiting (a little birdie (psst...I said birdie, not query) told me this candidate turned in his petitions to the City Clerk's office today) Fred B. Ellison, wrote a guest column calling for the City to show a bit more "skin," when it comes to funding the pension plan for the police and firefighters.
On page 13, Kara Hartfield tells you where you can go to create your own Christmas ornaments; host a party to do so or; attend a holiday free art day with hands on activities and story telling.
Kara will also tell you about College Night on C-Street, BUT, you have to read the whole paper before you will be able to find it because I'm not telling.
That's it. That's what I'm spotlighting this time. There's a whole lot more to read in the issue, you'll have to find out for yourself.
Check out the advertisers too and pay them a call. It'll help ensure your locally owned free community paper will continue to be available. It's free because of them. Remember them this holiday season!
*In my opinion