How to kill downtown

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2004

I would like to offer a simple primer on how to destroy a downtown economy. This primer was inspired by the recent remarkable proposal to remove the downtown bus stop. Here is how to destroy a downtown:

1. Saturate downtown area with outrageously high density of alcohol outlets.

2. Permit alcohol outlets to remain open for unbelievably long periods of time daily.

3. Provide little to no routine enforcement of regulations relating to the sales and consumption of alcohol.

4. Permit alcohol outlets downtown to sell to already intoxicated persons. (Lie, as necessary, and as ruthlessly, as desired, to pretend that such practices do not occur).

5. Remove the police station from downtown.

6. Do precisely zero research, analysis of policy-making, community debate, intelligent discussion, serious study or simple recognition of reality relating to substance abuse issues.

7. Create an economic climate where only tourism-related shops are made welcome.

8. Create, through a shameless toadying to a cruise ship industry whose labor and environmental history is as nauseating as the emissions of its vessels, a daily, essentially unregulated, debilitating flood of tourism vehicles lumbering through the streets of downtown, with ensuing hellish traffic and toxic emissions problems.

9. Blame the hellish traffic problems - caused directly and precisely by tourism vehicles - on the few city buses existing in Juneau.

10. Blame the public inebriation problems resulting from 1-7, above, on a bus stop.

11. Close bus stop.

12. Ensure difficulty and, for some, impossibility of accessible transport for senior citizens, handicapped citizens, families and other community members who rely on central downtown bus stop for transport.

13. Further debilitate downtown economy by removing downtown as a shopping destination for those who ride the bus.

14. Watch, with shock, as removal of bus stop fails to halt traffic or public inebriation problems, and, indeed, increases existing problems, as other "hot spots" of public inebriation downtown, already numerous and damaging, grow dramatically worse.

15. Find another vital community service to target, demonize and destroy using local weapons of mass destruction: ignorance, denial and corruption.

16. Continue as above until downtown economy is so ravaged that the capital city of Juneau mourns the death of its downtown.

Morissa Lou Williams

Juneau



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