Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grab Bag

Today's entry is a grab bag of things that have transpired in the past couple of weeks. We're covering the Mayfair incident, the tragic shooting in Arizona, and the GOP forgetting what November's election was about.


The events which took place at Mayfair Mall on January 2nd leave a lot of us in the community bewildered but not totally surprised. A lot of blame can be passed around for the conditions which created the potential for a large group of individuals to choose the lack of proper comportment when in public, but in the end it is those individuals who must accept final responsibility. The lack of "congregational space" within the city limits, combined with the lack of premier shopping options, in a way force people to head into the suburbs. Add onto that the ease of door-to-door service to Mayfair via the #21 and #60 bus routes (which is NOT the case for Southridge, Brookfield Square, or Bayshore more or less) and it is easy to see that, should one WANT to create trouble in the public square, the Wauwatosa mall provides a fertile ground for it.

I am more interested in finding solutions that deal with the mischief and will not go into whether society as a whole needs to bear some of the burden (lack of jobs in the central city, lack of venues to congregate, hypersegregation being some "arguments" for why people boil over and have to act out), so here are a few things that can be done by Mayfair.

* Implementing their Parental Guidance Required (PGR) policy 24/7 rather than just on the weekends.
* Place limits on the number of unsupervised youth that can be together (not sure how one would define together, but other malls have such a policy as well as storefront businesses regarding numbers).
* Pare back Milwaukee County Transit System access to Mayfair.

The first two are pretty self-explanatory, so I will delve into the final solution. Currently, four MCTS bus lines serve Mayfair (the aforementioned #21 and #60, along with the #28 and #31). Being that both the 21 and 31 overlap one another at 87th and North, there is really no need for BOTH buses to provide access to Mayfair. Hence, much as is done with the #22 stopping service on 60th and Center and the #57 providing service from 60th to 92nd Street on Center, the 21 can stop service at 92nd and North with the 31 providing continuing service onto Mayfair. The westbound route of the #60 runs along Burleigh out to 124th, but dives off on 108th to Mayfair, which I feel is unnecessary being that the #28 runs on 108th Street. A person who wants to get to Mayfair from 108th and Burleigh can either walk the 4-5 blocks or transfer to the 28. Perhaps there will be some unintended consequences of this solution (disturbances in the areas where passengers would be transferring comes to mind as the most obvious), and though this solution does not in any meaningful way restrict access to Mayfair, it does make it a little bit more difficult and time-consuming.

Arizona shooting

There is really nothing good to say about this. 6 people killed (including the Chief US District Court Judge in Tucson) and 12 people injured (one of which being Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) at a "Meet Your Representative" event outside a grocery store puts a exclamation point on the ever-escalating vitriol in the public square brought on by the ability to shield one's self from hearing opinions with which you may not agree through the Internet and partisan media. I am not in ANY WAY absolving the shooter from FULL responsibility for this vicious act, but I am also not going to give a free pass to those who might have stoked his hatred or delusional thinking. In the battle for our country's soul, the two major political parties (and their commensurate ideologies) continually add fuel to the fire by characterizing their opposition as anything from ignorant, unrefined, clueless pablum eaters who accept the spoon-fed rhetoric of a movement that is defined by "God, Guns, and Gays" to elitist, unamerican, One World Government heathens who would let people outside our border tell us how to live. Whereas the left tends to attack the ideas/policies of the right, the right chooses to attack the character and even humanity of those on the left. I think the analogy of right-wing media's call to arms being similar to "yelling fire in a crowded theater" goes a bit too far, but the tactic of equating political disagreement with treason only ups the ante on what is an "acceptable" means of addressing these disagreements. That, combined with the populace upon whom this rhetoric is dispensed, makes for a volatile mixture that CAN lead to more incidents such as the one in Tucson this past Saturday. Everyone, tone it down a bit and try to win your points and positions through debate, not violence.

Bucky's Turned Red

November 2nd brought a new political landscape to Wisconsin, with Republicans seizing the governorship as well as majorities in both houses of the Legislature. The cause of this shift was the poor leadership of the previous administration as well as the state of the state and federal economy. It was about jobs and nothing else. The GOP seems to have forgotten that already, as they believe they have a mandate to enforce social as well as economic change on this great state. Legislation to restrict voting access, to make civil liability harder to prove and less putative on wrongdoers, and to overturn laws passed by previous legislatures are off the mark when the pressing need is creating jobs and bringing economic vitality back to Wisconsin. Add to this a blatant attempt to re-district the state for purely political gain and we see how the new majority in our state has lost the plot. Stick the economy and maybe you'll be able to keep your majority in 2012. Get off track and your beloved leader in the mansion might be removed before his four years are up.

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