Over the past few weeks, small shop owners on Hawthorne have been up in arms about a McDonald's moving into their cozy business district. Worried that the hamburger franchise would disrupt the area's aura of peace, love, and originality, many of the merchants and residents have petitioned City Hall for help derailing the zoning and permitting process for the food giant. The troubling thing? Their efforts have been partially successful.
Last week Mayor Katz and three city councilmen (all but Dan Salzman) wrote saber-rattling letters to the corporate hamburger shack telling them to stay away. "Perhaps there is a better place for your restaurant," wrote Erik Sten. Like town folks grabbing torches to chase out Frankenstein, City Hall seemed to be swayed more by mob mentality than by tolerance and judicial fairness.
A closer look shows the letters from City Hall are more spin than substance; they have no bearing on the zoning process. McDonald's is not breaking any zoning codes--there was previously an Arby's operating at the same location.
Interestingly, only six months ago when film crews for The Hunted put a chokehold on traffic into the Hawthorne commercial zone, City Hall snubbed business merchants' pleas for help. This current letter-writing campaign says a lot about City Hall's mindset, and their ability to suckup after the fact: They are well aware their letters to McDonald's will fall on deaf ears, and are happy to side with the merchants as long as nothing is at stake.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not a fan of McDonald's. I don't like Pottery Barn either, or, for that matter, the yuppie bar that just moved into my neighborhood--but it's not the business of our government to run them out. Let the free market sort out the riff from the raff, not City Hall. PHIL BUSSE
BY ANY OTHER NAME
What's in a name? For the Freedom Socialist Party, everything. Since they were denied a place on last November's ballot because their name is too easily confused with the Socialist Party, the FSP has been agitating for their rightful place in Oregon politics. Focused on women's rights and issues, the FSP won a court case in January that validated their political party--but the state has appealed the ruling. A fundraiser for legal fees is being held on Saturday August 25 at Bread and Roses Center, 819 N Killingsworth, 7:30 pm. IAN THOMAS